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An Unexpected Flower Gift


This little 5-inch bucket of blooms was left at my house after our last flowernotes photo shoot.





We needed an interesting combination of garden snippets for our Blushing Copper story on page 86, before we could send flowernotes off to the publisher.



Susan contributed a Cafe au Lait dahlia, some of her  prize 'Zinderella Lilac' zinnias, 



and heavenly strands of love-in-a-puff vine.



Perle d'Or and a couple other roses, along with my favorite pink dahlia, came from my garden.



 And here's Lady Roberts, the beautiful Tea.



The light had changed from the cool morning shot shown in flowernotes and I was captivated not only by the warmer light but also moved by the collaboration that Susan and I experienced creating flowernotes. This little bucket held gratitude and an otherworldly beauty to me. Photographing these images was such a joy.







 The sweet single rose with the pink stamens is Poulsen's Pearl


Atmosphere, that whimsical artist, transforms the already brilliant world by clothing in tints other than their own.

~Mary Webb in The Spring of Joy: A Little Book of Healing


ARS – My Romance with Roses


Welcome ARS Newsletter readers and all rose lovers! This is the continuation of an article in which the first half appears in the February 2016 email newsletter of the American Rose Society (the first half is also reproduced mid-way through this post). 


A New Adventure – the Creation of flowernotes




Last April, my rose adventures took a delightful new turn. My friend Susan Donley and I were on our way home from a happy jaunt to one of our favorite nurseries, when Susan looked at me and said, “We should start a magazine.” I thought what a great idea and excitedly said, “Yes!” Susan and I had been working with flowers together for thirty years; she is the founder of Florali, a well-known flower shop in Walnut Creek, CA. The two of us are both flower photographers and our mutual flower love has also inspired working in layout and design. With today’s wonderful publishing opportunities we couldn't wait to get started.


That April day, flowernotes was born. And how thrilling it was for me to collaborate on such a project with a friend. Two heads are definitely better than one when it comes to story ideas, writing, photography sessions, prop acquisitions, and a thousand other things. Volume One of flowernotes is titled A Love Note to India, inspired by trips Susan and I have made to this flower-rich country.

The cover of flowernotes was photographed during my garden's first bloom last year – Pink Gruss an Aachen and Belle Story are posing in Indian oil cans.


Our flower love is lavished on one hundred beautiful pages, and in the process our “magazine” became a serial book! The most endearing compliment we have received is that “flowernotes is breathtaking”.




In flowernotes, we go all-out with party décor ideas abundant with roses. Volume One also has craft projects, a delicious chutney recipe, rose and flower profiles, garden ideas, there’s even a story about Oliver the flower dog. 

flowernotes is available as a softcover printed book and as an ebook. Click here to order.


The first half of the ARS article starts here:


My Romance with Roses


Yes, I fell in love with roses, but surely roses must have fallen in love with me first! I believe they had a plan to woo me.




Sparks seemed to fly when I would see certain roses. I mean how could I order thirty bare-root roses, sight unseen, simply by catalogue descriptions? All stages of rose growth held magic for me. And why did I want to share almost every little thing that intrigued me about roses? Matters of the heart are like that aren’t they?

After twenty-five years of publishing books and articles about roses, people ask me if I am tired of my subject. On the contrary, roses are an ever-renewing inspiration. Especially today, there are so many opportunities to share the beauty and love of roses – and really – that’s all I ever want to do.




My romance with roses first found expression in the creation of my garden, and of course one rose bush led to another, and another. Our suburban corner plot is now host to more than three hundred roses, many of them reblooming heritage roses.




Climbers, ramblers and large shrub roses form the beautiful, show stopping bones of the garden. Teas, Minis, Floribundas, Austins, and Hybrid Teas come and go as the spirit moves me. In the mix are many flowering shrubs like abutilon, weigela, and hydrangea. Perennials, herbaceous plants, and annuals like zinnias and sweet peas are abundant and round out the mix.




Years ago, I saw a large bouquet in an art exhibit that had a wide variety of components – many roses, flowering branches, vines, even a few tomatoes. It was so gorgeous that it inspired me to grow similar things so I too could create amazing flower arrangements. I love going into the garden to see and play with a day's offerings. Freely filling a flower bucket with whatever captures my eye or color theme can lead to a joyous workout. I'm usually in experimental mode, because I want to always try new ways of showing and photographing roses. I'm ever on the lookout for interesting containers whether they are at a shop or in a friend's cupboard.




I always like to show a rose both in the garden and in the vase. I want to share the many possibilities of living with roses. I'm also always happy to make a simple bouquet with just one rose, and then display and photograph it so the rose reaches out its heart to you, as Russelliana seems to in this image. 

My romance with roses is a life privilege I am deeply grateful for, and now to be part of flowernotes, an ongoing publication whose mission “is about loving flowers and beauty and sharing that love with family and friends around the globe” – what a delight. 

Here's another link for ordering flowernotes: click

Introducing 'flowernotes' Magazine

At our Open Garden on May 3, Susan Donley and I introduced our new magazine, flowernotes!

We handed out magazine cover mock-ups with info on the back.



flowernotes  a new magazine!

Susan Donley, founder of Florali, and Carolyn Parker, rose author and rosenotes blogger, bring a combined thirty years of creating and loving with flowers to the pages of flowernotes. Fresh, gorgeous, and even scrumptious photographs explore flowers in nature, in gardens, arranged, at events, on a bedside table, in a child’s hand . . . Crafty how-tos, recipes, poetry, guest designers, and artists offer new ways to embrace a lifestyle filled with flowers.

flowernotes will be available online and yes, also as an actual fine art magazine with no advertising!

 Volume One will debut on July 10, 2015

 Find us on the web at flowernotesmag.com

 We’ll also be up an running on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest soon.



Susan made Rose Petal Confetti Shortbread– it's yummy– and we'll be sharing the recipe in flowernotes.



 Susan also arranged stunning flowers.


Many beautiful people came and they were as excited as we are about this new venture.











Eisaku Tokuyama played the violin to the great joy of guests and flowers!






We'll keep you posted on the latest and hope you can't wait to subscribe.