A Rose is a Rose is a Rose

Gertrude Stein said “A Rose is a Rose is a Rose”  and for the first time in 100 years in literature, roses were red. Meaning in our terms today “It is what it is” but sometimes something can catch you off guard.  Like purple roses that smell like heaven. Heading out to my garden yesterday I noticed my sterling rose-bush just wasn’t blooming as abundantly as usual.  I needed one single blossom which I did end up finding for this small gift I was making.  I also grabbed the last of the hydrangea.  It’s a very simple project and the sterling rose is a perfect choice with its incredible scent and unique color.

Begin by soaking a block of floral foam in water with 1/2 tsp. bleach and 1 tbsp. floral food or sugar.

Floral Foam

Soak floral foam for 15 minutes

Next gather your small terra-cotta pot and flowers. One hydrangea large enough to cover the opening of the pot and 1-3 roses depending on your pot size.  I chose one.

Flowers and Container

Flowers and Container

Cut a piece of the foam to fit snugly into the container. Next cut the stem of the hydrangea so that at least 1/2″ of its stem is inserted into the foam.   The roses are next. Make a slanted cut making sure the rose bud will sit above the hydrangea but the stem will also be inserted 1/2″ inch into the foam as well. Do this for each rose you are using and then cluster them in the middle of the hydrangea.  You may also add a small bow if you like near the outer edge.  I eventually added a black and white checked bow to mine.

Hydrangea Pot

Hydrangea Rose Pot


August is generally a slow month in the garden, but here is something you can do with your roses that will pay back tenfold over the next few months

The Fertilizer Program  from Orchard Nursery.
Applied only twice a year In February and again in August.
The amount given is for 1 rose. You can proportionately mix a larger amount of the ingredients in a wheelbarrow and apply at a rate of 11⁄2 cups per rose.
16-16-16 ——————————–1⁄2 cup
Bone Meal ——————————1⁄2 cup
FST, Iron Plus** or Iron Sulfate* —–1⁄2 cup
Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom Salts) — 2 Tbs
Sprinkle these four ingredients around each rose and mix into soil as well as possible. Then spread 1 shovelful of Chicken Manure around each rose and water in. For roses in containers, use 1⁄2 the amounts listed and add a 3rd fertilizing in May. *Note: Products containing Iron can stain—be sure to wash off adjacent paving after application. **Considered a “non-staining” iron.

Gloxinia Care



Gloxinia are very similar to African Violets except that in the Winter they require a period of rest.  During blooming season make sure you feed weekly and you will be rewarded with a prolific number of blooms up to 3″ in size.  When blooming has finished, cut back watering by half and when the leaves have died back dig up the small tuber.  Trim the remaining leaves, wash in tepid water, dry and store in a plastic bag in a cool dark area until Spring.  You will begin to see new growth at that time and you will know it is time to replant! Nowadays Gloxinas only hold their vigor 2-3 years so don’t be surprised if this only works a couple of times or plant stops blooming. Also, I live in a part of the San Francisco Bay Area where my friends and I have actually had luck leaving them in the ground over the Winter months due to our mild weather and it worked out here.