Home Blog A Rose Story Part 1: How I Came to Roses
May 22nd 2023

A Rose Story Part 1: How I Came to Roses

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This summer I had the most amazing opportunity to reconnect with Anne Belovich, a well-known and beloved rosarian who left her mark on so many. Anne lived a long and beautiful life and sadly passed away shortly after turning 97 this past fall.

I am so thankful to have gotten a chance to know her and am so inspired by how fully and generously she lived her life. 

Erin Benzakein harvesting rose in the Floret fieldThis story is a long one, so we decided to break it up into four parts. The first part is about how I came to know Anne and the creation of our rose garden.

The second part is about how we’re helping to preserve her extraordinary collection of roses and the process we used to propagate some of her rare treasures.

In the third part, I share more about our rose collection here on the farm and my sources for rare, hard-to-find varieties.

And the fourth part is a wonderful interview with Anne which will leave you in tears—she was one of the most inspiring women I’ve ever met. I hope you enjoy this series.

Rows of roses growing at Floret FarmI have been collecting rare, heirloom varieties of roses for nearly 20 years now. Shortly after we bought our house in the country, I went to work trying to transform our acre of perfectly manicured lawn into a wild, magical secret garden inspired by all of the English gardening books that I checked out at the library. 

Erin Benzakein reaches for a rose Erin Benzakein harvesting rosesA few years into my gardening journey, I became a full-fledged flower farmer and received my first grant to trial a wide range of roses that were known to have really great rose hips suitable for cutting. Some of the varieties were from here in the states, but many had to be imported from abroad, which was a very complicated, time-consuming, and expensive process. 

Our area USDA plant inspector connected me with a local rosarian who was very experienced when it came to the process of importing and she generously offered to walk me through all of the steps and show me her setup for quarantining plants once they arrived in the states. And that’s how I came to know Anne Belovich.

Pink roses growing wild Anne is somewhat of a legend in the rose world and has inspired so many with her passion and generous sharing. Her love of roses was contagious and while she came to gardening later in life (she grew her first rose at 60), she scoured the globe and amassed the largest collection of giant rambling roses in North America and ended up writing five books on the subject.

Erin Benzakein holding a handful of pink roses Closeup of a small bunch of pink rosesI’ll never forget the first time I visited her garden, which was like stepping into another world. Anne and her husband Max were such warm hosts and gave me an afternoon of their time, walking me through all of the beautiful gardens and dozens of arbors smothered in arching canes of roses that were just about to bloom.

Every time I thought we were at the end of the tour, we would turn a corner into another section of the garden brimming with varieties I had only read about in books. 

After that first visit, Anne gave me permission to come back as often as I wanted and I returned a couple more times that season to wander around and soak in all of the magic. It was an absolute sight to behold. 

I got so caught up with the farm and raising the kids and trying to keep my head above water that I lost touch with Anne, but every June when all the old roses would bloom in my garden, I would think of her and long to go back. 

Pallets of roses in front of Floret hoop housesPlanting rows of roses in the Floret fieldFast forward a dozen or so years and we finally had a larger piece of land to call our own. When we got the farm it was a blank slate of a field without any structure. It was hard to imagine what it could become, but one of the things I knew I wanted it to include was a rose garden—and to fill the farm with as many rare and heirloom varieties as I could possibly get my hands on.

So I went to work collecting plants from a wide range of nurseries and specialty growers across the country. In all, I gathered more than 250 individual varieties and nearly 1,000 plants. 

Planting rows of roses in the Floret field Planting rows of roses in the Floret fieldOnce I had all of the plants gathered, Becky Crowley (who came from England to help me design the farm) and I got to work mapping out where they would all go. In England, there are so many spectacular gardens to visit where you can draw inspiration from. But here on the West Coast, established gardens are few and far between, and finding any with old-fashioned roses is a rare treat. 

We spent a great deal of time at my favorite local nursery, Christianson’s, and the owners John and Toni were generous enough to let us tour their personal garden too. Both the nursery and their home garden were incredibly inspiring. It was during one of our conversations that Anne Belovich came up and I decided to reach out and see if we could pay her a visit. 

Roses growing wildMany years had passed since we last spoke, but Anne, now in her late 90s, was still just as wonderful as I had remembered.

While she didn’t have the energy to personally take us around the garden, her lovely family gave the ladies and me a tour and then turned us loose with our clippers and notebooks to cut as many roses as we possibly could. 

