A photo of cut yellow and pink roses laying in a bunch.

Roses from Rose Lane

This May, Rose Lane is part of “In Our Own Back Yards” at the Hall County Master Gardeners biennial Garden Walk. Rick and I have been busy, but our garden would not be what it is without the hands of many Hall County Master Gardeners volunteers and others who have contributed since we moved here in 2008.

Our gardens are never the same year to year or month to month. New elements, including our working greenhouse and Rose Cottage – not a she-shed, please – complement our river-rock dry creek beds, nearly two dozen raised beds for vegetables and flowers, space for berries, figs and pears plus blooming trees and shrubs that include native and Encore azaleas, five kinds of hydrangeas, multiple cultivars of camellias and whatever else I simply can’t resist on regular trips to nurseries and plant sales.

Fortunate enough to find three acres in Flowery Branch, we started transplanting trees and shrubs here about the same time we broke ground in 2007. To the frustration of my landscape-design friends, we had no plan, but somehow Rose Lane, named for my mother Rosa, has morphed into a plant-filled mosaic of colors all year long.

From two small gardens with 20 hybrid tea roses our current count is more than 80 bushes in raised beds equipped with drip irrigation. We keep reducing the size of our lawn to keep expanding not only the rose beds but also our food gardens.

Rick grows Clemson okra that reaches 8-feet, at least a half-dozen types of peppers, plus green beans, squash, cucumbers and a few other summer crops.

I can’t get enough tomatoes, mostly heirlooms, started from seed for the most part and including this year’s excellent performing All American Selections ‘Purple Zebra,’ the large red-and-yellow striped ‘Solar Flare’ and my favorite ‘Midnight Snack’ black-and-red tasty cherry. Our driveway and just about every other sunny spot in our yard will be lined with grow-bags to maximize production.

This year I’ll probably have at least a dozen different varieties, probably more. We’ve learned to pick them right when they start turning color. This minimizes bird and squirrel damage. We also water our grow bags every day, first thing in the morning, using drip irrigation or old-fashioned hand watering to keep the funguses at bay.

As if you couldn’t tell, Rose Lane is my happy place, well one of my happy places, and we love to share it with others. It’s an organized mess, but it’s our mess that rewards us 365 days a year – 366 each Leap Year – with blooms, food and respite.

Hope to see you at all of the gardens featured on the Hall County Master Gardener Garden Walk on May 18!


Garden Walk showcases Hall’s best landscapes

Hall County’s best gardens and landscapes will be on full display on Saturday, May 18, and it’s only $15 per person ($20 at the event) for a day of stunning beauty.

“For the garden owners, the work began years ago, and in the past six months, they’ve been adding flourishes and details for ‘In Our Own Back Yards,’ our members’ biennial garden showcase,” said Carol Sowers, chair of this year’s Hall County Master Gardeners Garden Walk. “Attendees will be in for a treat to see these beautiful gardens because of their diversity and the ideas they can adapt in their own home landscapes.”

Five private gardens and a public space are on the tour; exact addresses will be listed on the tickets. The landscapes range from garden whimsey featuring dragons and operating trains to bird- and pollinator-friendly spaces, a teaching garden, a wildflower meadow, a shade garden and a moss lawn. They’ll demonstrate companion plantings, problem-solving techniques and new ways to plant.

Master Gardeners will be on hand to give gardening advice and answer questions.

For information and to purchase tickets, visit https://www.hallcountymggardenwalk.com. In-person tickets are available during business hours at the Hall County Extension Office, 734 Crescent Drive, Suite 300, Gainesville, GA 30501.

Photo: by Pamela A. Keene