Roses, Despite Fire and Clay

Today we’re in Redding, California, visiting with Carol Cowee.

Here’s how it started—bare ground that would become the new rose garden.

ground with holes dug for plantsThe soil was compacted, horrible red, rocky dirt. It took two men three hours to dig/chisel just 10 holes!

small rose garden in full bloomAll that hard work paid off. Here is the rose garden at three years old.

path leading to patio and arbor covering in climbing roseA huge climbing rose, ‘Mme Isaac Pereire’, grows up a huge arbor made of chain-link fence posts. ‘Mme Isaac Pereire’ is an old rose in the bourbon group with incredible fragrant flowers.

same path, patio, and arbor after a wildfireA wildfire in 2018 destroyed 170 roses and the house. It was heartbreaking to see those burnt stems, which had been covered with fragrant flowers.

small cactus covered in pink flowersBut there are survivors. Carol’s childhood wagon, made by her father, managed to survive the fire, and Carol found three baby cacti under the burned mother plants. Here is the cactus in full bloom; the little plant produced 35 blossoms.

tall red lily growing out of a small potA gorgeous, massive red lily (Lilium hybrid, Oriental group, Zones 4–9) is growing strong despite being in a small pot, and it blooms heavily in July when it’s 105°F daily.

bright red rose in a water globeA perfect rose is highlighted in a water bowl.


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