Team Floret visits Anne Belovich's rose gardensThe last time I visited, the extensive gardens and grounds were perfectly manicured. The beds were edged and mulched, the roses were trained to their beautiful arbors and arches, and the acres of lawn were freshly mowed.

But in the years since, Max had passed away and Anne was no longer able to keep up with the monumental task of maintaining the gardens alone. 

Roses climbing over arbors and fences Roses climbing over arbors and fencesWhile still a sight to behold, nature had crept in and the once-perfect garden had become wild. Roses were climbing high up into the trees, they had swallowed fences and small buildings and completely smothered their arbors.

At their feet, blackberries had taken hold and the two were competing for the same space.

Roses climbing over arbors and fences Closeup of roses growing wildAfter our tour, we were all absolutely overwhelmed by the wild beauty and the magnitude of Anne’s collection and couldn’t figure out where to even begin.

So we decided to head back home and get some rest, collect our thoughts, gather supplies, and return the next morning to get to work.

Team Floret visits Anne Belovich's rose gardens and tries to identify plantsAnne’s daughter-in-law, Teddie, gave us a copy of Anne’s 20+ page rose list that included every variety on the property and its rough location. The tricky thing was that the location names were Anne’s shorthand and we weren’t sure which part of the gardens they referred to and Anne couldn’t quite remember what was where.

We were able to locate plastic labels on a number of varieties but many had faded and were illegible or were brittle and crumbled in our hands. 

Team Floret visits Anne Belovich's rose gardens and tries to identify plants Team Floret visits Anne Belovich's rose gardens and tries to identify plantsSo we spent a couple of days trying to match the rose list to the varieties that did have labels and solve the mysteries through the process of elimination and a lot of Google searching.

We tried our best to ID and relabel as many of the roses as we possibly could, but there were still so many that remained a mystery.

Team Floret visits Anne Belovich's rose gardens and tries to identify plants Team Floret visits Anne Belovich's rose gardens and tries to identify plantsAerial photo of Anne Belovich's propertyOur little team was buzzing with excitement and everyone took a different part of the project.

Chris took photographs and drone footage of the property so we could try and establish landmarks and key spots while Becky sketched out all of the beds, fences, and structures noting each variety that we were able to identify to ultimately pair up with the photographs so we could create an actual map. 

Team Floret visits Anne Belovich's rose gardens and tries to identify plantsTeam Floret visits Anne Belovich's rose gardens and tries to identify plants Team Floret visits Anne Belovich's rose gardens and tries to identify plantsNina was on blackberry patrol and cut pathways through the brambles so we could get at the roses. Jill took labeling very seriously and got to the base of the plants by any means necessary.

Team Floret visits Anne Belovich's rose gardens and takes cuttingsAngela carefully bundled each variety and got them into water and into the shade of the van. I ran around like a crazy person taking hundreds of cuttings and trying to help ID all of the mysteries.

Team Floret visits Anne Belovich's rose gardensWe had to keep stopping and reminding each other to breathe because we were so freaking excited about the roses and still in shock that we were even allowed into this magical secret world that Anne had created. 

Team Floret visits Anne Belovich's rose gardens and tries to identify plants Team Floret visits Anne Belovich's rose gardens and tries to identify plants We returned three more times to gather as much cutting material as we could, but a record heatwave condensed the bloom window, which is usually about a month, into 10 short days. 

Team Floret visits Anne Belovich's rose gardens and tries to identify plantsTeam Floret visits Anne Belovich's rose gardensI’m still in awe of how much progress we made in such a short amount of time. In all, we gathered more than 1,000 cuttings from Anne’s roses in hopes of propagating them to grow at the farm and eventually to share some of the most rare varieties with others. 

Team Floret visits Anne Belovich's rose gardens Erin Benzakein takes a photo while visiting Anne Belovich's rose gardensIn the next post, I’ll share our process for propagating old roses through cuttings.

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  2. Diane Sullivan on

    I had to tear out all our roses because of the rose virus. Since it is carried by a mite in the soil I was told any roses I plant will get it. Other properties around us have the same problem..What do you do about it on your farm?

  3. Jeffrey Veilleux on

    When will you be sharing your roses with others or are they going to be for sale? I would love to grow some old world roses.

  4. Carina on

    What an opportunity! I can’t wait to see all the varieties you saved ID’d and flourishing on your farm.

