With the Celebration of Old Roses coming up, I wondered what state Miriam Wilkins' garden was in. Even after sharing itself with rose seekers following Miriam's death in 2009, and a recent severe pruning, I thought there might be the chance of a magical come-back. After all, roses in 4 digits had passed through Miriam's hands into her garden.
In recent years Miriam's garden had become an almost impenetrable jungle of rampant growth. Miriam enjoyed the blooming rooftops of her garden from her second story dining room window. From the ground, blooms were a challenge to even find. Kristina Osborne and I decided to go over and have a look.
What a revelation we found! Until recently, the foreground in this shot was buried by the growth shown in the previous picture (taken several years ago).
This and many other lovely roses now had plenty of sun and space.
The neighboring property that Miriam planted had a number of changes, but roses were thriving.
This is Red Grootendorst with Geranium Maderense. Yes, Miriam's incredible collection of companion plants were also unveiled by the pruning. (I have another post planned for them.)
Needless to say Kristina and I were thrilled and we planned to come back the next week with Joanie Helgeson to harvest for the Celebration. And I made plans to gather blooms for a large bouquet to display in Miriam's rose patterned tureen. Miriam's daughter Lynn gave it for use at the Celebration, if we "filled it with roses." I was especially excited that this year all the roses would come from Miriam's garden.
A Week Later
This (and more) is the harvest Kristina, Joanie and I managed to cut on Friday, before the Sunday Celebration day. Believe it or not, all of this was needed for the bouquet.
I usually like to make bouquets the morning of the event, so I was nervous about how fresh the bouquet would be almost 3 days later. Many of the roses were rambling or climbing singles picked in bud, in hopes that they'd open by the Celebration.
To clear the living room, I thought I'd better get busy.
In this close-up, you can see the just-opened singles.
Miriam's tureen detail.
At the Celebration.
The Day After
The heavy weight and broad width of the tureen required a liner. It's much easier to arrange these hefty stems in a container with a smaller neck. A day later, everything still looks o.k.- I was surprized and grabbed my camera. I only wish I had had more time before the Celebration to capture the many wonders that made it through the door.
Thank you sweet roses,
and thank you Miriam!