A Change in Plans

rjlinvaSeptember 24, 2012

Greetings my friends!

I know it's been a long time since I've posted. I wanted to drop in to let you know that there has been a significant change in my life.

I have accepted a new position in Northern Virginia outside of Washington, D.C., and it looks as though I will be relocating there permanently. This means I will be selling my country home which has my collection of about 800 different antique roses and thousands of other wonderful plants (clematis, camellias, hostas, crepe myrtles, figs, bulbs, etc.) I am sad to leave the gardens behind because I truly put my heart into them. I was really hoping to see the gardens reach maturity, but, alas, I think it is best to sever the cord rather than try to keep the property as a rental. I hope to get a house up in NOVA someday with enough sun to grow some of my favorites (White Cap, Shailer's Provence, The Bishop, et al.)

I doubt seriously that whoever ends up with the house will share a passion for the gardens, so I am willing to share with anyone who may want some of the roses. Some may no longer be available as Sherando and Ashdown are no longer, and I got many from each of those nurseries. We would just need to schedule a weekend that I would go back to the house. I do go back somewhat regularly, so it's not a huge issue. I'm not sure how soon I will be able to sell the house, so...

Collecting and growing antique roses has been an incredible journey for me, and I still get goosebumps when I see the names of some these roses.

Just a glimpse of what I will leave behind.

I hope to keep in touch...Robert

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OMG, this is really sad. Wish I lived near you. Good luck with the seller, you never know.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 8:03AM
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Oh, that would break my heart to leave such a lovely garden.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 8:50AM
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catsrose(VA 6)

Robert, This is awful, awful, awful. I can only hope that whoever would buy your place will know its worth.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 8:55AM
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catsrose(VA 6)

Robert, please email me. I would be interested in rescuing your roses.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 8:58AM
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What an inspiring and beautiful garden you're leaving behind, Robert, and I appreciate your generous desire to find your roses good homes and help insure that uncommon varieties continue to live on. You might find a buyer who appreciates them, but I agree that the odds aren't good. Thanks for letting us know your plans, and keep in touch.
Your photos are marvelous.
Good luck in your new job and new home!!!!!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 9:28AM
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fogrose(zone 10/sunset 17)

Sorry you have to leave such a lovely garden. Thank you for caring enough about your garden to offer plants to people so they can be saved. Good luck in your new position. Wish I lived nearby so I could help.


    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 9:32AM
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ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)

What a dream garden and how difficult this must be for you. It would be a wonderful near-miracle if someone bought your home and loved the garden equally. Your roses are truly stunning, and I hope there will be others who will want to adopt some of these rare beauties. The best of luck to you. Will you have room at all for roses where you'll be living?


    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 12:04PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

I don't think I could bear it.


    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 12:36PM
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Heartbreaking. There is just no way to recapture the maturity, the time factor in a new garden. Even if you could buy a property with a mature garden, it wouldn't be your plan.

If you pass some of your roses on to others, they could help restock your new garden and, who knows, in this economy maybe the property won't sell. (I hope that would be good news.)


    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 1:58PM
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JessicaBe(5-6 Central Ohio)

If I was close enough I would get some roses but I can't. You can try contacting some rose nurseries to see if they would be interested in some especially if some are not rare/ish :)

If you have family that likes gardening what about rent to own, I just hate to see that beautiful garden go, I know if my parents had a garden like that (which my mom is working up to with my help :P) I would jump on that in a heartbeat.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 2:44PM
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Best of luck to you in your new location and new endeavors. I hope you find homes for your favorites at least.


    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 2:21AM
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hi, Robert,
I remember pics of your garden when it was young so am thrilled to see it in bloom now, several years later. Thanks for posting them - so beautiful!

I know you can make another, equally beautiful spot another time - good luck with your new job. I hope you love it!


    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 2:27AM
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I couldn't bear it either. I hope to be carried out of my present garden and after that I wouldn't care :-) I can never hope to sell the house and garden to someone who will appreciate the rarities or know their worth. A friend who sold his house made me take some of his special roses so I have an idea of how hard it is to leave a cherished garden. My friend exchanged his Swedish garden for the almond trees in Cyprus but he still feels for his Swedish roses and visits them every year.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 4:36PM
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lagomorphmom(z10Coastal and z8Mtn CA)

Oh, Robert. I know it took a lot do do that, I can't imagine even typing it and posting your pics. Shoot, I can hardly take my eyes off just your pictures. Do you remember which roses are in the pics you posted?

I don't remember where your garden is, the Carolina's??