  5. Linda Jewett on

    How amazing to see mature plantings and arching branches of blooms. These giants of the rose world deserve recognition. I am so happy you found your way to this project.

  6. Cheryl Jardine on

    Erin – so happy you reconnected and have taken on this work of continuing the legacy that Anne started. Looking forward to seeing and hearing more about this incredible variety of roses.

  7. Betsy Feiden on

    The secret garden… so much magic! ✨ 🦋 Everything happens for a reason. Anne and her roses 🌹 will live on eternally. As will the hard work and love of the Floret Team. 💕 One person can be a guardian for decades and then when the time is right… the gift is shared to to right individuals to bring the magic back to life!

  8. Jessica Marcus on

    What a tribute to such an inspiring gardener. It was meant to be! Thank you for your preservation work and continuing her legacy. ✨

  9. Cynthia on

    It does sound like a magical rose wonderland. Thank you for your work to preserve all these rare varieties and continue Anne’s Legacy. I wish her family could find a way to preserve her garden through grants or a foundation as a public park as they did Ohme Gardens in Eastern Washington.

  10. Angela Webster on

    Thanks for taking us along on this wonderful journey in roses. This has been a delightful story. And the pictures are great. I’m imagining what this garden looked like in all of it’s glory and hoping one day to have my our footprint like this in my garden.

  11. John on

    I had tears in my eyes as I read the full rose story . Loved it.

  12. Cici P on

    Beautiful story! Thank you for sharing it

  13. Kerry Xie on

    Love love love this story. I’m starting my rose garden as well hoping to have hedges of roses climbing across my yard.

  14. Anissa on

    Wow, what a really great thing you all did, Anne lives on with these glorious roses that you all have preserved. I’d say that’s any gardener’s dream, to live on in this way. To not only be recognized through her flowers but also the kindness she showed others. Which, in my mind, goes hand in hand.

  15. Thomas Hicks on

    Kindred Spirits. ♥
    I have been trying to source “florist” type spray rose bushes for a couple days.
    Then I remembered your Rose Story (awesome) and thought I’d revisit and leave a question in comments.

    Do you have any suggestions for small sweetheart/ spray variety roses?
    cream, blush, pinks…

    Thank You Floret Team

  16. Terri Naes on

    Amazing team with so much passion to help save the plants and the legacy!!!

  17. Sandra O'Connor on

    What a beautiful story and wonderful thing you and your team are doing for Anne’s legacy and sharing it all with us. You all are so kind and amazing!!!

  18. Jacquie Wierenga on

    Erin when I read and seen the photos of you and your “helpers” reviving the garden of Anne I pictured in my mind that Anne would be a Beatrix Potter, Thankyou for a glimpse of your beautiful life, I live on a farm with my husband and we have 3 of our 5 children hay farming with us, the 1 st spring of covid our 2nd oldest son and his wife gave me a greenhouse(8@12),& my husband sssembled and reinforced the framing to withstand our winters, and chinook winds, I have thoroughly enjoyed a full year of seasons trying different options of growing,& I am looking forward to receiving my flower seeds from floret and after reading your interview with Felicia I hope to get into roses too! My gardening has always focused on feeding my family which I will still continue to grow but at age 57 I’m expanding my gardens, we live in southern Alberta, Canada ( just north of the Montana border), looking forward to February’s class on growing flower seeds,& just purchased your 2 books

  19. Christina Orca on

    You’re one of a kind!! Please keep on keeping on!!

  20. Judith J Vasquez on

    What beautiful work you are doing on Anne’s legacy through her love of the Rose garden. I hope one day I can get a piece of her roses. Love the story!

  21. L E Schultz on

    Wonderful story! My mother loved roses.
    It’s wonderful there is a TEAM helping identify the rose varieties. It is so difficult to maintain a garden as one ages.
    I do find it very therapeutic to experience the wonder of plants and gardens. Until I no longer can do the work but one can always enjoy the beauty.

  22. Christi P Bunn on

    I would dearly love to try Lady of Shallot or Grace. I have never tried David Austin roses but have wanted to for years!

  23. Michelle on

    So thankful that you shared this story. -And that you got to have this experience. What perfect timing that you reconnected with her when you did. It had to make Anne proud, -and relieved, to know you were making wonderful use of her work and legacy. So looking forward to seeing your roses in the future. It would be pretty cool to see a map and video of Anne’s gardens. Thank you so much for being such a blessing.

