Tag Archives: Abraham Darby Rose

Glimpses of Our Late May Garden

ChivesSpring 2016 in the Shenandoah Valley has been especially challenging for farmers and gardeners. Crazy warmth in March lured plants out to be zapped by inevitable frosts and May has been the coldest, wettest I can recall until these past few days. We swung from having the furnace on in this old farm-house to sweltering heat. Not easy on people or plants. Still, there is much beauty in the garden, captured by daughter Elise.

“A garden is always a series of losses set against a few triumphs, like life itself.” ~May Sarton

Chives and (Chives and poppies)

We mix herbs with flowers and vegetables. A wonderful meld. Wildflowers are also a favorite in the garden, like wild aster and Queen Anne’s Lace, plus, plus. Some were planted by birds and the wind, others from seed or stock we purchased. There are those who might refer to these as ‘weeds.’

Poppies 2(California Poppies)

Of course, we have the garden cat, also called the Apothecary Cat or Apothecarist. I decided our garden is a physic or apothecary garden because it has many medicinal plants, which includes some of the so-called ‘weeds’, thus justifying its less than perfect state (according to suburbia, anyway, which, thank God, we don’t live in). Elise suggested kitty be called the Apothecarist (one who dispenses medicines and herbal cures). Kitty doesn’t do that, but it’s a great name. Before this, he was known as one of the triplets.

Garden cat

Apothecarist Cat

The Apothecarist Cat

This spring we’re making pathways with cardboard boxes covered in straw, using my Amazon box collection. I save those boxes religiously. The straw we gleaned from the barn. Pathways are a work in progress. Below is a pic of me against a patch of sweet alyssum we’ve planted in drifts in many sections of the garden. It’s just beginning to bloom. We are using alyssum as a ground cover and to attract beneficial insects and honey bees.

The gardener at work

It is utterly forbidden to be half-hearted about gardening. You have got to love your garden whether you like it or not. ~W.C. Sellar & R.J. Yeatman, Garden Rubbish, 1936

My box/straw pathway, next to the potato patch. The sticks mark the many little herbs and flowers we’ve added to keep them from getting stepped on. How glorious it will be when this is all lush and blooming. I’m smashing potato bugs.

Laying a path in garden

Salad Garden(Salad Patch)

Peony by Elise(This Peony has been here forever, since my Mother-in-law’s time and possibly farther back than that. The house was built in the 1870’s.)


In the kitchen window, I have several pots of cyclamen. These remind me of my late sister-in-law, Catarina. A cyclamen was the last plant she ever gave me. She loved flowers. I grow cyclamens in remembrance of her, and I often think of her. I ordered this pink one last year from Jackson & Perkins to commemorate her passing. The next month, J&P sent me a second identical plant. So I have two thriving cyclamens. Thank you whoever sent this. I inquired, but no one at the company seemed to know why it came at no charge. Maybe Catarina didn’t trust me to keep the first one alive. Admittedly, the cyclamen she gave me didn’t make it, but this is the same color, and I’ve learned more about their care now.

One of life’s mysteries. The garden is full of surprises.

Some roses didn’t survive the plummeting temps this winter, but Abraham Darby did. My favorite rose.


***All images by Elise Trissel.

The hum of bees is the voice of the garden. ~Elizabeth Lawrence

“Gardening requires lots of water — most of it in the form of perspiration.” ~Lou Erickson~ This quote repeated in my mind while I weeded this afternoon. The sun came out after cold rainy days and the meadow shone like a green jewel in the glorious light. All was bright and beautiful.

blue iris and poppies

(Image taken by my mom)

“Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes.” ~ And a lot of herbs, flowers, wild flowers, vegetables, and weeds.  Many of my plants were sown by the birds, or carried in by the wind. My goal is to have a garden for butterflies, bees, birds, and people to enjoy. The cats like it too.

“The best place to seek God is in a garden. You can dig for him there.” ~George Bernard Shaw


I’ve spotted this little warbler in the back garden. They migrate through in the spring and fall, wish they’d stay. I purchased this image because none of us are fast enough to capture him ourselves.

In every gardener there is a child who believes in The Seed Fairy. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com

No matter how many seeds we have, it’s never enough. I count my wealth in seeds and just ordered some more. Seeds are filled with promise of the magic to come. The garden is magical. I believe in seed fairies too.

“In my garden there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful.” ~Abram L. Urban

The garden uplifts my spirits and is a perfect place to dream lovely dreams.

“It is good to be alone in a garden at dawn or dark so that all its shy presences may haunt you and possess you in a reverie of suspended thought.” ~James Douglas,Down Shoe Lane

June Roses Abraham Darby

(My favorite rose, Abraham Darby, by daughter Elise)

blue phlox spring blooming

(Native blue phlox.  Image by Elise)

“Weather means more when you have a garden. There’s nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans.” ~Marcelene Cox

“It is a golden maxim to cultivate the garden for the nose, and the eyes will take care of themselves.” ~Robert Louis Stevenson

“Gardens are a form of autobiography.” ~Sydney Eddison, Horticulture magazine, August/September 1993


(Owl Cat in the garden. Image by my hubby)

“Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity.” ~Lindley Karstens, noproblemgarden.com

Salad garden.

(Salad Garden. Image by Elise)

“You can bury a lot of troubles digging in the dirt.” ~Author Unknown

“The garden is the poor man’s apothecary.” ~German Proverb

“No two gardens are the same. No two days are the same in one garden.” ~Hugh Johnson

“But he who dares not grasp the thorn Should never crave the rose.” ~Anne Brontë

beautiful pink roses“The rose speaks of love silently, in a language known only to the heart.”

