Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Roses, roses, roses - Kandy Shepherd

My rose garden is glorious right now—and I’m reveling in it. In my part of Down Under it’s autumn, and this is the second flush to follow the first burst of blooms in spring—though I’ve had roses in the garden all through summer.

There's something special about a perfect, pink rose!
For several years, I was the editor of a gardening magazine. I sent photographers and writers to beautiful gardens all over Australia. Sadly, I rarely got to leave my desk to see them for myself. When the images came in, I’d “ooh” and “ah” along with the rest of the office. My favorites were always the large country gardens with lots of roses—and boy did I envy the owners!

At last! My very own country rose garden...
I still can’t believe my luck in now having a country rose garden of my own. We bought our little farm to keep horses (my daughter’s passion) but the bonus was that it came with a beautiful garden planted with lots and lots of roses.

Miss Cindy thinks she's way more beautiful than any rose!

There are other beautiful plants, too, in fact we have flowers all year round thanks to the foresight of the lovely lady who sold us the house.

We planted Double Delight for its heady scent

 Although we “inherited” most of the roses, we’ve also planted new plants of our own choice. We didn’t just choose for looks, we also considered perfume. In full bloom, the scent wafting inside from the roses is intoxicating!

I don't know the name of this David Austin English rose but isn't it beautiful?

 On the gardening magazine, we interviewed rose experts from all over the world. Some roses were recommended over and over again: Lamarque, a white climber that has been delighting gardeners since 1830; Gold Bunny (who couldn’t love a rose named after the Lindt chocolate Easter bunny!); Zephirine Drouhin, a shocking pink climber with a sensational scent; Pierre de Ronsard, an exquisite pink cabbage-rose; New Dawn, a vigorous climber.

Zepherine Drouhin really is that color
I’m pleased to say they’re all in my garden—along with a wonderful collection of David Austin English roses which I am gradually identifying.

New Dawn clambers over the arch
And we don't just enjoy them outside—there's also the joy of bringing them inside the house, by the bucket load at their peak. No way could I ever afford such lavish bunches of roses from a florist!

A selection from my garden picked a few weeks ago
Of course abundant roses don’t come without some work. Pruning all those roses is a big job, but thankfully my husband has become interested and tackles most of it.

They look beautiful inside as well as in the garden

Fertilizing is important—roses are described as “gross feeders” which really does sound gross, doesn’t it? Our horses and miniature Dexter steers help out there—sometimes by direct deposit into the garden bed when my husband lets them into the garden to enjoy long grass!

Thanks Toby for help with fertilizer!

With all this interest in roses, I guess it was inevitable I would call a heroine “Rose”. In my latest release Reinventing Rose,  the heroine’s gardening-crazy father names her Rose and her sister Daisy. (If he'd had a son, he would have called him Bud.)

Of course Rose tires of references asking does she see the world through rose-colored glasses, is she blooming, etcetera, etcetera. But she is perhaps guilty of viewing her parents’ marriage through rose-colored glasses and has to come to terms with some surprising truths in the book before she can get her complicated love life on track and get her happy-ever-after ending.

What about you? Do you like roses—or do you think they’re over-rated? Is another flower your favorite? Has anyone ever surprised you with flowers for a special occasion? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment for a chance to win a free download of Reinventing Rose.

Don’t forget to include your email address if you want to be in the draw.

Kandy Shepherd writes fun, feel-good fiction.

Her new contemporary womens fiction e-book, Reinventing Rose, is available for $2.99 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, Smashwords, and other e-book retailers.

Kandy’s romances include the Amazon bestseller The Castaway Bride, Something About Joe, and the award-winners Love is a Four-Legged Word and Home Is Where the Bark Is.

Visit Kandy at her website


girlygirlhoosier52 said...

Well, as a Kate.. I can say that I got tired of all the "KKKKKKKKaty, KKKKKKaty" song references .. I guess it's the attitude that they are making such a name-reference that they think is soooooo original... but that you've heard it a billion times already..and it drives you to wanting to either slap them for being so un-original or just saying sweetly.."You know, I've never heard that before..."

girlygirlhoosier52 said...

Do you do garden tours/walk downunder.. where people come and admire various private gardens? Here in the USA, we have them, usually a small fee given to charity..
Your's is one I would love to tour !! Lovely photos...

Kandy Shepherd said...

That's exactly what I have Rose doing in the book, Kate, smiling politely and gritting her teeth. Glad I got it right!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Yes, Kate, there is an official Open Gardens scheme, which is quite hard to get into, and people also open their gardens for charity on their own. It's my ambition to get my garden to that standard one day! I'm so glad you liked the photos!