  24. Grace on

    What a beautiful story. I’m in tears already. To have a small rose garden here is really hard, but knowing you have been collecting rare, heirloom varieties of roses is a blessing for me. I’m so ready to read the next story!

    Grace, Indonesia.

  25. Joanne on

    Woke up at 4:00 am seeding in my sleep (and in my dream I had seeded thousands of seeds in October not Jan. Feb. So I hit my to do list early here on Whidbey which included reading your blogs about Roses and Anne. I have begun to wonder how I can have some roses by the sea with the salt and find and my part time residency here (we have irrigation but water is a collective community well which we all respect and our portion is monitored and shared.. The wild roses grow well and now I see perhaps I will find suggestions within your research and Anne’s Books as well as other resources you have shared. I will be returning to Christensens for a shop and discussion as well. Thank you.

  26. Desiree on

    What a wonderful story and legacy! One of my favorite childhood memories is being told to go water the heirloom roses that were in the front yard of the 100-year-old property I was raised. (Didn’t have to watch my younger siblings!)

    This story gives me the inspiration to plant more heirloom roses in my backyard this spring.

  27. Mauricia on

    My goodness what a blessing and kindness from Ms Belovich… and to you for your dedication… I know what is to loose a rose garden. My was very small, but after many years later, my roses still in my heart.
    Also, thank you for sharing, there still this stigma that young people should engage in other endeavors rather then gardening or antique roses.. THANK YOU… You made it cool to love plants this way…

    And so ready to see and follow this tremendous project…thank you…

  28. JenniferG on

    Dear Erin, I’ve waited a day or so to comment because when I first read about your new venture, I got so excited I felt like I was going to burst! To read out about your great luck in re-connecting with Anne Belovich, your love of heirloom roses, and your introduction to Anne Belovich’s treasures filled me with such happiness, I was also close to tears (as others have said). Heirloom (antique, old, rare – however people describe them) roses are dear to my heart and I feel lucky to have been introduced, or rather pushed (hah!) into that world back when I lived/worked in Austin in the 1990s. It was then that I was introduced to the idea of “rose rustling” by Liz Druitt (of the older version of the Rose Emporium in TX). Since re-locating to Seattle and now being retired, it has been with such delight and elation to watch as your social media presence and your business/books/farm/seeds, etc. grew exponentially.

    To know of your wonderful rose collection and propagation efforts of Anne’s collection is a relief. Knowing that there will be more and more of these beauties for more of us to enjoy is wonderful beyond words. Huge kudos to you and your crew and the way you all carefully handled her roses, her legacy. And to think all that work took place around the time of our horrible heat wave in June!

    This effort reminds me of the existence of the National Collections in Britain. That there are people working on parts of Anne’s collection such as Chambersville Tree Farms, Claude Graves, the Amer. Rose Society, and you is magnificent.

    Also, thank you for your interview with Ms. Belovich, it was a great read. I would have never expected someone who sailed from New Zealand to become a rose grower, rose collector, and writer of rose books. Wow.

    I feel like there’s another wonderful, thorough, and beautiful book coming from you in the future. I look forward to your next posts about this along with all the other amazing things going on at Floret Farms.

  29. Frances Vortman on

    So very inspiring! God bless you and your team Erin – true earthly flower angels at work making this life more beautiful. ♥️

  30. Martie Kenitzer on

    This last year I found out my mentor passed away. It is amazing the gift a person can be in our lives. I say that because also my brother in law just choose to leave us and I know now more than ever how odd and broken one feels when someone who brightens your day is no longer going to. I learn about beautiful things from both these people in different ways. Joanne Wagner was one woman I wish you could have met Erin. She was a Wisconsin cheese head with a passion for fun and Joy and beauty. I met her after feeling a bit lost on my next path. She was a stranger sitting in a nail salon in South Dakota. I was getting my nails done and she asked me if I was getting married. I told her no, but I had been studying Wedding planning. At the time I had no idea what this light and honest conversation would lead to. After I got my nails done she told me to swing over to her place. It was outside of Rapid City. NO one could have prepared me for what this woman was about to show me. As I pulled in she told me that she had a job for me. Little did I know I was starting at a 40 by 100 wedding event tent with full kitchen and sparkling chandelier and twinkling lights. She that day made me a part of her wedding planner team and took me under her wing. This woman opened more doors in my life that I knew. Her property was full of beautiful flowers and she made me fall in love with living this way. I loved designing events and weddings. And when I moved on … this experience was life changing. She was a classy … tell it like it is woman. She was another mom or aunt in my heart. I will forever miss her and I thought of her as you put this together. It is a reminder to be light in peoples days and to take people under your wing and change lives. I believe that you are much like Joanne Wagner of Black Hills Receptions in Rapid City SD. I feel that many people are effected by you and your light is something people look forward to. God bless you and I hope your season is so beautiful.

