Harvesting Roses in Miriam Wilkins' Garden



For five years after Miriam Wilkins' passing, we have had the privilege of harvesting roses in what remains of her garden. The property is a wild thing now with no care taken and the few roses that remain are the hardy species types that Miriam loved best in her later years. These pictures were taken last year, once again, on the Friday before the Celebration of Old Roses. You will see that amongst the ruin we still managed to gather spectacular things. This rose is Dorothy Perkins.





First a nod to the species roses Miriam loved. 



This is a hardy European rose- if you think you know the name, let me know.



Year after year, this rose thrills me. It is a monster though, huge, extremely thorny, but with the most compelling and photogenic blooms. I've taken many pictures of it and you will see it in the bouquet below. I've never seen a rose to compare with this one, and who knows, this may be the only one in existence.


To me, a garden of the heart would be a modest affair, whatever the true gardener who loves to work in the soil comes up with, not lavish estates. We are all limited in one way or another. Visitors to gardens must take this into account. That is why I never hesitate to let anyone see our rose collection. There must be something here to teach or please.

~Miriam Wilkins








The harvestees are now ready to wow people at the Celebration.




Celebration of Old Roses 2016

Sunday, May 15, from 11:00 am to 3:3o pm

Click here for more info.




As we were harvesting, I noticed the steps and pots below Dorothy Perkins, and then realized Dorothy had demolished a pergola.


We bought our dream lot in 1944 when Dick returned from the South Pacific. It looked out at the Golden Gate, a mysterious sight when wreathed in fog. Five years later the house was built and we moved in with three children under five years. Soon we had a lawn with play equipment, and a badminton court. I was buying old roses from Roses of Yesterday and Today. They were planted in neat rows with paths between the plots. The lawn and everything went in 1952. Roses grew as roses will. I began to garden on my neighbors back forty. That was soon filled. Five years ago (2002), the two yards were well worth a visit, but it's been downhill every since. I do not encourage visitors but they may come if they care to.

~Miriam  Wilkins


The wonderful thing is that she always welcomed us and in that overgrown state there was wonderment! Miriam's garden has given its all again and again and here it's 2016. I hope to see you at the Celebration–there will be many wonderful roses for sale propagated especially for you!


I've done a number of posts about both Miriam and the Celebration and links to them are provided here.



Spring '16 Just Before the Big Bloom



The garden continues to be in fat bud stage, except for a few Tea roses that are now in full bloom – Monsieur Tillier looked like this yesterday. That's Rouletii overhead. I shot this and all the rest of the images in this post with my iPhone 6s. There is something so appealing about the phone's mobility. This shot would have been hard to come by with my big Canon.



Here's another shot of the darling Monsieur T.



This view is from outside the deer fence. With all that land how could I not continue to plant roses and hope for the best? M. Tillier back there actually is guarded with wire fencing, which handily is not showing in the photo. That's the mighty wanderer James Mason in the foreground.



This is Tea, Gilbert Nabonnand, who is a tallish sprawler in my garden. It's been blooming for a few weeks now and I've made many bouquets. Gilbert is planted outside wire fencing – deer rarely munch it.



And last but not least. I'm very proud of this gorgeous melianthus, not the typical rose garden companion, but so very wild and fun. I cut it to the ground yearly and it comes back full force every time. Happy spring to you all!


Happy Easter! 2016



Nothing like a sea of posies – these are for an Easter brunch party, ready to go out the door.



This was last year, and I was happy I had a few roses, they'd  just began to bloom.



Ready to get busy along with . . .



charmers from the market.



 Ranunculas always seem to be the favorite at market – freesias come in second for me.







For easy transport I put the posy pots in orchid crates.

 I always seem to have small pots leftover from orchid plants. I sprayed them white and added a plastic cup for water. 


I share your songs, through charmed hours,

With my sworn friends, the leaves and flowers.

~ Mary Webb, To a Poet in April 


Happy Easter! I'd love to hear from you.