Harvesting seeds

Today I’ve started with an experiment and harvested my very first rose seeds. This week I’ve collected a few ripe hips from the moss rose ‘Général Kléber’ and the gallica rose ‘La Belle Sultane’. I have never ever sown roses from seed, but I thought it would be nice to give it a try. I’m especially curious about possible seedlings from the moss rose. Who knows, maybe one of them will be a new moss rose.

When I opened the hips to harvest the seeds, I was suprised about the size of the seeds. I don’t know why, but I always imagened that they would be much smaller (a bit like tomato seeds), but actually the seeds are quite large and easy to handle. Next, I cleaned the seeds by placing them between a folded, wet scrubby sponge and rub the sponge together with the seeds.  After that  they where put on a wet paper towel, and next in a plastic bag. Now the seeds remain for at least eight weeks in the refrigerator. Hopefully in a few months I can post updates about the progress.

hip La Belle Sultane

hip La Belle Sultane

seeds La Belle Sultane (before cleaning)

seeds La Belle Sultane (before cleaning)

seeds Général Kléber (before cleaning)

seeds Général Kléber (before cleaning)

seeds Général Kléber (after cleaning)

seeds Général Kléber (after cleaning)


seeds La Belle Sultane

More moss roses

Although space is limited in my garden, this week I again ordered some more new (old) roses to expand my collection of moss roses. From Germany I will be receiving: ‘Précoce’, ‘Blanche Double’ and ‘Mme Clémence Beauregard’. In the Netherlands more roses from rose nursery De Bierkreek are heading  my way. They are: ‘Lucie Duplessis‘, ‘Marie de Blois’, ‘Mme Édouard Ory’, ‘Pelisson’, ‘Soupert et Notting’, ‘Zoë’ and ‘Centifolia Muscosa’. My collection of moss roses is starting to grow rapidly, but is sadly not nearly as large as I would like. I need more planting ground :)


Précoce (picture taken at the Rosarium Sangerhausen in June 2013)

Rose hips

Summer has gone fast and autumn is allready halfway. The last few months I haven’t done much work in the garden and I feel that my roses are being somewhat neglected! There are new roses in pot still waiting to be planted out and some of the older rosebushes need a light autumn pruning to prevent the longer branches from being damaged by strong autumn winds. There are stil a few roses in flower, such as the Austin roses, but last month I was pleasantly surprised to see the very first flowers in R. moschata, Felicia and Bon Chance, which were planted in January of this year.

William Shakespeare 2000-2_bewerkt-1

William Shakespeare 2000

Bonne Chance-3_bewerkt-1

Bon Chance (Mike’s Old Fashioned Pink)

But autumn does also have some good qualities: the old roses are showing their colored hips. The gallica La Belle Sultane has beautiful flowers, but probably even more beautiful hips, as are the hips of Géneral Kléber.

2013-08-24 Fru Dagmar Hastrup (2)

Fru Dagmar Hastrup

2013-09-08 Gallica Officinalis (4)

Gallica Officinalis

2013-09-08 General Kleber (5)

Géneral Kléber

2013-09-08 La Belle Sultane (9)

La Belle Sultane

Quatre Saisons-4_bewerkt-1

Quatre Saisons

Smelling roses

August was a very good month for the roses; lots of sun and warm weather. My summer holiday couldn’t have been more perfect. After a long dry spell there were finally some rainy days, so I was able to plant the roses that I had bought in June in the rosarium at Sangerhausen.
I was also very lucky to be allowed to spend some time at the rose nursery De Bierkreek and ‘help’ with the counting of the roses. I’m learning more about fragrances and I had two nice days walking through the rose fields trying to describe the different rose fragrances. As a bonus I received three more of my favorite moss roses: Lady Moss, White Moss and Chapeau de Napoleon. Working with roses can be lots of fun!

2011-07-07 7 juli De Bierkreek (1)

rosefields De Bierkreek

On july 11 the rose trials of The Hague were held and for three years I’m on behalf of the Dutch Rose Society one of the fragrance judges. My first rose trial was a wonderful experience and it has been a truly perfect day. As an experiment we had an extra evening trial last Thursday in the park, but after doing our rounds, we could only decide that fragrance testing of roses in the evening is not very usefull. At 8 o’clock in the evening there is little fragrance to detect. So next year probably only the fragrance trials in the morning and in the daytime.

kopie Rozenkeuringen Den Haag 007

Westbroekpark The Hague


June has been very busy but also very wonderful. My trip to the Europa rosarium Sangerhausen was like a dream that came through! Walking through the old roses which where in full bloom, was like being in heaven. I have never seen so many of the old roses, let alone see them full of fragrant and beautiful flowers. Even 10 days where not enough to see all the roses and I certainly will visit this rosarium in future many more times. Also the International Heritage Rose Conference, which was held during my stay in Sangerhausen was a great experience and it was wonderful to meet so many old rose lovers from all over the world. Most of the lectures were very interesting, but I really liked the lecture about the history of Sangerhausen. When I have time I will write more about this.

