Apricot, White Chocolate Scones
Miriam Wilkins' Old Rose Bouquet

Have Roses–Will Arrange


A recent tryst with ‘Climbing Pinkie’ inspired this tale. After fertilizing roses in the pink bed surrounding our house, twice in one month, a good crop of fall blooms were ready to arrange. ‘Pinkie’, a one-year resident planted near our front chimney, was not too impressive before the feeding, but after, I noticed she was finally lengthening, blooming, and had well-padded stems of shiny foliage. It occurred to me that she might work as filler for a bouquet I had in mind.


Rectangular vases like this require lots of filler.

4 Easy Steps

1. I harvested 4 blooming lengths of ‘Pinkie’ and a bucket of mixed pink blooms. All the while, I kept the vase in mind to try and gauge how much material I’d need for a generous look.

2. The lower leaves and thorns were whisked off the rose stems, with a dethorner (shown in the top photo), before placing them in the bucket. Thorns will snag on leaves and other stems during insertion.  

3. ‘Pinkie’ branches went into the vase first and I was thrilled to see how much character the lush foliage had.

4. The showy roses went in next–with one limitation–‘Souvenir de la Malmaison ' stems (shown laying on the table in the top picture) were so short they had to be placed pretty much near the lip of the vase. Placing the other roses was a pleasure, because ‘Pinkie’s’ support allowed them to stay put. There’s nothing more frustrating than roses that flop around, unable to take their place with ease. This way, you can prominently display the face of each bloom. It’s also not a big deal to remove and replace stems as you experiment. 


A couple days later, I removed the spent blooms and left the ‘Pinkie’ branches. I actually liked the simplicity of the look better than the bloom fest above. Buds continued to open for at least 6 days and the easy free-form look of the leaves had me smitten with a new rose, once again.

During the summer, I considered removing ‘Climbing Pinkie’ from the garden–not now–she’s here to stay. 


Climbing Pinkie ’ is a sport of the Polyantha, ‘Pinkie’ discovered by E.P. Dering around 1952. This rose, is almost thornless, quite vigorous, and in my garden, is mildew free.