  31. Nikie on

    Heavenly tale and the joy on y’all’s faces is priceless.

  32. Chrisdee on

    Absolutely stunning. I didn’t notice it being said, maybe out of privacy but is her garden local to Skagit? I know you said close by.

  33. Martie on

    One day I would love to see a rose garden like that. How beautiful. To a wonderful rose season 2022. Happy New Yeaer! PS: thanks for these wonderful reads. ;)- Martie

  34. Monica Goodrich on

    I love to see the determination of all of you to preserve the names of these roses. It looks like it was an overwhelming process but will be of such value when completed.

  35. Rachel Bowlen on

    When I was a young girl, my grandmother, Lula, had a beautiful rose bush which was her pride and joy. She cared for it like a child. On the day that she died, the rose bush was in full bloom but when she passed every petal on that rose bush fell off. There was not a petal left. The bush did survive for years after that.Every time I looked at it, I thought of my grandmother and her deep love for that rose. A haunting story. Still vivid to me 70 years later.

  36. Lisette Roozen Mast on

    I remember visiting Anne’s garden years ago when the plants were small and looked like “regular” roses. I had no idea at the time how big and rambling they would get. Anne walked me thru and generously gave me many hints on how best to grow roses. It is a cherished memory for sure.

  37. Vicki Sakioka on

    Oh my gosh what an incredible opportunity. Such an important undertaking. I pray all the starts you took flourish. I can’t wait to look up Annabelle’s books
    I wish this could have been filmed as part of the Floret series.
    Thank You for sharing!

  38. Mary Vono on

    Thank you for this uplifting story especially during these crazy times. What a legacy Anne left for the rest of us.

  39. Jolene McKenna on

    What a wonderful way to honor Anne and her caretaking nature that blossomed to include Roses when she was 60. I loved the story and pictures of people working together, laughing, loving, and sharing time with one another. Thank you. Jolene

  40. Mary Schlotter on

    This is magical. My mom Ann (Annabelle)just passed at the age of 97 two weeks ago. My love of flowers and growing came from my grandmother. I plant flowers in my garden to remember people by. Last year I started my first rose garden (3) I am so looking forward to reading more from your blog. Whilst I have to add an Annabelle hydrangea to my garden this spring I will be adding more roses for my mom.

  41. Sara Dwyer on

    What a privilege to be allowed into such a magical world, with snips! Amazing & inspiring what you & your team do Erin. Such a generous gift from Anne. Great to hear the ARS are replicating her garden so the roses won’t be lost.

  42. Kim Spears - Busy Bee Farm & Florals on

    This story series has completely warmed my heart. What an absolute treasure and legacy Anne has given, and I know you will do her proud. That photo of you with your roses at the very top of the post, stopped me in my tracks. Simply stunning!

  43. Brooke on

    I read this while half crying/half smiling…what a wonderful gift Anne entrusted to you! Can’t wait for the next chapter.

  44. Pam Smedley on

    First of all, Erin, you have impressed me by how fully and generously you live your life! You and your team inspire us everytime you share your passions and knowledge. This post touches my heart with how sweetly you’ve honored this lovely lady and the gift she’s left. I’m so excited to read each of your blogs! Thank you!

  45. Susan Tuzzolino on

    I’ve been trying to grow roses for years! Unfortunately the local deer know where I live and they use my garden at their gourmet restaurant complete with appetizers AND dessert!! I don’t have a fence around my urban corner lot (just a green fence) and so reading this, while it brings me great joy, also cause a bit of envy!! I’ve been following you for years (since you started on social media) and I’m in complete awe of what you have created! Brava! Brava! And thanks for sharing it with us all!

  46. Ruthann S. on

    Such a cool story!! I planted my first roses about 6 or 7 years ago when I was 17 or 18. I have 11 now which doesn’t seem like many, but I love them and want so many more!! Wish I could visit that rose garden!