I never had imagined that there are still so many moss roses in culture these days; I thought that most had disappeared, but in Sangerhausen there are still some 130 different moss roses planted in the rosarium. Thanks to the conference and new connections a plan has developed, together with Harald Enders from Germany, for a book about these beautiful roses, and we already made a start with the preliminary work.

In the shop near the rosarium I had to buy of course some roses and there I found a few rare roses that are only planted in the rosarium; from a dear friend I also received cuttings from some of his roses and on the way back there was just enough place in my car to take them all home. I still haven’t found time to plant these new roses in my garden, so they all wait happily together in my front garden at home, where I can enjoy them all day. The ‘new’ roses are: Valence Dubois, Alba var. vineticola (H. Braun), Rosa nanothamnus, Gallicia officinalis x Étoile de Hollande (by Lens; this rose will be named Étoile Pourpre) and White Bath. From my dear friend Andreas I received cuttings from Centifolia a fleur double violettes, Gloire de France, Carnea plena and Aimable Amie.

Also I was able to buy some new books about roses, which of course includes the “Rosenverzeichnis” from Sangerhausen, a beautiful book with pictures from Pinhas: “Die rosensamlung von  Wilhelmshöhe” and I was lucky to find a copy of the book from August Jäger “Rosenlexikon”. I’m thinking of making a page on my website with all the books I already have about roses. A small library!


Roses of Hex


Impératrice Josephine

Rosa Centifolia Muscosa Centifolia Crimson Moss

This weekend I had a wonderful time at the Festival of rare plants, roses & kitchen gardens of Hex in Belgium. Every year, on the second weekend of June the gardens are open to the public. Nurseries specialised in old and botanical roses, as well as collectors and breeders of rare plants put their best products for sale. I was very heartilly welcomed by the people of the rose nursery De Bierkreek and I stayed there so long I almost could have joined them in selling the roses at their stand. After a short demonstration I also had the chance to cut my very first budwood. Who knows, maybe this year I will learn how to bud roses. A new summer job?

The only downside this weekend was that there were no roses in bloom to see. Because of the cold spring, nature is running a month behind in the season. The old roses looked very promising with lots of buds and I wish I could have stayed a few days longer to see all the different flowers when they finally open. Hopefully I can see flowers in many more old roses next week, when I am going to see the world’s largest collection of old roses in the rosarium at Sangerhausen in Germany.  There are more than 8000 different rose-cultivars and species.  Wild roses, historical roses, roses of the 20th century and modern, recently created roses make up the largest rose-collection in the world. A must see rosarium for every rose-lover! I will most certainly have lots of pictures to show and stories to tell on this blog when I return!

Impératrice Josephine

Impératrice Josephine


Quatre Saisons Blanc Mousseux

Quatre Saisons Blanc Mousseux

I love old roses for their flowers, fragrance and form, but there is a type of rose that is maybe even more beautiful without flowers and that is the moss rose. In this time of year the mossy beards are hard to resist and their resinous fragrance is irresistible, especially in spring, when there are few flowers to smell. In a few weeks the delicate flowers will appear, making a spectacular combination of scent, flowers and looks! Who can resist these roses?



William Lobb

William Lobb


Different shades in green



Last weekend I was taking pictures of the roses; it is still to cold for the time of year and it’s taking the roses a long time to start flowering. In some roses the buds are starting to look promising, but the waiting for the first flowers to appear is difficult. By taking pictures of the flower buds I discovered that there are many shades of green (and red) in the new growth. Also the sepals of some flower buds are truly beautiful to see, such as the long sepals of the Agatha rose.

More new roses

This thursday I received a nice surprise by post: two new roses from the rose nursery De Bierkreek. They are Hybrid Alba roses bred by the German rose breeder Rolf Sievers, one dark red named Crimson Blush and one white-pink named Morning Blush. Until today I had never heard of recent Hybrid Albas or of Rolf Sievers, but the information I have found on HMF makes me want to learn more about these new roses.  I am very glad to now be the owner of these special roses and can’t wait to see the first blooms. I was searching for different climbing roses to replace the Bourbon roses Zéphirin Drouhin, which were growing against a rose arch. Now that I grow more old roses I have found out that Bourbon roses are not truly my favorite sort of roses (except maybe Souvenir de la Malmaison) and therefore I must make difficult choices and only keep the roses that I really like and also are very special or rare.

So yesterday I started to dig out the two old roses and plant the two new Alba roses. Easier said than done of course, but after one hour of hard work the two roses were out of the ground. One of the roses I have taken home with me to plant out in a different place. (It is always difficult to throw away a nice rose). Although the new Alba Roses are not exactly in the same place as the Bourbon roses, I’ve used lots of rootgrow just to be sure that the new roses have a good start. The rose arch is now again very bare, but hopefully the roses like their new place and grow energetic.


Roses are starting to bud

This Sunday we finally had the first warm day of the year and I was testing my digital camera with macro lens to take photos of the first buds. Here a close-op of Fru Dagmar Hastrup with her ferocious prickly stems (as a true Rugosa should have). All the roses are starting to bud (some more than others), and it is a hopeful beginning. I hope soon to post more photos of my roses in full bloom.

Fru Dagmar Hastrup

Fru Dagmar Hastrup