entertainingFood & Drinkoutdoorstudio choowe like it wild

we like it wild: featured flower: garden rose

by Grace Bonney

Most cities around the world, major and minor, have public rose gardens. Some are large and well-renowned, like Portland’s International Test Garden which holds over 500 varietals and 6,800 bushes, but many are no more than little pockets of fragrant color in the corner of your local parks. No matter the size, we suggest that you get out right now to see them as rose season is slowly drawing to a close.

After delivering a few morning orders last week we decided to drop by Golden Gate Park’s Rose Garden to see what was blooming. Strategically nestled between bustling Fulton Street and JFK Drive this low lying garden is protected from the harsh, cool afternoon winds that roll in from the Pacific Ocean, just a few miles away. It was landscaped to maximize sun exposure and minimize wind-chill, making it a safe haven and testing ground for some of the city’s most stunning and aromatic species. The Rose Garden is AARS-accredited (All-America Rose Selections), so it’s not only a fun place just to look and sniff, but great for seeing plants that will grow well in our climate. The AARS website is also an excellent resource for some fun rose history, symbolism, and care instructions.

CLICK HERE for the rest of Studio Choo’s Garden Rose post (including tips for maintaining cut rose stems) after the jump!

The roses most of us see in parks and neighborhood gardens are quite different than the sorry-I-screwed-up long-stemmed reds you see at the drugstore sold with a sprig of baby’s breath. Many of these “supermarket roses” have been bred to be thorn-less and have tightly closed buds that never open to full bloom. And sin of all sins, they often don’t smell like roses. A flower that for centuries has been venerated for its intoxicating scent has been stripped of its signature attribute. Adding injury to insult, the majority of these roses are grown in Ecuador where laborers, many underage, work in unsafe conditions plying the picture perfect petals with harmful chemicals and preservatives in order to bring them to American markets. The good news is that fair-trade rose farms are on the rise and beautiful roses can also be purchased from local farmer’s markets and growers.

For this week’s post we decided to create a few rose displays using stems from our family gardens and some from a grower in Petaluma. We love watching roses cycle from bud to bloom to falling petals so we lined our mantle with a collection of vintage bottles and added an assortment of roses in various stages of life. We also created a colorful bridal bouquet that is an inexpensive and fun way to include your family in your wedding plan. Your florist should be able to create a base bouquet with a single color of rose, and you can supply a stem of your Granny’s “Charles Austin”, your Uncle’s “Mr. Lincoln”, and your Mom’s “Double Delight” to add in for variety. Your bouquet will be beautiful and your family will like seeing their “Pride ‘n’ Joy” walk down the aisle with you!


Here are a few tips we use for maintaining our cut rose stems.

-It is best to cut before 9 am, when flowers are fully hydrated.

-Cut rose stem just above third 5-leaflet down from the flower.

-Cleanliness is super important; make sure your container does not have grime or residue in it. Bacteria in the vase will clog the rose stem and prevent proper water absorption.

-Remove lower leaves (to prevent bacteria build-up) and slice stem with a knife at a sharp angle. Giving a long angled cut provides more surface area for water to enter the stem.

-Change the water, add preservative, and recut the stems daily if possible.

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  • Gorgeous pictures, and the vintage bottles add so much flair to the arrangements! I love roses, and you’re so right that the stereotype of roses has kind of ruined the flower because so many people can’t see outside the box of the long-stemmed red version.

  • such pretty inspiration for my thursday.

    i tend to not like roses in a dozen of all the same color, but when it’s mixed like this it’s absolutely dreamy!

  • the smells of garden roses! lemon drops, honeydew melon, sugarplums…the most intoxicationg nectar! when i have garden roses i make everyone smell them. even reluctant children, SMELL IT!! I shout
    i love the mantle shot too – lovely

  • I have a peach rose bush in my front yard. The roses are still blooming, but with that slight desperation of mid-August. The smell is lighter than in June, but it’s there.

  • I can’t stop looking at that first photo… it’s so breathtaking. What beautiful photos – so inspirational. Totally made my day!

  • BEAUTIFUL colors. I agree, that first photo is so great. I also love the bouquet and the mini vases lining the mantle. Hmmm…I think I’ll go out and buy some flowers now……

  • Would love to visit this garden. it will be on my list of must see gardens. Growing roses is my passion and i specialize in antique damask roses. Every year, I visit the Bronx Botanical gardens which have a spectacular display of early flowering roses.
    Thanks for such beautiful images..

  • What a lovely article! Well done.
    It’s so nice to see a great article celebrating the glorious scented garden rose which we grow on our own sustainable farms..

  • Just lovely. I adore the photo of all your roses in the glass bottles. We’re just ending winter here in Sydney so I’m looking forward to spring when my David Austin roses will start to bud and bloom!

  • I came across your article. My Google alert service directed me to it because you used a “stage of life” phrase in your piece. Normally I move on if the article doesn’t pertain to my business but I actually took a moment to read your story and wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed it. Nice work!

    Have a wonderful summer!


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