Springtime arrives! Roses, Berries and Vines…

It’s so exciting watching the new gardens come to life!

Roses First

I brought seven roses from our Longmont gardens. Apothecary, Francesca, Rose de Rescht, Angel Face, Ebb Tide, Lyda Rose, and Rosa Glauca.  Most had only been planted in the ground for one season.  Two were still in pots.  Believe me, if mature roses were easy to dig up, I would have brought a few more.  The Rosa Glauca got to come along as I took a successful root division from the main plant.  So thankful.

Apothecary's RoseThe Apothecary Rose (Rosa gallica officinalis) is a very old rose dating back to the 1300’s. The leaves, flowers and hips of this rose are nutritive and medicinal. The dried petals hold their wonderful old rose fragrance for many months. One of my very favorite roses to infuse in honey. This rose reaches 3-4′ tall x 4-5′ wide.  Zone 4.

RosaGlaucaJune2015-2Rosa glauca is a charming species rose with small, perfect, single flowers that bloom all along it’s arching stems – up to 6′ tall. The bluish foliage is beautifully tinged with shades of lavender. Very unique and hardy.  Produces small hips and has lovely fall color.  Such a graceful and lovable rose.  Zone 5.

AngelFaceOct14Angel Face and Ebb Tide are two of my favorite lavender and purple roses.  Each one is exceptionally and intoxicatingly fragrant.  Each rose blooms repeatedly through the summer, and into Fall.  The photo of Angel Face, left, was taken in October on my birthday!  While many lavender roses are quite soft and easily damaged, Angel Face has sturdy petals that are almost rubbery in texture.

EbbTide2015JuneThese roses grow to about 4′ in height by 2-3′ in width, although if they were very well nourished and received lots of sun, they could grow larger.

Zone 5.  Love!


Rose de Rescht - purchased at Harlequin's Gardens in Boulder.

Rose de Rescht – purchased at Harlequin’s Gardens in Boulder.

Rose de Rescht has also proven to be a fragrant, robust and dependable rose that repeats generously through summer and into fall. It’s a beautiful deep magenta rose – the flowers are perfect, small and dense, and very very fragrant. One of my favorites for distilling into Rose hydrosol.  This is a very productive rose when happy.  Grows 3′ x 3-4′.   Zone 5.

FrancescaOh, Francesca! Now growing in a southern exposure in good garden soil that we amended with rabbit manure, horse manure, compost, glacial rock dust and mycorrhizal innoculant. I have a thing for apricot roses, and this one reaches 5 x 5, has a strong honeysuckle fragrance, and blooms continuously all season. 

Rosa Rugosa Rubra, Rosa Rugosa Alba, Jude the Obscure, and Apricot Impressionist are the four newest additions to my gardens.

RosaRugosa2015Rugosas are robust and vigorous roses, Zone 3.  Both Rubra and Alba are exceptionally fragrant, and both produce large, tasty and nutritious rose hips after blooming and reblooming all summer.  Thorny, yes, so plant away from walkways.  And the Rugosas do NOT like chemical fertilizer of any kind, making them perfect for the organic garden.  Durable, large and resistant to most pests, I placed these roses in full sun in the front yard where passers by will be able to enjoy the fragrance.  Dimensions are 6-7′ tall x 4-5′ wide.  Zone 3.

New Roses

Jude the Obscure is an apricot rose, also exceptionally fragrant, continually
blooming and reaching 4-5′ tall. I’ve read so much about it’s amazing fragrance, and when I learned that it blooms continuously, I had to give it a go.  It will be new for me this year, so I don’t have a photo.  Same for Apricot Impressionist, which can be grown as a tall shrub or climber, is also exceptionally fragrant, and blooms continuously all season.

Be Patient.  Spring is definitely coming!

I tried to rush things in my haste to start planting my front gardens, and asked to have these four new roses shipped in March. I thought they would arrive in a dormant, or semi-dormant state, but instead they were completely leafed out. The cold March we had knocked them back… I was so mad at myself! It’s hard to be patient.  Let me say right here that it is way WAY better to hold off and plant once the weather warms.  So if you find yourself ordering plants or heading out to the garden with your tomato seedlings before your last frost date, go jump on a rebounder, make a salad or bake something instead!  Patience is a virtue, especially in the garden.

That said, everything is recovering nicely, and ALL of the roses, even the very small ones that I brought with me, are showing new growth.  More roses coming later!  Oh snap!


I first learned about Honeyberries (aka edible Blue Honeysuckle)  from the One Green World catalog.  Great reading.  Their web site is informative, too.  I just love leafing through the printed catalog.  They really know their stuff when it comes to flowering and fruiting shrubs, trees and vines.