  47. Twila Smucker on

    So fascinating! What a treasure trove! I planted my first roses here at about age 50 so I am excited about what I will have by the time I am 97!

  48. Lisa on

    I couldn’t be happier that her life’s work did not go to waste. You are amazing!

  49. Lynn m. on

    Ive been a rose lover for years and have several from heriloomroses. Im in Florida so roses are an uphill endeavor. The exchange is we get blooms almost all year. So excited for this series. Thank you!

  50. shelli krieg on

    This is amazing , I have learned gardening from my Mother and Mother in Law and I love Roses. I can not wait to read the rest of your rose series. I had over 30 rose bushes and climbing roses all bought at Christiansons Nursery but we recently moved and we have a lot of deer. so now I have to be creative. My dear girl friend suggested since our deck is so large to put some roses on the deck and that has worked beautifully.

  51. Lisa Edelhuber on

    I cannot tell you how excited this gets me!!! As a small child in my grandmother’s gardens, I absolutely LOVED what she called her sweetheart roses. I hope someday to be able to find a variety of that one. I’ve never seen it since.💞

  52. Charlene on

    Wow! What a wonderful experience! Anne sounds like a beautiful person! I love that she started this Journey of roses at the age of 60 as I started planting roses at 61. Maybe I have hope to have gorgeous roses like Anne!

  53. Jackie Caruso on

    What a feast for the eyes! I can’t imagine how wonderful and overwhelming it must have been to be there and soak in all the beauty and try and document everything at the same time. Thank God for people like Anne and you and your crew as well. I can’t wait for Part 2.

  54. Lisa German on

    What a beautiful story. So inspiring!
    Spring can’t get here soon enough now, so I can see me own beautiful roses in bloom.
    Plus I’m adding a new rose that Christensens propagated. “Royal Sunset”. So excited. Thank for this lovely story. Looking forward to the next one.

  55. Liza Swenn Martin on

    Hello, I own a home built in the 1790’s. We raise Shetland Sheep, a heritage breed, and grow Heirloom vegetables. I’ve always loved and grown roses, I’m now adding them to this property and got my love of them from my Mom who had many roses at our home. I’d like to plant many antique varieties here.

  56. Liz on

    Hi there! Love the post! Can you tell us the small white rose rambler in picture #17? It’s beautiful.

  57. Julie Mitchell on

    Hi, loving this article! I’m in Australia and have inherited some lovely old bush roses in my new home in the country. I’m not really sure how to prune, look after them in general, so would appreciate any tips in your future series. Love your dahlia stories too!

  58. Heidi A Klammer on

    I know how captivating old roses can be so it is a sheer miracle you got anything at all done. Bravo!!! Keep on cutting, identifying, photographing, propagating, restoring, weeding, watering, and saving as many of these treasures as you can. Thank you for doing all the work.

  59. Laurie Olson on

    Thank you so much for sharing this amazing story! So inspiring! I look forward to reading more.

  60. Carrie on

    What an absolutely beautiful place it must be! Kudos to you and your team! I love your show on Magnolia Network! Please make more episodes! The knowledge and beautiful photos you bring to the audience are
    Spectacular! I received your 3 books for my birthday and Christmas. I’ve just started reading one of them.

  61. Corina Sahlin on

    You guys are completely and utterly insane, and I LOVE you for it!!!!

  62. Lynn Swenson on

    What a wonderful story and a monumental effort to carry on the rose legacy ! Thankful your team is taking it on and passing it on to future generations of rose lovers.
    Bless you !

  63. Sandra Schumacher on

    This brought me to tears. I met Anne in ’98 when she gave a present at the Seattle Rose Society where I was a member. Later I took my NW Perennial Alliance satellite group to her place for tours, as well as other smaller groups. Such a remarkable woman. I believe she was a retired biologist and had designed their retirement home and managed its construction. She did such a good job that she was in demand to manage similar projects for other people. How fortunate for us that they chose Skagit Valley when she and Max left California.

  64. Kelly Ann McCall Anderson on

    What a blessing that you all had that precious time with her. I could imagine Erin and Becky soul-connecting with the roses and imagine the team’s giddy excitement.
    Certainly, believe that you all are the “called ones” who will share her story and legacy, be the voices of the roses, and even write your own chapters to carry it on.
    Tears of happiness.

