A Phoenix Rises

Old Rose Gdn 3.18
The garden of Old European Roses emerging from a year-long renovation.

Over the past week we’ve measured 4 inches of rain here in the Friends’ garden of old roses. That drenching bodes well for the year to come as the old European section of the garden has come full circle from a tangled, secret garden to a bright open haven for flowers. Our 2017 Blackberry eradication project has been a great success, supported by the help of many volunteers, and brought to fruition with the donations of many, including some very large gifts.

This May and June I hope you can come to visit the old roses. We have laid out more than 90 plants of rose varieties we had lost or nearly lost, and to their numbers have added new companion plantings the likes of which this old rose garden has never seed. We are fighting the incursion of weeds and berry plants by covering the earth with plants. We expect an explosion of blooms, and you should not miss this.

Though I will not host an open garden, I hope you can come on the weekend of the Celebration of Old Roses, held this year in Albany, near El Cerrito. The Bay Area Heritage Roses Group has been helping me for more than a decade to cut blooms for display at that wonderful event. Saturday, May 19, will be our flower picking day in the old rose garden. Please come join us then and share the beauty with us.

—Gregg Lowery, Curator, The Friends of Vintage Roses

Gertrude Jekyll as scale for the old Scots roses
Cut roses from TFoVR for Celebration
Cut roses under an arbor in the old rose garden, headed to the Celebration of Old Roses, 2017 

“At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done—then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.”
—Frances Hodgson Burnett,
The Secret Garden

Please note: our first Dirt Day will be Saturday, April 7th. Check our Dirt Days page for the full 2018 schedule.