A Tale of Two Gardens

A Tale of Two Gardens via Hedgerow Rose 16Recently, the mister and I traveled “back home” to State College to attend our daughter’s High School graduation and while there, I had the opportunity to visit my old garden.

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It literally knocked the wind out of me when we pulled up to the curb and I saw my roses–soooo many roses–all in bloom. I think when you’re in a garden day-to-day, you don’t really see what everyone else sees because you’re so focused on all the details (and weeds!) Having spent some time away was like seeing the garden with new eyes and the roses blew. my. mind.

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It was bittersweet, having the chance to say hello to plants that felt like friends to me, whilst knowing that they were no longer mine to care for and would be a part of someone else’s story soon. We were literally racing the clock, too, to get back on our return flight home, so I didn’t have time to just sit and enjoy them. Maybe that was for the best.

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Getting back on the plane, saying goodbye to our daughter, our hometown and our old garden left me with a heavy heart. I felt like I had lost something very precious.

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However, as I stepped out of the car at our new home in NC, I saw that some flowers had bloomed while we were away: A ‘Georges Vibert’ rooted cutting that I brought with us from the old garden and some 2nd generation violas that I had saved seeds and replanted here. It was a soothing thought to imagine that these plants and seeds that I had saved and replanted/sown were like a bridge linking these two gardens together. I realized that all the rose cuttings that I brought with me were going to be the basis of the new garden and as they are the same genetic material as the originals, it’s like I’m recreating a version of it here.

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It was such a joy to unwrap the cuttings I was able to take from our short visit and ship some out to fellow gardeners all the while imagining them someday flourishing in other parts of the country. Like me, it would seem, my roses are having an adventure!

A Tale of Two Gardens via Hedgerow Rose 24 A Tale of Two Gardens via Hedgerow Rose 14Now, I look out to our garden and see a row of baby roses from Pennsylvania with a backdrop of North Carolina forest and it makes me smile. My mother always says, “nothing is ever lost” and I think in this case, particularly, that holds true.

To see more photos of the roses in bloom in our old garden (most photos were taken with my cell phone, go figure) please visit my Instagram! 🙂

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21 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Gardens

  1. H Laurie,

    The roses are just gorgeous…I looked them up and found that many are once blooming…I have a small urban lot of 7000 sq ft with a small house, garage and driveway. I am hesitant to use valuable space for once bloomers vs repeat bloomers…how did they work for you and did you face similar space limitations and how did you cope with the once bloomers?


    1. Hi Holly, that’s a really good question!
      I was growing so many once-blooming OGR’s in my former garden because I have a bit of a fascination with old roses and their history but also because they tend to be less fussy about growing conditions, get really, really big (which I wanted to help screen some views), and are generally less bothered by disease and pests. Also, since they only bloom once, they put on a fantastic show, in many cases the leaves can barely be seen for all the blooms!
      Ok, so that being said, if you’re lacking in gardening space and want a longer rose season, then I recommend a few options: try using the OGR’s for your vertical space like against the house, up a tree, over an archway, etc. They’ll typically cover ground quickly and will give you that stop-traffic bloom period to make it all worthwhile. Next, grow some rugged “landscape” type roses in the ground among your other shrubs/perennials/annuals. Even though I love old roses, I’m not a rose snob so I think those moderns like the Drift series are great additions since they bloom nonstop and are so rugged. Last, I would add some David Austin roses in large containers so you can give them the extra bit of fuss they need (they’re heavy feeders, especially in containers) but you can arrange them, like a patio seating area, where you can enjoy them at nose and eye level! I hope this helps! 🙂

          1. I love your advice too. I don’t understand snobs when it comes to plants. What a shame to limit oneself.
            I was a bit hesitant to comment on this post because I was a bit heartbroken thinking about how you must have been feeling when you told us you were moving. Seing it all again sounds almost cruel… Then again a family friend just spend 48 hour on the operating table for an organ transplant. It’s important for me to keep things in perspective! I think you are better at it!

