Did You
Know?
Look at the meaning of rose colors under "What We Grow"
London Diary
August 21, 2006
This blog entry is coming to you from London, where we are having a vacation. Today our friend Sheila drove us to Bath, a small city near London which has the most extensive Roman bath surviving today. While there I looked at two florist's shops (one was a street booth actually) and looked at the roses.

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I saw beautiful Dutch-grown flowers such as "Aqua," "Cherry Brandy," "Springtime," and some unidentified other red, pink and yellow.

The Roman bath from 100 A.D. has been excavated after having caved in years after the Romans left. During the 1700s taking the waters there became very fashionable and in later years they excavated the hot springs, the hot and cold rooms, and the large pool.

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I am a total sucker for Roman ruins of any kind, so this was great! Also I loved the "Master and Commander" books by Patrick O'Brian, and Jack Aubrey spends some time in the Pump Room at Bath flirting with his future wife, Sophie. We did go into the pump room and drink the somewhat sulpherous (and hot!) water. It was not wonderful tasting but much much better than the lithia water in Ashland. That stuff is truly nasty.

Bath is a beautiful city built of a warm colored stone, and they have lovely gardens. We were too cheap to pay the fee to get in so we mooched the view from the promenade above.

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Here is Bath being politically correct - it is funny to have Victorian style plantings which tend to be somewhat mono-culture (lots of one type of plant) spelling out "Biodiversity!"

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Ah, there's nothing like a really Giant urn. Especially one filled with begonias and fuchsias.

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And this sign...we thought it might mean no whizzing on the grounds, but looking it up on Google we discovered that "No Fly Tipping" means no littering!

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Yesterday we went to Hampton Court, Henry VIII's hunting lodge and also a popular site during Georgian times, the 1700s.

Besides the gorgeous gardens...like this formal one...

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there was a record-breaking grape vine...

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the most amazing aspect of which besides the enormous trunk which they obviously spent a lot of time protecting from the elements...

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(and by the way this vine inside the greenhouse was loaded with dark purple grapes hanging down which they sold)...

the health of this vine required a large, open field to give the roots ample fertilizer and water, outside the greenhouse!

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Look at how nicely mulched this area is. We all agreed that we would not like to have the vine keeper's job, what if something went wrong and it died????

We are taking the train into London city tomorrow from our friends' house in Ascot. More sleuthing flower shops and gardens...I'll keep you posted.

Coming Soon to a Greenhouse Near You...
August 12, 2006
We're excited because Gerhardt, our Dutch rose plant guy, has just e-mailed that our new plants are coming.

Our teeny new plants will arrive from Holland in about two weeks and we'll get them planted immediately.

Norman and I scoured the internet, our rose propagators, and the Dutch Hortifair to find these varieties. Some of them right now are only available in Europe.

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This is Lawrence, the British model, showing off a bouquet of "Amalia." I spotted this at the Meilland Holland exhibit at the Hortifair last November. This rose is unique - pink on the inside and red on the reverse. I thought Amalia was beautiful and I hope you do, too.

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"Augusta Louise" is a German garden rose from Tantau which is featured on their beautiful 100 year anniversary calendar. It is a yummy blend of pink and peach with lots of petals. I must admit this is one is an experiment, because we have not actually seen it. But Tantau is such a great breeder and they have also produced our popular rose "Waltzertraum".

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Another pink spray rose? Yes, we are trying out "Astral" from Interplant. This one should be available in a few weeks because we already have the plants. When in Holland last November I was fortunate to tour the Interplant breeding facility outside of Amsterdam. They specialize in spray roses. This rose is a slightly different shade of pink than "Gracia," and should help pinkify our spray rose collection a little more.

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Speaking of pinkification, check out "Mariatheresia," another great garden rose from Tantau. This is a lush, gorgeous, rounded and stuffed with petals flower straight out of a Dutch still life. They had a magnificent bouquet of it at the Hortifair and it took my breath away. I took this photo myself at the exhibit.

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Had enough pink yet? We haven't! Here's "Mi Amor!," a large headed pink rose from Schreurs, another Dutch rose breeding company. I crack up whenever I go on their web site because unlike the classy Laurence which Meilland uses, they have a blowzy blonde with big pink lips blowing kisses and other ridiculous things which I guess the Dutch think is extremely sexy. This is a good rose, though! We also grow their "Cool Water!," a very popular large (and lasting) purple rose.

