Gaga's Rose Garden in Bloom
Gaga’s Rose Garden in Bloom

Sommelier, doesn’t that have an elegant ring? You also will wear a tastevin on a silver chain around your neck, French for “taste wine.” According to Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis at the French Culinary Institute in Campbell, CA when asked what does becoming a Sommelier mean to the average person “It means doing a lot of drinking.” How does one become the equivalent of a rose sommelier? One must grow a lot of roses. Like wine you can smell a rose for their bouquet, drink them in, if they don’t bloom spit ’em out of your garden. Shovel prune ’em to the big rose heaven in the sky. I used to be a big softy, dig up under performers in prime real estate gardens and put them in a holding garden called rose purgatory to give them a second chance to perform.

Cherry Parfait Grandiflora Rose, Gagasgarden
Cherry Parfait Grandiflora Rose, Gagasgarden

My mother, rosarian extraordinaire once stood over a rose and declared “bloom or burn.” Well then. Romance is most often associated with a rose garden because the rewards are so great for our efforts. In one blog post alone I mention wine, minosas and mint juleps.I planted a spindly oak tree in the Plano, TX  home I built in 1989. When it grew to be a mighty oak I carved out a flag stone path, hauled a beautiful stained elegant petite French style stone table under it and imagined myself sipping a mint julep under the old oak tree gazing upon shades of floribunda white iceberg petals wafting cinnamon-y fragrance toward me in the evening breeze after I had collapsed from exhaustion from working in the roses all day in the Texas heat.

Stone Table in Illinois Sans Might Oak
Stone Table in Illinois Sans Might Oak

I envisioned dappled light sparkling off blood red floribunda Europeana. After carefully researching the perfect mint julep recipe printed right before The Kentucky Derby in the Wall Street Journal made in a sterling cup with shaved ice, the finest Kentucky bourban and a perfect sprig of mint; I found I don’t like mint juleps. I couldn’t choke it down, not even in the sterling cup with shaved ice. Good thing Big Daddy does not share my aversion to bourban. I digress. I like the oak tree, the roses, the stone path, the shaved ice, the sterling cup and sitting in a summer breeze enjoying all the fruits of my labor. I especially like good company and a lovely beverage, maybe a mimosa or a little chardonnay, or iced tea and shaved ice with lemon. The planning for the new rose bed continues. It’s a good thing I read a lot of mysteries because I had to be a detective to locate a rose supplier in this area. I went through the Landscape and Nursery Association of Greater St. Louis and determined that Effinger’s Garden Center in Belleville, Illinois had the  Week’s Roses varieties I was looking for. The first new rose bed will be all floribundas. I am planning floribundas because they are showy with lots of colorful flowers. This garden is along a side walk facing east and does get 6-8 hours of full sun. I plan on varieties that are no more than about three feet tall. I hope to be able to locate Cherry Parfait, Iceberg, Black Cherry, just to name a few.

Black Cherry, Floribunda Rose Gagasgarden
Black Cherry, Floribunda Rose Gagasgarden

I will publish the list as soon as I complete the plan. I located the supplier by calling a nursery in St. Louis. and she said many nurseries are cutting back and just selling knock-outs because of lack of demand by the public for hybrid teas due to the care they think is associated with hybrid roses. I am very sorry to hear this. She then referred me to Diane Bruekman in Baldwin, Il  who worked at the Saint Louis Botanic Gardens and now sells roses to the local rose societies. Diane and I had a long discussion and I am looking forward to receiving her list of roses. Of course there’s always mail order for bare root roses like Edmunds Roses in Oregon and they are a wonderful supplier. I just like to go to a local supplier when I can. I love to visit nurseries and landscape centers in the spring don’t you? Northhaven Gardens in Dallas, TX publishes their rose list and here it is. Northhaven Gardens 2012 RoseList Dallas, Texas. This is my idea of good times.

So folks, my son Michael says I end abruptly but “The show doesn’t go on because it’s ready; it goes on because it’s 11:30″    —-Lorne Michaels, creator of Saturday Night Live



13 thoughts on “On Becoming A Rose Sommelier”

  1. What a lovely take on rose growing expertise. And I love the props you gave Chris, one of my favorite rose growers (even if I do get jealous about what he can grow that I can’t up here in Zone 5b!).

    1. Hi Patricia,
      Thank-you for your kind and thoughtful comments. Chris is such a great support and so committed to perpetuated rose growing, he is a gem. I look forward to you being a frequent visitor. I’m in 5a now so we shall see as well.;)
      Yours truly,

    1. Dear Cydney,
      Thank-you for your lovely comment. I hope you will be a frequent visitor. Rosie wishes are always welcome. I look forward to visiting Rose Metals
      Yours Truly,

    1. Hi Christina,
      I can’t imagine how you accomplish all that you do. Thank-you for taking the time to read and comment.
      Warmest regards,

  2. What, you don’t like mint juleps?! It’s my excuse for using up the mint, well mojitos work too! My grandmother was great with roses, as was my mother. I myself have been a ramblin rose, moving a lot so have now only settled down to try my hand with the prickly plants. You have given me some lovely ideas.

    1. Hi Pamela,
      I love the thought of Mint Juleps! I love the sterling cup, the shaved ice, sipping them under the old oak tree, its the Kentucky bourbon I seem to have a problem with. I even want to go to the Kentucky Derby and try one with a very expensive hat on my head. So glad you visited. I love your site. I tried to log in but WordPress wouldn’t seem to acknowledge my password and let me like the link you send me, Downton Abbey or Sherlock. Please be a frequent visitor.

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