Monday, 23 December 2013

Californian Adventure part 2.....

Continuing with my visit to California, the next stop was Sacramento Historic Cemetery. Here I was taken under the wing of Anita Clevenger who is the manager / curator of the rose garden which is within the cemetery. The rose garden section of the cemetery covers about 3 acres and has been in place for well over a decade. It started when Fred Boutin with the help and planning of Barbara Oliva planted a collection of heritage roses on empty or unmarked plots, now the number has significantly increased to nearly 500.

A great deal of the roses in here are 'found' specimens as there's nothing that these guys like more than a good old bit of rose rustling! For those of you who aren't familiar with this practice I should explain that "rose rustling" involves you going to search out old roses and hopefully bring back some cuttings or suckers. I should also say gaining permission from the land/plant owner is always advisable.  Particularly in the USA this is quite a big past time for old rose enthusiasts, whole teams of them will drive for many hours to an old cemetery, old town, farm house or similar and look for these most coveted of plants.

One morning at the cemetery Anita held a pruning class which was open to the public, and seeing as I'm keen to learn this was the perfect opportunity to watch a Master Gardener give a demonstration. I found it interesting and reassuring to see that what Anita was teaching is very much the same as what we do at Mottisfont. I was also really pleased to see that they also use pegging down as a method of growing roses, although instead of tying the canes to a peg in the ground, they attach fishing weights to end of a cane. Very ingenious.

Above is Anita in full flow during the demonstration, please don't be fooled by the sunshine because it was absolutely freezing that morning! 


  1. Looks amazing! Happy New Year Jonny!
    Nicky H & Sorrell

  2. Happy New Year Jonny!
    You're obviously having a great time and we're enjoying following you around.
    Buggy Derek