*Roses from my garden

“You are responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose.”  Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.  ~Emma Goldman

To be overcome by the fragrance of flowers is a delectable form of defeat.  ~Beverly Nichols

bright apricot roses“A single rose can be my garden…a single friend, my world.” ~Leo Buscaglia

“Perfumes are the feelings of flowers.”

~Heinrich HeineThe Hartz Journey

“Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed.” ~Walt Whitman

“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.” ~Claude Monet

rose“Love is like the wild rose-briar; Friendship like the holly-tree. The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms, but which will bloom most constantly?” ― Emily BrontëThe Complete Poems

“A profusion of pink roses bending ragged in the rain speaks to me of all gentleness and its enduring.”  ~The Collected Later Poems of William Carlos Williams

‘”People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.” ~Iris MurdochA Fairly Honourable Defeat

Abraham Darby Rose by David Austen“But he that dares not grasp the thorn Should never crave the rose.”~Anne Bronte

“And she was fair as is the rose in May.” ~ Geoffrey Chaucer

“They are not long, the days of wine and roses. Out of a misty dream, our path emerges for a while, then closes, within a dream.”  ― Ernest DowsonThe Poems and Prose of Ernest Dowson

A Fragrant Connection to The Past Through Herbs&Heirloom Flowers

Being passionate about the past, I relish a connection to those who’ve gone before us.  I’m fascinated with history and love old homes, historic sites, all that ties us to the richness of bygone ages. Intrigued with herbal lore, I often use it in my writing.

Herbs influenced every facet of life in pre-modern times and have changed little over the centuries. When I hold an aromatic sprig of rosemary in my hand, I’m touching the same plant beloved by the ancients. Some heirloom roses hail from the glory days of Rome.

To further that sense of oneness, and for their many uses, I grow a variety of herbs.  I suppose they’re most well known for their flavorful addition to many foods, herbal teas…Parsley, basil, sage, chives and dill are several in my kitchen garden.  Lavender and scented geraniums, to name a few, are wonderful for their scent alone.

Ladies once wafted the delicate perfume of toilet water.  Porcelain bowls filled with colorful potpourri scented musty parlors.  Medicinal herbs comprised the bulk of ones health needs and still do for some individuals.  Not to mention all the herbs in supplements and medicines today.  I knock back Oregamax and herbal tea to build up my immunity.  Plus, plus.

Then there’s the mostly forgotten language of flowers.  Herbs were tucked into nosegays not only for their beauty and fragrance but their significance…such as rosemary, the herb of remembrance.  A sprig of thyme symbolized courage.  Violas, also called ‘heartsease,’ were used in love potions.  And so on.

Before taking the leap into novel writing, I had a modest herb business.  I also gave talks on herbal lore to local groups much as Julia Maury did in my light paranormal romance Somewhere My Love.  And I was active in the garden club, but found it too much on top of all my writing groups.  I was also one of the only members in that club who actually did her own landscaping, such as it is, and got down and dirty.  It doesn’t impress me to tour your yard and be shown what the landscape designer and his or her staff has put in for you.  Get out the shovels and enlist your family.  Make your yard and garden a homegrown project.

My younger daughter is Elise is a huge help to me now, but she’s been by my side in the garden since infancy.  Now the grandbabies are coming along to ‘help.’

Speaking of family support, with the assistance of my long suffering mother, I used to grow herbs & flowers for making dried wreaths and potpourri to be sold in the fall.  Herbal and heirloom flower seedlings were raised in the small greenhouse my hubby built me and sold in the spring.  However, any profits were swiftly overrun by subsequent visits to the allergist whom I’ve seen regularly for years now and still get four shots at a crack.  Seems I developed every allergy latent within me by exposure to all these pollens.

*Note, If you’re allergic to ragweed, avoid an herb called Sweet Annie and the Artemisia family.  But I’m considered to rank in the top ten percent of allergy sufferers in the nation, so what are the odds of that?

After being run indoors and my gardening severely curtailed, I took up writing and have used my love of plants in my novels.  I’m still an avid gardener, though with shots, meds, and limits.

“Loveliest  of lovely things are they,
On earth, that soonest pass away.
The rose that lives its little hour
Is prized beyond the sculpted flower.”
~William Cullen Bryant

*My favorite rose, Abraham Darby, by English breeder David Austin.  Picture by my daughter Elise.  I highly recommend David Austin roses.  He combines the best of the old world fragrance, form, and durability with the repeat bloom of modern cultivars.

“The perfume of roses are like exquisite chords of music composed of many odor notes harmoniously blended.”
~ N F Miller

For more on my work please visit my website at: www.bethtrissel.com

David Austen’s Magnificent Roses

Abraham Darby, my favorite David Austen rose, picture by my daughter Elise

“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.”
~ Claude Monet

Beauty inspires my own word paintings.

English breeder David Austen’s roses are exquisite.
To quote his website: “After fifty years of intensive breeding, David Austin’s English Roses combine the forms and fragrances of old roses with the repeat flowering of modern roses. They are very easy to grow, healthy and reliable.”

I struggle to raise the traditional hybrid teas which are not as well suited to our sometimes bitter winters and more demanding in general. Austen roses have far more vigor and I love the way he combines the old look and fragrance with repeat bloom. I have a small collection and am slowly adding.
His website and rose catalogue draw you into a wonderfully inviting world of fragrance and satiny petals in a glorious array of hues.


For more on my work please visit: http://www.bethtrissel.com/