Jo's Daughter said...

I absolutely love roses, I named our cottage Pale Rose cottage. We planted roses in the garden & I also cook or bake with the rosepetals. I have made rose bread, rose cupcakes, I love to make rose tea. I enjoy reading garden books about roses... Surprisingly I did not name one of my cats Rose, but now that I'm thinking about it why didn't I? Lol, I would love to come over to your place to get a propper look at your roses. The pictures are gorgeous!

Mary Kirkland said...

I love roses, they are so pretty and they smell so good. A few years ago my boyfriend at the time had the lady at the flower shop dye a single rose Black for me. It was the coolest thing ever! I'd always wanted a black rose and this was just wonderful and such a thoughtful gift.

Loved all your rose pictures.

Pat Cochran said...

I love roses, love the photographs of
your garden! I only have a few bushes,
but they have been blooming their lit-
tle hearts out this year! LOL. I will
be jotting down the names of your
quite prolific roses and checking to
see how well they do in our area of

Pat C.

Anna Campbell said...

Kandy, what a beautiful post - literally! As you know, I'm a huge rose fan. My late mother adored roses. When we lived on the farm, we had huge beds of them and literally used to cut them by the bucket full. I now live in a seaside resort town and sadly, roses don't like the weather here. Which didn't stop my mother from trying to grow a few bushes. They're pale imitations of the childhood roses, though. Still, a rose is a rose is a rose! Love the old fashioned varieties like Mr. Lincoln and Queen Elizabeth. And they're both beautiful inside. I fondly remember the bowls of gorgeous roses when I used to visit you in Sydney! Oh, dear, seem to be travelling down memory lane today. Congratulations on the release of REINVENTING ROSE!!!

Connie said...

Kandy! You obviously have the perfect green thumb. I am convinced that it’s a natural talent that some people possess to produce such gorgeous roses. You are so very lucky AND a talented author to boot. Congratulations on your novel “Reinventing Rose” and I’m certainly looking forward to reading it.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Pale Rose Cottage? What a delightfully evocative name, Jo's Daughter!
I love how you cook with rose petals--I haven't tried that yet.
You know, I have never thought of naming a cat Rose either! (Though there is a dog named Rosie in our extended family.)
So glad you liked the photos.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Mary, so glad you liked the pictures. I love the story of your elegant, single black rose--that was really special.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Seems like it's been a good year for roses all round the world, Pat, happy to hear yours are doing well, too. Most of those roses I mention are tried-and-true performers. Lamarque is amazing, we've grown it in three different houses and it's been splendid in each location.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Anna, so nice to see you here! We're lucky at the farm as the climate is very good for roses--they don't seem to thrive in humid, seaside locations as you have discovered. Still, some are better than none!
My mother loved roses, too. In fact I grew up in a rose-crazy household. I love how roses can evoke memories and I'm glad to know my roses are there in your thoughts. You must come visit the farm when they are in bloom.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Thank you, Connie, I think greenish-tinged thumbs must run in my family as there are a few keen gardeners among us. Though I give a lot of credit to Nature for these beautiful roses! I hope you enjoy REINVENTING ROSE.

erin said...

I love roses! I'm so envious of your beautiful gardens :) I wouldn't know the first thing about keeping them alive so I have to enjoy them vicariously. I haven't gotten very many over the years but I have been disappointed that while they were beautiful, non of them smell like roses any mmore! Congrats on the new release and thanks for sharing ;)

Kandy Shepherd said...

Isn't it a shame that so often a beautiful bunch of roses from the florist has no scent, Erin? They seem to have bred the perfume out of them in the interest of them being long lasting. Like you, I think it's a missing dimension. That said, mine grow happily away outside without much intervention but not all of them have a strong scent, some it's just a faint, sweet aroma while others are intoxicating. Thanks for calling by!

Lory Lee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lory Lee said...

I love Roses, specially Yellow Roses. But I'm more in love with Tulips! Anyway, Roses remind me of my childhood days, we use to have a Rose Plant in our backyard, and I always see my mom talking to it (yes!) cultivating it, watering and more. Sadly, when we transferred, it wilted and died. My Mom was so sad to see it die. :(


Keziah Hill said...

Having seen Kandy's farm I can testify her roses are GORGEOUS!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Lory, I love tulips, too, but don't have as much luck with them as I do roses!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Thanks Keziah, yours are lovely too!