I have just over 200 in relatively new garden in the So. Cal. mountains - THAT, I could leave because a) I could redo it and b) it will NEVER be as lush and verdant as what I see in your pictures.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 7:12PM
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You and Monet could have been brothers. Seriously I hope your realtor can get in touch with someone who wants to live in paradise. I remember the pictures of when they were young starts. Vintage has hung in there so I hope you can get another property and live to see Robert's Eden part II. Wish I was ready to retire. I would love to find a dream garden like that.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 7:24PM
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Oh my Lord,

Your garden is Paradise!!! It appears mature to me in the marvel of a photo that you posted, are you sure you don't live at Montisfont?
Is there any chance you would wish to send winter hard wood cuttings to others on the propagation page at gardenweb, and/or to Old Rose societies? Perhaps it would console you to know your roses live on with others loving them.

My heart aches for you, I hope that the beauty you've created remains and thrives.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 7:28PM
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lori_elf z6b MD

Your garden has grown up so beautifully since the early pictures of it that I remember. I know it will be sad to leave it, but hopefully you'll find a nice little property in NOVA and be able to create a new garden with the best of all you have learned.

I would love to have a few of your roses to rescue, though I am short on space due to my own downsizing efforts.

You will also be living much closer to me and Olga too, and I hope will visit this part of Maryland more often!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 10:56AM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

What an amazing garden! I bet you can do it again :) A new property is so much fun to design the gardens for, so that's nice, at least.

I'd certainly love to grow on any you'd like to pass on to others, or cuttings to root to keep special roses around. I have a lot of space and ideas for where to put new gardens on my property.

I can't recall how close I am to you, either. My email listed on GW works, but I can't see how to send you one :)

Best of luck with the move!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 1:37AM
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daisyincrete Z10? 905feet/275 metres

Robert, you must, must, must, make a garden in your new home.
It is the only way to lessen the heartbreak.
When I had to leave my beloved garden in England, it was the only thing that helped.
Do not go back to see it, or even view it on Google Earth.
Think about your new garden. Make plans for it and as soon as you get there, plant some bulbs in a pot or something. Anything to make you look forward, not back.
Make your future as beautiful as your past.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 2:41AM
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Robert, sorry to hear about your need to sell your place. Your garden is beautiful and many of us will remember it this way. I have White Cap, Shailer's Provence and The Bishop. It was actually you who gave me Shailer's Provence and The Bishop. So, consider them just waiting for your new garden in NVA. When you are ready to plant you will have cuttings or baby plants from your own roses.
I had somewhat similar situation with my Lady Hillingdon. You know I had a very good vigorous clone from nursery that does not exist anymore. I gave many cuttings to different people during many years I grew it. When my LH got RRD and had to be removed, one of my friends brought me a cutting from my own LH.

I am glad you will live close to me and Lori now. This is a good area for living. So, hopefully this is all for the best and I an sure your future garden will be stunning.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 3:41PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

it must be a really, really good position to leave that...best wishes for a fresh start.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 6:09PM
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rinaldo(z7b AR)

Those pictures are rapturously beautiful. You should make good prints of them, have them matted and framed for your new nest as a reminder and a promise. Where does one find those enormous iron arches and fixtures? Wow.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 8:07PM
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I will also share anything I have for your next garden. I know you will live a good long life and exceed your past endeavors. These are sad times and it makes me think of the old Civil War era song Hard Times Come Again No More.

I am praying for better days for everyone.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 8:51PM
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Thanks everyone for your posts. Although I am sad to leave behind my little bit of paradise, I do know that most of the joy came from creating it...reading about potential roses, posting on GW about my "choices" and then ordering them and finally planting them.

I am not sure when I will get another house, but, when I do, I hope to create another garden.

I made the arches out of rebar. Great stuff. I hope someone will take some of the nicer arches with them for the roses to grow on..hint hint.

I'm also considering growing ONE rose on my balcony in a large pot...perhaps SDLM. It smells great and blooms a lot. Any thoughts? Maybe a David Austin?

LOL...I'm out of the garden but still in the game.


    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 5:46AM
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lori_elf z6b MD

Oh yes, you *must* grow a rose (or two:-) in a pot on your balcony! I think SDLM would be a very good choice, or any in that family such as Souv. de St. Anne's or Mme Cornelissen. Another option is Tamora for an Austin. I dug up a Tamora that was runty and struggling in the ground and potted it up and gave it to my ex-partner to grow on his balcony, and it's done really well there -- much better than when in the ground I'm told.

I think it would be nice for you to pick one (or two:-)of your smallest roses and take that with you in a pot instead of getting a new one though.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 10:06AM
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Mendocino_Rose(z8 N CA.)

You will create another garden. You must. I am so very sorry. You've made such a wonderful world there. All of us who put our hearts into something like this must face at one time or another what you are facing. I am sending my very best to you.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 8:38PM
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poorbutroserich(Nashville 7a)

I say we all come together as the Rose Forum and buy it. What do you think Robert? We could keep it as a timeshare for rosarians.
Honestly, I don't think I could leave it. It is exquisite in every way.
Best wishes.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 8:45PM
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poorbutroserich(Nashville 7a)

Robert, where is your country home located?

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 8:48PM
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