Honeyberries thrive in Canada (originally hailing from Siberia), and are labeled as Zone 3.  The berries are similar in color and size to blueberries, but are elongated instead of round, and, unlike blueberries, don’t require being planted into a bale of peat moss to grow here in Colorado.  Highly nutritious and desirable for eating, we ordered three – two for fruiting, one for pollinating.  Super durable, early blooming, highly nutritious, adaptable to various soils and sun exposures AND delicious.  Fine in partial or even full shade.  Can burn in afternoon sun, so a morning exposure is best where summers are hot.

So our three Honeyberry bushes came with us.  Turns out that they are the most adorable little shrubs – even in March, and were covered with blooms starting in late March and early April (re: zone 3).  They don’t mind the cold and snow one tiny bit!  Right now, on a snowy May 1, they are incredibly leafy and vigorous.  It probably feels downright balmy to them!  I hope that some tiny pollinators found their way into the flowers, as they did last year, and we should have some tasty, blueberry-like berries in a few months.

We grew Goji Berries at our old location, and did not bring them along because they had grown to such an enormous size in one year.   Fortunately we were able to get a rooted cutting from a friend, and will start again – this time giving that bad boy a lot of space!
Zone 5.

Coming soon will be Elderberry, Hawthorn and Raspberry.  So thankful for the large back lot at our new location. We will be installing gardens one by one, and implementing permaculture strategies to channel both rainwater and greywater (from the shower and washing machine) into the garden beds.


SchisandraFlowersI am really excited about Schisandra chinensis. Finally this amazing  and durable plant that has been living in a large pot for 3 years will have a permanent place to vine and flower. The plant prefers a partially shaded exposure, while the vines climb upward (8 – 10′) toward the sun. I have the perfect place for it!  We may only have to wait one more year for berries.  Sweet.  Well, it’s actually a “five-flavor” berry in the Chinese Medicine tradition (sweet, sour, salty, bitter and pungent).  Schisandra is an adaptogenic herb that supports longevity and vitality.  Having anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, Schisandra is considered one of the most protective of all medicinal plants.  And it’s going to be growing in my garden!  Also known as Chinese Magnolia Vine.  Zone 4.

CodonopsisFlowersEchinaceaCodonopsis will also be gracing my garden.  A charming vine whose roots are often referred to as “Poor Man’s Ginseng.”  Eventually I will have to try some of the amazing recipes I’ve come across…  But for a few years, I will simply enjoy watching this lovely vine grow and bloom with its charming, bell-shaped flowers.  Zone 5. 

PassifloraLgtPassiflora?  Of course! This vine will be located in one of the back gardens – those areas reserved for the more vigorous, more substantial plants.  Cannot wait to see it  blooming on the fence.  This one is Passiflora incarnata, and has proven to be very hardy and vigorous here in Colorado.

I got my first Passiflora from One Green World.  It arrived on a trellis, in bud and bloom!  I thought I had to baby it along, so planted it in a large clay pot and sat it in full sun in the garden next to the trellis.  It did twine and bloom for much of that summer, and in the Fall when we tried to carry the plant into the house, the roots had grown out the bottom of the pot and into the garden below.  The rest is history, as we discovered the following spring.  In mid to late May, Passiflora incarnata returns each year, sending up new shoots – sometimes in random places.  Guess that’s why it’s often referred to as “Maypop.”  Passiflora is one of my all time favorite nervine herbs.  Fragrant, exotic and easy to grow if you have the space for it.   Very vigorous and generous plant.  Use leaf, stems and flowers when in bloom to tincture or dry for tea. Zone 5.  

Of course I’m very thankful for all the herbs that made the transition to the new location. Giant Cowslip, Wood Betony, Skullcap, Ajuga, Echinaceas, Mugwort, Arnica, Thyme, Geranium, St. John’s Wort, Yerba Mansa, Oregano, Mints and Penstemons, welcome to your new home! We’re still trying to figure out how Chickweed followed us here.  I think it likes us.  More on these and other herbs later.

Blessings to You and Your Gardens,


About Sarah Wadleigh

I am a Clinical Herbalist, Organic Gardener and Nutritional Consultant for people and companion animals. I live in Madrid, New Mexico with my wonderful husband, two little dogs and a big cat. My practice revolves around helping people create health through whole-food nutrition, nutritive herbs, lifestyle and self-awareness. With more than 20 years of experience as an animal nutritional counselor, I offer consultations to improve the health and well-being of our four-legged friends, as well as their humans. We can work together via Skype, in person,or over the phone. Let's create health for ourselves and our animal companions! Contact: sarah@summersunherbals.com
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