Last year I shared some tips on heirloom roses for your garden, noting they are less trouble, less maintenance, vigorous growers, produce beautiful hued blooms and come in plentiful shapes, sizes, fragrances, and hues.

We included this article as part of our monthly eNewsletter (sign up here!), and I was touched to get a beautiful response from Holtkamp Heating & Air customer Harvey Flamholtz.

Harvey’s late wife, Cathy, was a rose lover with two basic premises:

1. If they don’t have a fragrance, they might as well be plastic.

2. I’m not going to spend all my time pampering them. If they’re so fragile that they die, they die.

Since her passing, Harvey admits their back yard has become somewhat overgrown, since most of what Cathy planted were climbers and he didn’t have the knowledge or inclination to prune them.

An Invitation

Despite their “wilder” condition, Harvey knew I would be delighted by the dozens of roses and other plant species throughout their back yard, and I happily accepted his invitation for a visit.

Cathy’s hard work definitely didn’t disappoint! At every turn, there were new colors, new shapes and new scents of heirloom and other roses.

Cathy became a big fan of the David Austin roses, which are a modern version of the antique roses in appearance and fragrance, with a hardy, re-blooming nature.

Harvey joked that Cathy was a “rose rustler”, and they always kept gardening tools and paper grocery bags in their car. With her eagle eye, she’d spot heirloom roses at abandoned properties and tell Harvey to stop the car!

That’s the source of many of their roses, but others were mail ordered or purchased at local nurseries. (See my favorite place to order heirloom roses.)

Each spring, the blooms fill Harvey’s yard with beautiful sights and smells and he reflects on many wonderful memories of working together with Cathy in the garden on their roses and other blooming plants.

Harvey says that he knows Heaven must smell like wysteria, gardenias, and hyacinth. One day Harvey will surely enjoy those glorious scents with Cathy once again…

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