The Joy of Roses by guest blogger Nell Carroll!


I used to tell my husband not to get me dead flowers for Valentine’s Day. As long as I had somewhere to plant it, I wanted a live rose bush so I could enjoy the flowers every year. He remembered this request for a few years, maybe the years before he was my husband, then it fell by the wayside.

Don Juan Branch © Nell Carroll

I treat myself to roses these days. The antiques are the most maintenance free in theory. In my garden though, all the roses get similar attention, not much. Not exactly true. I do prune them and cut away the dead wood. I occasional put some seaweed or fish emulsion on them but I do not spray for fungus or baby them in anyway. Let all roses learn how to survive in my garden. Some have not, but most have.  The ones that did not thrive I tried moving. Sometimes that helped, other time not. I lost Graham Thomas to wet feet I suspect, but Chicago Peace likes the same spot.

Souvenir de Malmaison produced a multitude of blooms for several years while I ignored it. I finally had to prune it this year because I finally noticed all the dead wood. It does bloom all summer though.  We did have a drought last year, so I expected some problems.

Souvenir de Malmaison © Nell Carroll

Lafter is right next to Souvenir de Malmaison. It blooms later and has nasty thorns. Sort of a joke when you think about the light name and the killer thorns. I don’t laugh much when I get caught.  I battled Mrs. B.R.Cant a few weeks ago and still have the scar to prove it. She had gotten unruly. I could not mow under her and who knows what was living under her. I got out the elbow length rose gloves, pruning shears and saw. I suspect I butchered her but like a kid with a bad haircut, it’ll grow back. I’ll just be more careful next time and give her some shape.

Playboy © Nell Carroll

My Playboy lives up to his name and parties all spring. The blossoms change color as the mature. Starting with orange and changing to a pink. The butterfly or Mutabilis is similar but blooms whenever it rains, all summer long. I have three of these because they are such easy roses. I almost lost them to the drought too but they came back with gusto.

Unknown rose variety © Nell Carroll

I have some roses that I have long forgotten the name for. I picked them up at a discount store or got them on sale from a catalogue. I have a lovely lethal apricot climber that frames the garage. This guy grows insanely fast and I am constantly cutting it back so no one loses an eye. I used to have the rich red Mr. Lincoln but the grafted part died and the root stock pushed through. It is now a cute productive red rose that get many compliments in the Spring. It looks like it may be a climbing Blaze.

Chrysler and Dame de Couer © Nell Carroll

Over by my feed shed I have Chrysler and Dame de Couer. Both large deep red, scented roses. Unfortunately, Dame de Couer is too close to the fence and one of my horses thinks it quite tasty. Just the blossoms mind you. He ate a bloom and two buds last night. He got smacked.

Zephirine Drouhin © Nell Carroll

My rose that greets me at the front door is Zephirine Drouhin. A lovely pink, highly fragrant Spring bloomer. It is going to town now. I try to remember to inhale deeply whenever I use the front door. It is hidden behind a bossy oleander but stubbornly extends canes through the oleander as if to prove she can’t be stopped. I had this one at my front door when I lived in Virginia. I know I will always have one of these where ever I may live.

Bailey Red is in my front garden, in poor soil, surviving. I will likely give it a good dose of homemade compost this year. It is a single red with a yellow center. I bought it because one of my horses is named Bailey, not the rose eater.

Iceberg Climber © Nell Conley

The Iceberg climber and regular bush look lovely in the moonlight. They are whitest of white and glow at night. I have them tucked in different parts of the garden where I needed a bright spot. The climber blooms after the Lady Banks does her Spring show so I have them next to each other.

Iceburg © Nell Carroll

I hope you enjoyed meeting my family of roses. I feel slightly bad that I cannot remember names of all but they all bring me joy. I think I am sadly lacking in the yellow department, after all, shouldn’t everyone in Texas have a yellow rose?

by Nell Caroll.


Nell Carroll very aptly describes herself as a Photographer, professor, gardener, equestrian, photo editor, housewife and mom. I describe her as one to the best photo editors USA Today ever had. I first me her there in 1994 and learned a lot just from watching her work. She has a great eye and a passion for the photography world. To see some of her amazing still lifes visit her still life page . She also does great people photography, weddings and equestrian photography.

Nell Carroll

She divulges her amazing career on her website, “I always say that I moved to Texas because I am way to friendly for the East Coast, which is where I grew up.” she explains, “I also hated shoveling snow, no danger of that here. My career began in Binghamton, NY as a shooter for the only newspaper in town. I got hired at USA TODAY, as a photo editor, after 5 years of shooting in Binghamton. I realized I don’t have the drive to devote 100% of my life to shooting pictures so I became an editor. I left Washington DC to be a photo editor at Th Statesman in Austin. I have been there ever since. I teach a photojournalism class at the University of Texas. I have a big garden, 3 horses, 2 dogs, a cat, a husband and a son. Life is never dull”

Thank you Nell!  This is Nell’s third guest blog and it’s been a great joy to read them all!  I especially love the night time photographs!  Nice Nell! Please stop by her web site!  Also to see her other guest blogs visit them here!

‘Til Tomorrow… Britt

Related posts:

  1. Texas wildflowers by guest blogger Nell Carroll!
  2. The Antique Rose Emporium by photographer Nell Carroll.
  3. The Rise of the Spring Roses at Dumbarton Oaks
  4. A Taste of Biltmore’s Gardens by guest blogger Julia Schmalz
  5. Stunning Roses reside at Henry P. Leu Gardens




  1. Sheila

    Those are beautiful rose photos! I treat my roses the same way, either they make it or they don't. No time to baby them!

  2. Bren

    I love the way Nell captures the ART in flowers! Her work is amazing - Does she have a blog? I don't see one linked in her webpage.

  3. Britt

    Thanks Bren! She does not have a blog as yet, but I would be surprised to see one coming!

  4. Nell

    thanks Bren! I have a blog but I am not religious at keeping up with it.
    I really need to change the name. LOL much too long


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