Friday, 20 January 2012

Crazy Love: Marble and Roses

Rosa 'Crown Princess Margareta' in June at David Austin Rose Gardens, Shropshire, England UK Photographer: Ron Evans

This week I have been tackling the finishing stages of a long overdue kitchen reno. We started a year ago, ridding ourselves, FINALLY, of the horrible 70"s cupboards and hunter green laminate countertop. The wonderful deal making details will be presented in another post.

In my garage, sitting woefully in a corner since last December has been 30 sq. ft. of the most beautiful Carrera tumbled marble. If you are at all familiar with my Pinterest boards, you would have noticed that I have a penchant for the all things white...not a practical choice for a family of nine, living in 1600 sf, that contains at least three rather messy cooks -  but there you have it.  Life is short, and that means we should all throw caution to the wind sometimes and choose the impractical option just because it makes us gleefully happy.

And so I have chosen white marble for my backsplash....because it makes me gleefully happy. 

My love for natural stone in landscapes seems to have logically transferred into similar choices for interior designs...marble, slate, travertine all speak to me in ways that ceramics do not. They have a voice, a depth, a vibration if you will... an organic something that whispers of history and earthly wonders.

But I digress.

I started on Monday getting the backsplash ready to tile in my kitchen. In between, when forced to let things set, or dry, or when I was just plain tired, I filled in my minutes by playing on Pinterest. An addictive hobby this, especially in the cold months of winter when there is little to look at outside. I came across the glorious photo above of the David Austin rose...isn't she just lucsiously beautiful. 

Like Carrera marble, roses, especially the old english varieties and the David Austins, make me giddy inside. I am drawn to them like a moth to a flame. I could analyse and say it is the wonderful crinkled textures of the petals, the feminine unfolding like the petticoats of a ballerina, the divine fragrance that floats up from the garden on warm summer days. It is all of that and more.

Roses, though, are the little prima donnas of the gardening world. If, like me, you enjoy sustainability and work to improve drought tolerance and disease resistance naturally, then these gals are not for you, no matter how pretty they are. It is not a logical choice to have roses in my garden due to the lack of soil, and the aforementioned limestone substrate.

I just can't help myself.
Graham Thomas

One of the most widely grown and best loved English Roses.
‘Graham Thomas’ has been voted the World’s Favourite Rose by the World Federation of Rose Societies (WFRS) which represents over 100,000 rose lovers in 41 member countries. The award was announced at the 2009 World Rose Convention in Vancouver, when the rose was inducted into the society’s ‘Rose Hall of Fame’.

It has cupped flowers of medium size; their colour being an unusually rich and pure yellow that would be hard to match even among modern Hybrid Teas. The growth is upright but bushy and very vigorous, with shiny, pale green, disease-resistant leaves. It is an excellent rose, both in beauty and performance.

There is a fresh Tea Rose fragrance, with a cool violet character typical of its colour group.

Named for the late Graham Stuart Thomas, who was one of the most influential rosarians of our time.
4 ft. x 4 ft.

I have three Graham Thomas rose bushes at the moment that have managed to survive with fairly little attention. They are mulched with rich compost and I amend the soil with seaweed, manure and coir.  I am also experimenting with companion plants like yarrow, garlic, white geranium, nasturtium...all used for their bug repelling properties and ability to influence the surrounding soil. 

Interesting is that I have noticed that the rose bush with Nepeta "Walkers Low" planted nearby seems to have less insect problems than the others. The minty scented foliage must be helping, though this is certainly not a scientific observation.

I would love to hear about your rose success stories and about any "magic bullets" you might have discovered.

Until then, I must go grout my tile...and go back to longing over Pinterest photos while it dries. I hope you too will take a risk, and choose to do something today that is outrageously impractical - just because it makes you gleefully happy!


  1. Dear Brenda - thank you so much for your kind comment on my blog. I'm sorry, that I'm only blogging in danish. My english is not bery good. Therefor it would take me to long time to write in english.

    I'm also a great fan of Austin Roses and love the orange ones. I have a fairly big hot border with a lot of these roses. Look forward to come back to your blog. Thank you for putting me on your blogroll. I will put you one mine.

    Kindest regards from Claus

  2. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. The new cabinets are great, all the details are so lovely. I'm a fan of the warmth of the marble. So beautiful.
    white marble tile