4/25/09

Russian River Rose Company

I've been following garden writer Alice Joyce on Twitter, @BayAreaTendrils. From there I found her blog where she recently wrote about the Russian River Rose Company in Sonoma County wine country, an hour north of San Francisco.

Russian River Roses is a mom-and-pop rose grower. They started out selling tomatoes and cucumbers at farmer's markets, until one day they brought some cut roses from their garden to sell, and sold out right away. A lot people were selling tomatoes and cucumbers, but noone was selling cut roses. Soon, the vegetable garden became a rose garden.

In addition to growing roses they also distill their own rose oil and make rose water. They invite the public to participate in that experience during weekend workshops in April and May. You can get details about that, and all their roses, on their website. We just visited today because we were curious to see the rose garden itself which is also open to the public only in April and May.

As they have no money for advertising, I am doing my part to help get the word out. Workshops are a good deal, ranging in price from $10-$50, refreshments included. It's apparently not too late to register for workshops this April and May.

Without further ado, let's get to the gardens, which circle the house.

Note: In some cases I named the roses pictured. If I did, the name should appear when you mouse over the picture.

www.russian-river-rose.com

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www.russian-river-rose.com

www.russian-river-rose.com

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www.russian-river-rose.com

'Bloomfield Courage' rambler, 1925

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'Crepescule' noisette 1904

'Crepescule' noisette 1904

'Pinkie' climbing polyantha, 1952

'Smiles' floribunda 1937

I did not follow the self-guided tour, but I took pictures of a few signs.

Tour Stop 1a

Tour Stop 9

Tour Stop 14a

Tour Stop 14b

Vineyards surround the rose garden. I took a few pictures of grapes too.

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What I know about growing grapes could fit into a very thin volume.

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Miles of northern California look like this now. Well, they have for decades.

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Some of the older vines remind me of the bonsai garden in Gorst.

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Getting back to the roses...

www.russian-river-rose.com

I suppose if you're on the fence and you still need another reason to come here it might help to learn they sell the roses they grow. I'm sure you know many of these very old varieties are not widely available in northern California nurseries. Here's you're chance if you live here.

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I believe the website catalogs the extensive inventory of what's for sale.

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In addition to roses, they sell many plant materials for butterfly gardens and a lot of bearded irises, including this one, 'Hello Darkness' which photographed purple but in real life was very nearly black.

'Hello Darkness'

This rose 'Butterscotch' intrigued me, but I need to research these things first

Butterscotch

Their website would seem to indicate that 'Oklahoma' is their most/best fragrant rose so I was eager to encounter it when I came here. I wanted to compare it with 'Jude the Obscure', the rose I consider to have the most/best fragrance.

'Oklahoma', hybrid tea, 1964

When it comes to roses, I am less than a novice. But if you want my opinion, 'Oklahoma' was nice, but it's no 'Jude the Obscure'.

Here's the rose water set-up. I smelled the sample bottle and it was quite amazing and hard to describe. What came immediately to mind was "a bowl of very ripe, tropical fruit". That's a poor description, but that's what I came up with.

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That little sign on the left says, "Just a few drops of rose water transforms Champaign to delicious heights." I think they mean Champagne, but I'm sure the college town in Illinois would also be improved with a few drops of rose water.

Speaking of Illinois, why don't we end with this thought from that state's other notable US President:

www.russian-river-rose.com

You gotta love that good-old Midwestern common sense.

8 comments:

Christopher C. NC said...

So very tempting. Having recently pruned about 20 roses for Client #3, I can say it wasn't so bad and if I had worn gloves even better, but I am just so not into to being stabbed in the garden. That just means I won't have a huge rose collection. And no barberries, nasty little shrubs.

gardenerprogress/Catherine said...

It looks beautiful there. I love all those climbers, especially the first one, the dark pink and white. I sure wish I could go for a visit.

Alice Joyce said...

Most kind of you to mention BayAreaTendrils. And delighted you were able to enjoy the beauty of RRRose Co. and help to spread the word!
(Another blogger just posted on Jan and Mike's gardens, but she chose not to acknowledge my blog as the impetus for her visit.)

Les said...

Like you I know little about growing grapes, but I have had more than a little experience drinking the results.

Bonnie Story said...

Hi - I still can't believe that you were right in Gorst, of all places... Anyway, have you taken the tram tour at Benziger Winery, in Glen Ellen? You'd really like it. The gardens are really stunning and the views are too. They do everything the biodynamic way, the grapes and everything. Worth checking out, and so photogenic. Cheers! Bonnie

chuck b. said...

Hi Bonnie, I haven't been to Glen Ellen since I was a little kid, but I'll put Benziger Winery on my to-do list. I've been wanting to visit Quarryhill Botanical Garden there too.

Hi Les, From what I understand there are just two main ways of growing grapes. But so many, many ways to drink the result.

Hi Alice, I'm sorry your blog got snubbed. Some people are just rude that way, and sometimes they take awhile to catch on to how things are done. Thank you for the tip--we really enjoyed ourselves.

Hi Catherine, I was a little surprised how much I liked 'Bloomfield Courage'. Generally I like my roses to be one color. So much for generalities.

Hi Christopher, I don't like to get stabbed either. Or poked, or pricked, or stung, or jabbed, or cut, etc. I don't imagine I'll ever have a huge rose collection either. I think *just enough* would be *about right* for me.

CiNdEe said...

What a beautiful tour! I can almost smell those roses blooming!
Love the Abe Lincoln saying(-:
CiNdEeS' GaRdEn

lisa said...

Yet another place I want to visit in California! Their gardens are amazing, though I must admit that I've never liked rose water, but I bet freshly-made would change my mind.