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Moving on from pink, "Talea+" is a pale creamy slightly peachy-pinky rose which is slightly different than "Vendela" and should be a perfect wedding rose. I know a lot of California growers have this rose and it is very popular for them. It is from the rose breeder Lex+. Notice how their roses have a plus sign by the name. This is considered to be a way of distinguishing their brand. That's why Schreurs uses an exclamation point. Plus it fits in with the heavy-breathing blonde.

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Here's another experimental rose which we really haven't seen and nobody else grows - "Karamel Antike," from Kordes, the famous German breeders of "Frisco" and many other popular roses. We are hoping this pretty and different rose will complement some of the new colors that are out there in the fashion and home decorating world.

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Finally, here is "Helga Piaget," again from the French breeder Meilland. We won't have this rose until much later this year because our American rose propagator is growing it for us and he is moving to a different farm. Believe it or not in real life Helga Piaget is the wife of Yves Piaget, the jeweler and namesake of our beautiful pink garden rose with the lovely scent. Here are Yves and Helga on the town with a third person unknown. Not sure which one of the women is Helga!

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So when will you see our new roses? Astral, almost immediately. The rest, in about two to three months, so maybe around Christmas. Helga, maybe in time for Valentine's Day???? Garden roses make great Valentine's Day flowers because they are romantic and somewhat unusual. Something to think about...

Have a great weekend!

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Quakes, Snakes & Shortcakes
August 4, 2006
Woke up at 1:40 a.m. Thursday to a rolling sensation that turned out to be a three-point-something earthquake. Just a mild one and almost fun - nothing broke, nobody got hurt. At the farm, Pam was the only one who felt it but not consciously, it just woke her up. If it didn't feel like bad luck I'd say it was a "fun" earthquake. Not like the "big one." Are you ready??????

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Generally the greenhouse is not a bad place to be during an earthquake. Especially since we don't use glass anymore - it's polycarbonate. Back in the 30's when Mom was working a fairly big earthquake struck and she said some glass was broken.

This is our new pink spray rose Astral, which we are trying out this year. It's not ready to sell yet but we should have some in a few weeks.

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We are expecting some new plants in the next week or two, including some more Akito, more Springtime, more Naranga, and some fun surprise roses to flesh out our garden rose selection and add some new colors.

Naranga is a rose we planted last year and it has been a real winner. It's a bright orange, it opens up really nicely, and keeps well. I had a bouquet for 2 weeks, then when they started to go, picked off some nice blooms and floated them in my rose bowl.

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I still don't know how to pronounce it, though. Is it Naranga rhymes with kanga? or is it like the Spanish word for orange, Nar-AHN-ha???

Almost forgot the Snakes & Shortcakes!!! - One of Sam's friends forwarded a "Snakes on a Plane" voicemail to my cell phone. It is hilarious! I want to see this movie! On Shortcakes, strawberries are over, raspberries are mostly gone (this is my favorite), blueberries are shrivelling, and now blackberries are beginning. Karen has a pet blackberry patch that she "allowed" to grow in one of the landscape beds. But blackberries refuse to be tamed. It produces great berries but it is eating the rhododendrons. We will have to take drastic action. But after the berries are gone, of course.

Brides and Other Princesses
August 2, 2006
Today I was reading the latest Newsweek which is reporting that "a growing number of brides suffer(s) from postwedding blues". This is according to Carley Roney, editor of TheNest.com. "The problem usually comes when out-of-control bridezillas wrap themselves with planning for the big day - and don't plan for the day after." According to Lee Madden, a psychologist, "Getting married is a party...being married isn't as glamorous. You don't get to be a star all the time."

Can any of my florist friends relate to this?????

Jewel of Passionflower in Eugene called yesterday to let us know that our red rose petals helped pave the princess of Thailand's red carpet during her recent visit. Yes, we do sell rose petals...according to Jewel, wherever the princess went, there was a red carpet covered with rose petals. It's hard to relate to that. I just want to make sure I'm not making muddy footprints when I enter a room...

Below: photo of my son Sam, guitar player and chief rose petal guy for Peterkort roses.

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If you are looking for my blog on Anne Ryan's book party, click on the July archives. You'll find photos and information about her book there.

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Also this month please read our newsletter (click on "News" on the left) and read The Real Dirt on Farmer Norm.

Farmer John (of the movie):

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Farmer Norm (of Peterkort Roses):

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