  65. Deb Gatz on

    What a beautiful story that keeps on going! I’m looking forward to reading the rest of it and seeing any pictures Chris takes. I live on a small piece of property with so many trees we are mostly in shade. I struggle to keep my one (ONE) rose climber looking decent. Thank you that I can vicariously enjoy rose growth through you.
    In response to Marianne Ravenna on Sanibel Island (such a beautiful place!), and her difficulty growing roses – Leu Gardens in Orlando (I know, the other side of the state) is in growing zone 9b and they have a gorgeous display of roses. Some are from cuttings from the 18th century, if I’m not mistaken. Maybe Marianne could reach out to them for suggestions?

  66. Mary Mitchell Turner on

    What an amazing resource. Thank goodness you are able to reclaim and ultimately share some of the wonders of this garden treasure trove. What an amazing rosarian she must have been. Thank you for sharing.

  67. Lita D Batho on

    This brought to mind an old family estate I visited on a greek island, where the generation old plants- wisteria, fruit trees and flowering shrubs- had gone wild and the gardener had lost her eyesight and lived in a house on the property with memories of more manicured times. What an amazing opportunity and special place; I’m glad you were able to work to preserve the roses, and work of Anne Belovich.

  68. Mabel on

    What a dream to not just visit a Garden as such, but to actually get the privilege to meet it’s owners and their wealth of Rose knowledge. Can’t wait to see those beauties in the hands of more avid Rose Gardeners/Collectors in the future.

  69. A Canadian “beginner” rose lover on

    I’m tearing up already after reading the first post! I can only imagine how inspiring, beautiful, overwhelming and amazing this entire process must have been.

  70. Debi on

    Thank you for sharing this story and helping to ensure her legacy lives on! I have always loved roses and dreamed of having a large rose garden. Unfortunately I selected a home with a lot of shade. After reading this post I am inspired to find a few spots for roses

  71. Candace L Northrop on

    This is like a fairy tale! I am captivated by your dedication to carry on Anne’s legacy, and continue the tradition of growing rare and heirloom roses.

  72. Mary Ellen Howard on

    Oh, what a DREAM to be able to wander and search and just be in awe of all of these old roses! I am wishing I could have met Anne, to learn from her and just listen to her speak of her love of these roses. You are blessed to have the opportunity to do this — and THANK YOU for doing it, too, so that we may some day be able to grow some of these treasures in our gardens! What a treasure to keep her legacy alive. Thank you, Erin and team!

  73. Josie on

    There is no comparison to picking a rose fresh from the garden with the petals sprinkled with morning dew drops! You have met some incredible p.eople along your journey, it’s amazing how we are graced with the gift of gardening friends. The winters don’t seem so harsh when we can look ahead into the next season for visions of hope, and what more fitting than a rose to brighten a crisp cold day!
    Thank you for sharing your story

  74. Karen Flores on

    I also love old roses and have some amazing f ones but this has motivated me to add way more to my space !

  75. Christina Cole on

    It feels like fate this post showed up in front of me. I have followed you for several years but felt very overwhelmed with the many types of flowers you grow. I decided this winter I was going to start my own rose farm. I’m 41 and feel a bit behind in age to get started but I was almost in tears when I read that Anne was 60 when she grew her first rose. That gave me the confidence I needed that it’s never to late to follow your dreams!! Thanks so much Erin!! I cannot wait to read the other 3 parts!!

  76. Wendy Freer on

    The first part of this story is already wonderful and exciting. So thankful for your website and you sharing the story with all of us. Also so great that you, your team and the American Rose Society are keeping Anne’s rose’s alive.

  77. Susan Massar on

    What a lovely story and a treat for a gray winter month…You and your team are amazing and everyone is so blessed that you have such interest in preserving all the wonderful flowers past and present . The amount of time and work you have dedicated makes me wonder if you ever sleep …LOL Can’t wait to read the next post. I am sure Anne is smiling down from heaven and Thankful that her life’s work is being saved.

  78. Shari on

    I am so encouraged by your articles. I finally retired and moved to central Kentucky and am starting my gardens all over. I am not a hybrid tea rose lover, but I do love old roses and have had some luck with them. Looking forward to the next 3 parts of this. Thank you and the team for saving those roses! There is a magic in the beauty and smell of them that cannot be replicated.

  79. Sydney A Hall-Richards on

    Erin, you can grow almost anything and these roses are just so beautiful. Wishing you, your family and business to bloom the same way. Thank you for your inspiration.

