restoring a vintage rose garden


 
i thought it would be interesting to see just how this old rose garden has evolved from a tangled bramble into what it is today.  have you heard the old adage...the first year the garden sleeps, the second year it creeps and the third year it leaps?  even though the garden is well over 100 years old we've been here 3 years reviving it.







it's hard to tell by the pictures but the roses were growing into each other.  they had to be pruned very hard to untangle them.  this made me nervous because they all seemed so weak and i didn't want to add more stress to them but it was the only option.





we knew for a fact that this garden had been very loved at one time.  gertrude just couldn't keep up with it and so it fell into a state of neglect.










finally cleared and detangled we started placing big limestone slabs that we found buried under leaves in another part of the garden.







we ran out of limestone slabs so larry hauled in these broken pieces of concrete.

we also thought we would be able to grow our vegetables here too but we didn't realize just how shady this area would get in the summer.  the concrete edging was recycled from the front garden and painted black.
we eventually took it out and it wound up back in the front garden.  larry loves little projects like this.





we fed the roses and mulched them heavily with homemade compost.





this is the garden at its peak during the second year, a big improvement.  it didn't produce many blooms at all, in fact there was only one bloom cycle.  but we were ecstatic that they were living.







these photos were taken yesterday.  you can see just how tall the roses have gotten.  i'm 5'6 and some of them are as tall as me.  you really can't tell by the pictures but there are hundreds of blooms and hundreds of buds waiting to bloom.  i think they have fully recovered.   we removed the limestone slabs and moved them to the front garden.  we found all these round stepping stones throughout the property to replace them. 











when we took out the veggie patch and we started placing all my boxwoods here instead.  it's also where my orchids spend their time.  the low growing ground cover is really pretty and delicate and will die off when it gets hot and then we will mulch again.  i like it, i think it gives it an old englishy garden feel, exactly the look i was going for.







and it seems like the more i cut the more they bloom.

xo
janet

44 comments

  1. You live in the middle of an English rose garden...can I say again how absolutely sick with envy I am.
    It's what dreams are made of...you were definately the right people to find the cottage.
    It's truly beautiful! xo

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  2. seeing pics like these makes me miss my garden at my previous home!

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  3. That's an amazing amount of work! I love roses. Your garden looks so beautiful. When I saw the photo of the roses cut back I gasped. The growth is unbelievable! Good for you.

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  4. I would love to sit in this garden and read a book of poems!

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  5. They are gorgeous! And how rewarding for you.

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  6. Wow what progress in only three years!
    I like that you and Larry work together in the garden. How romantic.

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  7. Very pretty roses and gifts from them for all the hard work and the attention you had paid to them. Thank's for sharing your pretty garden.....TALLULAH'S

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  8. Don't you love those crazily vibrant tangerine orange roses?!! I don't know what they are called but I have two in my garden and they are so much fun.

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  9. Well done on the rose garden but especially on the selection of Larry.

    I look forward to meeting him one day.

    You two make beautiful music together,

    xo Jane

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  10. The roses are so healthy looking and tall!

    I like the before and after images too. So inspiring Janet!

    I can imagine the intoxicating fragrance of the garden as you stroll along the flagstone path...

    Lovely!

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  11. A hundred year old garden...that is amazing!!!! How fascinating to get the inside peak at the revival process...those roses are looking plump and happy now :)

    xx Cat brideblu

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  12. Janet - I think it's safe to say they have fully recovered! I am on the third year of my garden as well, and I'm finding - so far - that old adage to be true. It appears that this year will be a stellar year, not just for the roses (I only have half a dozen of them, but they were in even worse shape than yours - one of them I didn't even know existed it was so nearly dead), but everything else, as well. You are so lucky that Larry likes these sorts of chores, and you two have done a beautiful job together!

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  13. It was fun to see the incredible transformation. I think I would have bulldozed it all. You were smart to keep it all. If Gertrude could see this, I'd bet she'd do cartwheels...or maybe even poop her bloomers.

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  14. Wow you've really transformed the garden, it's beautiful. My dad was a gardener and so we have lots of roses in the back garden at home.

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  15. The garden just needed to restored by loving hands. It looks like an amazing haven for you and Larry. It must smell like heaven!

    xo
    Claudia

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  16. Hi Janet, Such beautiful comments, all true. All The Gardeners Cottage needed was you and Larry. What a wonderful team you and Larry are. What a beautiful place. Hugs, Joyce

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  17. You have so much privacy; that's one thing I miss about living in the country.

    Sue
    xo

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  18. Absolutely beautiful roses! I am always amazed how roses will thrive when cut back hard. Very nice job!

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  19. Janet -- that looks like a ton of work! But oh, the bounty.
    Glad to know that the more you cut, the more they bloom. I've been reluctant to cut the roses on our rental property because there are so few...

