Hi, Laurie, when I first discovered your blog (more than a few years ago now) I was delighted to find someone even more head over heels in love with roses than I was. I enjoyed reading your advice about cultivation and varieties and I couldn’t get enough of your rose photos. Can you share a bit about how you fell in love with roses?
Yes, of course! When I was about 8 years old, we moved to San Diego and rented a house that had a ginormous Climbing 'Cécille Brunner' which really made an impression on me. I think if you've ever seen that rose in it's glory, you understand why I still remember it. At that house, my mom, who is also an avid gardener, planted a bunch of Hybrid Teas in wine barrels and that was my favorite place to while away the day, amongst all those roses. I still recall some of the ones she grew, such as 'Heirloom' and 'Double Delight'. However, it wasn't until college that I started growing roses myself--my first purchase being a collection of miniatures from Jackson & Perkins that I grew in containers on the walkway outside my apartment door. Fast forward to 1996, my daughter and I were living in Pennsylvania and I finally had a garden of my own again. I planted a 'William Baffin' and a 'Zéphirine Drouhin' and my love for roses really took off, specifically for Old Garden Roses.
Do you have an absolute favorite variety of rose? If you only had space for one plant what would be your choice? Other than roses, what are some of your favorite flowers? Are there any flowers that you don’t like?
This is such a good question! Gosh, it's really difficult to pick a favorite rose, since they are all special to me for various reasons. I would say, though, that I am quite in love with 'Celsiana'. There is something truly magical about that old Damask and I am so relieved I was able to root a couple of cuttings from the one growing at our old house and bring with me here. Also, who doesn't love a David Austin? Sometimes I think I could only grow his roses and be perfectly content. Some of my other favorite flowers include: lavender, foxglove, anemone, poppy, clematis, viola, iris, campanula, martagon lily, dianthus, narcissus, lilac, peony, sweet pea, viburnum, and snake's head fritillary. As for a plant I don't really like? Hmmm, well I never got into the succulent/cacti craze but I can understand why others like them. I also tend to avoid flowers that look like they've been hybridized into oblivion and I really don't care for Celosia. Is that weird?
In your bio on your website you mention that you have a background in art. Can you share a bit more about that?
Growing up, I was really lucky to attend a performing arts school (yup, just like "Fame") which gave me a broad background in the arts. I didn't appreciate it as much at the time, but looking back I can say it was a really wonderful experience. However, when I went to college, I decided to major in Wildlife Biology because it felt like my true passion was in the study of nature, not art. However, in freshman year I took a chemistry class that discouraged me so much I ended up changing my major to something I felt more confident in--Art. Years later, I went back to college to get my teaching certificate and then taught 3rd grade for several years before switching to Art for K-5 students.
Your jewelry is so lovely. How did you come about becoming a jeweler? Do you have any advice for someone wanting to learn the art form?
That is so kind, thank you! My jewelry path was a bit twisty. I took some metalsmithing courses in college and really enjoyed myself, but after graduation, put away all my tools and didn't touch them again until about 5 years ago. I had to reteach myself some old skills, and then try and just figure out the rest. Back when I first started metalsmithing it was pretty unusual to meet anyone else that also practiced that art form. Nowadays, it seems like everyone owns a torch. This means that the market is pretty saturated and highly competitive, but the good news is, there are a lot of talented artists out there willing to share what they've learned. Blogs, forums, videos, social networking, these are all great ways to gain new skills and bounce ideas off of other metalsmiths.
You recently moved from Pennsylvania to North Carolina and have begun to renovate your new house and garden. I can certainly understand the overwhelm of so many projects and only a limited number of hours (and dollars) with which to accomplish them. Which projects have you been first to tackle and which are your next priorities? What have been your biggest challenges in your new place?
Phew, where to start. It was a challenge right off the bat because we were living in PA at the time and trying to buy a house in NC, a place we'd never even been. Apart from all that stress, we ended up buying a home that was built in the 1930's and, like anyone who has ever remodeled an older home will attest to, had a lot of tricks up her sleeve. Also, I'm a bit impatient when I have a vision of how I want something to look and wish it would come together faster. A lot of the work we've been doing is for boring stuff that you don't really see immediate benefits from, like, for example, we had some major overhauling to do in the garden clearing away brush, overgrown trees/shrubs, removing invasive plants and building a retaining wall. Yawn! Where's the fun stuff? When do I get to plant my roses? My biggest goal right now, in terms of the garden, is to get the hardscapes in place, and the soil built up to something decent as quickly as possible. As for the interiors of the house, we're trying to get it to the point where it feels more like home so we're going room by room, tackling what we can, whilst still living out of boxes and surrounded by construction supplies. It's been a real party, har har.
For people like you and me who get so much inspiration and joy from our gardens, winter can be difficult. What are some of your favorite ways to stay inspired when there are no flowers blooming outside?
Long winters, for a gardener, can feel like a unique form of torture. I try and busy myself with what I refer to as "potting shed work" which is basically all the nuts and bolts of gardening like updating records of the plants I grew and ordering seeds and supplies. The blog also helps keep me sane as I tend to write about summer during the winter months and since I started selling canvas prints, I spend time editing those photos which really immerses me in flowers. I also start some seeds as early as January (sweet peas) and usually have some forced bulbs in bloom. However, even with all those activities to keep me occupied, I still hated that in PA winter could last all the way through April, which is partly why we moved further south!
In 2014 you took a hiatus from your blog. What brought you back to blogging and what do you do to keep yourself engaged and inspired? What’s next on the horizon for Hedgerow Rose?
Honestly, every time I write a post these days I wonder if it will be my last. I think, for many bloggers who've been at it for a while, you just feel like you might have run out of things to say. The reason I came back to blogging after that last hiatus was because over that summer I had discovered a way to root roses that worked really well and I wanted to share that information with others. I guess the teacher in me is why I keep coming back; I am genuinely excited about roses and I just want to shout it from the rooftops! As for what's next, well, I recently closed my Etsy shop for good and built a shop on my HedgerowRose.com site instead. It's been a learning curve setting that up, but it feels so good to finally have everything under one roof--my jewelry, my photography, the whole kit and kaboodle. We're in the process of carving out some studio space for me in our spare bedroom and I can't wait to be able to sit down at my bench again and get back to creating!Thank you Laurie, for sharing your story with us!
Be sure to stop by Laurie's website where you can learn more about roses, watch a bit of her home and garden renovation, buy her lovely jewelry and art or just enjoy many, many beautiful photographs. Take a look at her Instagram feed, too (you won't be disappointed!).
Be sure not to miss the other posts in my Artists Series; they can be viewed here.
*All photography in this post is © Hedgerow Rose. Used with permission.