Rose Garden Virtual Tour (2014)

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We appreciate Ken Gourley for his work in the Fern Lodge rose garden.  What follows is his thoughts and pictures of the rose garden.


Climbing Tea rose, “Sombreuil”

It’s rare to see many roses in bloom as early as Easter weekend, even at Fern Lodge;  but this year was a delightful exception!   Here is a pic of the heirloom climbing Tea rose, “Sombreuil” (Robert, Angers, France, 1850) currently gracing the top of the deer fence…   And the next time you visit the back garden, check it out, and take a whiff — it smells just like green apples!


The “Abraham Darby” rose

Growing near this old stump (used as a step) is this coppery-pink fragrant beauty.   Lots of Rosemary, bearded iris, and the Golden oregano ground cover make happy (and helpful!) companion plants.


Hybrid tea rose, “Climbing Royal Sunset”

An American-bred rose from the 1960s, besides having a wonderful color, it also has a strong fruity fragrance…   Ahhhh, if only I could e-mail its perfume!


English rose, “Scepter’d Isle

If you enjoy the fragrance of myrrh, smelling this rose will make you swoon!   Here it is seen growing and mingling with Rosemary…


“Tamora” with “Strawberry Hill”, what a sight (and what fragrance)!

These 2 roses from British hybridizer David Austin look great together — and fortunately, they just so happen to be growing near each other.   Go ahead:  take a sniff from either one, and you’ll find it hard to decide which one smells yummier!

Deer fenced garden, looking NE…

Growing with the roses inside the deer fence are usually a fair number of common Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea).   Besides their tall vertical element adding nice contrast to the round shape of the rose blooms, they also serve a practical purpose:  because they are poisonous to gophers, and the rose roots inter-migle with the Foxglove roots, this is one of the plants that help keep the gophers away – HURRAY for Foxglove!


Old Noisette rose “Crepuscule” (Lyons, France, 1904), with Narcissus ‘Sir Winston Churchill’

Another “double-duty” companion plant is anything in the daffodil family;  so this lovely Narcissus is essentially “standing guard” over the baby Noisette rose (which will eventually become a short climber, making its way up to the top of the arbor, above)…


Anna Lisa’s Arbor (with first Clematis bloom of 2014)!

Thanks again to Anna Lisa for donating this wonderful arbor to the deer fenced entrance gate area, this is the first purple bloom of 2014 to grace it, from the enthusiastic-growing Clematis viticella ‘Polish Spirit’ — and blooming way earlier than last year, too!!

Beneficial insects in the garden…

Lots of various wildlife abound out back — birds, bees, butterflies, and also bugs…  LOTS of bugs!   But fear not:  this little spider is a friend, not foe, as he eats a lot of aphids – YAY!!


Historic heirloom roses at Fern Lodge…

For those of you who might be interested, two years ago, after the deer fenced garden had been expanded (thank you, George!), I planted a few historic antique roses in that new additional space, this old-fashioned Tea rose being a good example of one of our “early-bird” bloomers this year.   This soft pink beauty is “Duchesse de Brabant”, which first became available to the public out of Bordeaux, France, in 1857.   It also is reputed to be President Teddy Roosevelt’s favorite rose, often seen with him wearing it on his lapel.
Although the apricot-colored rose in this front desk arrangement isn’t considered “historical” or “antique” in any way, it is still somewhat famous, in that Sunset magazine used to have an entire row of these roses planted just outside of its Menlo Park headquarters.   It’s called, “Royal Sunset”, and has a wonderfully strong fruity fragrance, as well as incredibly great-looking foliage — and blooms like crazy all summer long!   Long-time SF Chronicle garden column writer and rose book author Rayford Redell claims this rose to be, “The most underestimated climbing rose in America!”

We hope you enjoyed our virtual rose garden tour.  More photos will be on their way.

3 Comments on “Rose Garden Virtual Tour (2014)”

  1. Loved the photos of my favorite flower, the rose. What a treat to read about each one. We have ten rose bushes in our backyard lining our patio and one rose tree in our front yard. What a joy! Because of the weather we were able to pick roses early and put them in the tall vase I use on our kitchen counter. Then to open your email and see all the luscious roses made my day. I mostly chose our roses for color so I’m not as sophisticated as you guys are. But several of my rose bushes look like some of your antique type roses. Names of some of our roses are Rosie O’Donnell, and my favorite dark red Mr. Lincoln roses.
    The rose tree in front has beautiful white roses on it.
    Thanks again for sharing.

    We appreciate all the work Fern Lodge is doing.

    Joanne Bennett

  2. Thanks for your kind comments, Joanne, it’s wonderful to hear from another fellow rose lover! We used to have a red ‘Mr. Lincoln’ rose here at Fern Lodge, too; but unfortunately a gopher ate it last year (I hadn’t sufficiently protected the roots with chicken wire underneath, nor planted enough beneficial companion plants nearby to help deter the gophers). I’m thinking of planting a new ‘Mr. Lincoln’ rose, but will wait until bare-root rose season next winter — as well as plant it in a different location. Mr. Lincoln’s fragrance is so strong and heavenly, and such a fine tribute to one of my favorite American Presidents, it’s hard to imagine that garden being without it.

    Thanks again for your reply!

    – Ken

  3. Looking for the Rose that was on the Roosevelt Carrier (Ted Roosevelt Rose) during comission of the carry

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