    And I'm going to use your pictures as guide to hard prune next winter. Winter in CA is the right time, correct?
    Camille

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  20. oh yes!!! the more roses you cut the more you get, the bushes are so grateful when doing these, they get much energy to keep blooming!!!
    Such a great work you did in your rose garden and all the varieties are stunningly beautiful my dear Janet!!!! Love seeing you garden!!!!
    muchos cariños

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  21. janet,

    I keep coming back for another look...I have loved seeing your before and after photos. You must be so proud to revive a hundred year old garden to its original glory. A lot of work, but really so much beauty in only three years. I absolutely love the roses on your porch railing today!

    xo annie

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  22. I'm desperate to grow roses in our garden... back home in the UK, my mum always had a rose garden and a lot of my childhood pictures show me sat with a backdrop of beautiful roses. Thus far in the States I have limited success... having learnt from past mistakes, I now understand that they like mulching a lot and feeding... watered daily... and prefer sun... any other tit bits?? Any help would be much appreciated. Do you have a favourite rose? Lx

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  23. Oh wow.... Truely a beautiful and natural looking garden. I'm awed.
    Miranda

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  24. laura,

    i'm really still learning myself but as far as southern california goes they need 6 hrs of sun per day. i feed them about every 6-8 weeks during the bloom cycle. i do not water them daily unless the temps get over 100 degrees. and we do mulch them pretty heavily right before it gets really hot. i've been lucky and have not gotten any major diseases. they seem to be almost disease resistent. last summer i buried a banana peel at the base of each one. i have no idea if that helps or not. i have always loved white roses and there is only one white rose in the whole lot here. but really i love them all.

    xo
    janet

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  25. what a tremendous showing of before and after. What a beautiful job you did. A lot of hard work...ife's reward! Jennifer aka Gigi

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  26. I was just telling myself I needed to go out and dead head my roses today and did I? Nope. But it's on the list for tomorrow! ( I have heard the more you do it that it encourages more blooms, you think that would be an incentive for me)

    Linda

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  27. I love love your blog--the sweet combination of home talking and fashion, there is so much to see and enjoy! And I love to come here and see what new fantastic fashion you're wearing... thank YOU. The other day I loss all my 'old' links and I didn't have any idea how to get your link back, so I spend an hour searching the Internet for your blog, until finally I found it again! Yeah! ;) Love your garden too... so very lovely!

    Cielo

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  28. It's just great that you took the time to get the garden back to how it used to be. what gorgeous blooms :)

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  29. This is a fascinating post, Janet. How excited you must have been to find this sleeping garden. It's great that the roses are now repaying all your careful work.

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  30. Thanks for the reply Janet. I was off at the garden centre yesterday looking at Cecile Brunner rose. I have lofty aspirations and want to train it over a arbor. I'm also hoping to have some vintage tea roses in too. I'll keep you posted. For now I'm happy that the 3 I planted last year, look as though they have made it through the winter... although one lost an arm through the weight of snow! I guess my mum just made gardening look a lot easier than it is! Lx

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  31. You can lay down on a bed of roses!
    The ground covering greens are the perfect match. In Vienna wild garlic covers the ground in the woods these days, another scent. :-)

    Mr Paula's mother always sees Mr Paula him off with roses from the garden. Your son's girlfriend would be delighted, no doubt! Mums who cut roses for her son's friend are the best mums!

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  32. You are a hero. I know what it takes to make a garden full of blooms like that.
    pve

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  33. Janet I love the ransformation!! The roses are gorgeous and I can just snell their heady scent!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

    Come and enter my Fashionable Giveaway from the French Basketeer!

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  34. This is where you belong. Leave the fashion to the experts.

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  35. Hi Janet, I found your blog through Slim Paley and it's just lovely. I'm just starting to plant a rose garden along my driveway and this is such great inspiration! I'll be following your blog from now on. Thanks!
    Marina @ http://www.yummymummykitchen.com

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  36. Lindo jardim Janet !
    Você realmente fez uma bela tranformação, parabéns!

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  37. i love roses and yours are divine, My mum told me about putting banana skins at the base too, and how satisfying to rescue the rose garden xx

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  38. It is incredible the beauty you have nurtured back into existence through hard work and a few tools. How satisfying it must be to have brought it back from the brink together. It must smell divine?! xx

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  39. Have someone to come in and classify the roses. You could have something "lost" or forgotten!

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  40. fist time posting, out i come from lurkville..
    Re the not very nice comment, i see you as STYLISH and in no way trying to be a fashion follower, and as (coco?) once said, 'fashion fades only style remains'
    Love your posts, each and every one of them!!

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  41. It is absolutely amazing, bravo!
    xo~
    T

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  42. love seeing the transformation!

    we, too, are starting our third spring/summer in our garden, and I do believe it is leaping! our property had decades of delayed maintenance. there is still so much to do. but i started at one corner of the property and am slowly making my way around it.

    enjoying the roses is such a nice reward for all the hard work. to you and your garden!

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  43. You have my dream garden, my roses don't open till June and even then it's not a great show. I love the round stepping stones and that look of a cottage garden, oh I wish you could come round and give me tips, my front garden is so boring.

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kindness is never out of style.

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