            1. Oh gosh I hope your friend is OK!!
              Yes, admittedly I’ve been feeling down–not just about leaving the former home but the amount of work that needs to be done here that we just can’t seem to make any progress on. That’s another story…. But heavens to betsy, getting worked up about stuff like that is so not worth it since there are so many other more important things going on and so, SO much to be grateful for. 🙂

              1. I think you are allowed to feel blue sometimes… I get very frustrated also with the slowness of things. And the new/old beds in my own garden are the victims of my constant indecisions. But today my very hard to please mother in law asked me if I have the most beautiful garden in the neighborhood! (answer is no) It felt pretty good : )

                Our friend is still in ICU, but he woke up. Only time will tell for him

              2. Yes! That must have felt good…and I’ll bet your garden really is the prettiest. 🙂 Sending positive thoughts to your friend. I hope he feels better soon!

  2. Yes, nothing is ever lost – just transformed. And this new garden of yours in just one more step in the many gardens you have had through out the years. Think of all the beauty you have left behind for others! I love seeing the evolution of your gardens, and yes, I still miss seeing each one of them after you leave. However, I trust that the next one will be even more beautiful, but most of all, it will contain you.

  3. Thanks for sharing this – your old garden looks incredible! Plants do become like good friends and it seems like they have their own personalities. My daughter just finished her freshman year at high school, and I’ve already been having that feeling of loss that time goes by way too fast. Looking forward to seeing how your new garden develops! How are your cuttings progressing? I would imagine you had quite a few to tend to after your move. Have a great weekend!

    1. Time goes by WAYYY too fast! Enjoy every moment you have because they grow up so quickly!
      Many of my cuttings didn’t make it… (see most recent post)….but I’m sure there will always be more just around the corner. Hope you’re doing well!

  4. Your mother is so right. Nothing is ever lost. And even if you didn’t have those rose babies, you have the marks your roses and your old garden left on your soul. You would not be the same person you are today without the experience of that garden. It’s very hard starting over, but it’s also wonderful to have a fresh start. This fresh start comes with all the knowledge you have gained over the years.

    1. I love that…the marks they left on my soul. You always have such insightful and encouraging words. Thank you Anne!

  5. I understand how you feel. I moved 8yrs. Ago and left my roses and garden behind. We moved to a colder climate (z4) and I thought I wouldn’t be able to grow many of the roses I left behind because of the cold and deer. I’ve put in a lot of peonies in place of roses and then decided to try a few roses. It was like meeting up with old friends! I have to be creative with the placement my roses but it’s been a joy to experiment with them. The garden you left behind is a gift to the new owners and your new garden will be an incredible journey for you. Enjoy!

    1. You’ve reminded me how I need to add more peonies this fall. They’re so easy to grow! I need easy plants right now. 😉

  6. Valree, you mentioned deer. I know what you are dealing with. I have sat in my garden and cried like a child when I would find all the buds had been eaten, or a plant chewed to the ground. I decided last year that I would not let the deer dictate what I can grow. I do have a lot of peonies and iris, and some other ‘deer resistant’ plants, but my deer will eat anything, and I mean anything. I had used Liquid Fence before with not much luck, but this time, I use it and mean it! I spray diligently every week, and I only find a little deer damage once in a very great while now. A large herd lives on my property. They come and drink at my bird baths, and sniff around the plants, then leave. This is the only product I have tried that works for me, in my area. Roses that had never gotten more than a foot tall are now just exploding with new growth and blooming. The odor dissipates when it dries. It does leave a film on the leaves, but that is a small price to pay.

    1. Great tip, Andrea! Valree, we also used Liquid Fence (the granules) to keep the groundhogs from our garden. It worked for them, but didn’t phase the rabbits at all. Good luck!

    2. Thanks for the info Andrea. I have an 8ft. Fence around my veggie garden and made room for the roses on one end of the area (I can buy veggies at the store 🙂 The deer haven’t even tried to get in. My David Austin roses I have next to the house for winter warmth have a wire fence around them and the deer just prune them in the fall for me. You don’t seem to notice the wire cages so much when the roses fill out in the summer. I’m also very lucky that the deer don’t seem to visit me so much in the spring or summer because they aren’t very “tame”, mainly durning migration and the neighbor has a large alfalfa field that they really enjoy visiting. I thank my neighbor a lot! Valree

  7. Wow it certainly must have been bittersweet being back at the old house. Plus seeing your daughter, my grand-niece, graduate from high school! Time does go so fast. I am grateful that you are able to share your adventures with so many and that your readers also share and offer such loving advice and support to you!
    Moving is hard but can also be a wonderful and expanding experience. I wish you and Jesse the best as you lovingly take on this new home and time in your lives!
    Looking forward to reading all about this great adventure you are on!

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