  80. Autumn on

    So magical and what a wonderful opportunity to be able to collect such rare treasures. I hope one day to have a small plot of land covered in the flowers of my dreams! Thank you for always inspiring my dream to live on

  81. Patricia Verdoorn on

    This story is so inspiring – Thank you for your passion and sharing your journey. Much appreciated. 💜💜

  82. Marcella Kammerer- Kammerer Heritage Farm on

    This brings tears to my eyes. Tears of deep happiness. So many rare collections and beautiful gardens are lost do to the inability to maintain them. Its sad that a persons lifelong work is forgotten and eventually plowed over unknowingly. Wouldn’t it be nice if this happened more often. I bet there are so many people who would have offered their assistance in any way, in this project. I know I would have. ( : These rare species must be conserved and not lost. I wonder if a type of society or private organization could form and have a some kind of system that people could submit an application of important gardens that may be in need of indexing and preserving. Wouldn’t hat be amazing! The opportunities and satisfaction would be out of this world !!!!! Thank you for sharing this story.

  83. Joeda Lanquist on

    This story reminds me of my Sweet Grandma and my just as Sweet German Great-Grandma that loved all of nature. I must have gotten my love of flowers and critters from them. I think of them often when I am working in my garden. Thanks Erin for caring so much about Ms. Anne’s beautiful garden and helping to keep it living on for ever.

  84. Kerry Jochim on

    Oh my gosh the story of Anne touched my soul, starting at 60? It’s not too late for me to start my flower journey and do great things!! Thank you!

  85. Gloria Wilder on

    Such an exciting endeavor to share with others who cherish and appreciate beautiful roses from former gardens. Here in OH there is a gentleman who grows thousands of old roses. My friend and I visit each Summer to collect our newly propagated roses that we’ve selected the previous Summer after combing through his rose paradise. Wouldn’t it be fun if more people exchanged cuttings of their treasures…?

  86. Renae on

    Everyone has a story to share. Thank you for sharing yours. It is amazing.

  87. Renae on

    Everyone has a story to share. Thank you for sharing. It is amazing.

  88. Heidi McKinster on

    thank you erin & team erin. you are a gift to us. your generosity & kindness in sharing perpetuates good.
    what a magical experience ❣️

    hugs galore,

  89. Val Jalava on

    What an exciting story,iam so happy for you and your team,that you were able to get so many cuttings,
    thanks for sharing your story’s enjoy reading all of them

  90. Lisa M Pilz on

    Oh my gosh what a wonderful story! I can’t wait to read the next chapter! You are so very lucky. My family is extremely partial to roses. It goes back to my great grandmother. My mom has over 500 and I am at about 300.

  91. Theresa on

    Oh how truly exciting it must have been to not only get to visit and feel the magic of her garden, created with so much love, but to be a part of preserving all those rose cultivars! I hope your endeavors to propagate are successful, won’t it feel wonderful when others plant them in their own gardens thus allowing Anne’s love to branch out even farther. I’m sure she’s looking down on your efforts and smiling.

  92. June Sweeny on

    I’m so excited to read these stories! I am also an ‘old’ gardener trying in vain to grow garden roses here on the coast of North Carolina. It’s a constant battle! I have the time to devote, but it’s always one problem after another from black spot which is constant, to deer eating my precious blooms!! The poor deer are being run out of all their habitats by too much development in my area. Heart breaking all around. But Thank you for sharing this rose experience and I can’t wait to read every part!!! June Sweeny, Wilmington NC

  93. Betsy Funk on

    I fund myself thinking about this process and the care with which you are engaging in it. Inspirational comes to mind but also heavenly. For those who belive nature is touched by angels…Anne must be smiling now.

  94. Anne Gassner on

    This is so inspiring. I love the fact that Anne did not start growing roses until she was 60! This gives me hope!

  95. Laura Roth on

    How beautiful! Both the gardens and the work you’re doing to continue Anne’s legacy.

  96. Heather on

    Oh just so lovely. It makes me cry just a little to think of Anne’s legacy and her love for these beauties. How special that she entrusted you! You’re so lucky!

  97. Hannah Beard on

    Exquisite!! What kind of roses are images 2 and 16/17? Can’t wait to read the next 3 parts of this story!

  98. Theresa Hendrickson on

    Thankful with you for this generative project, and that you made intentional, and hard work choices to see it through.
    Bravo all!

  99. Marianne Ravenna on

    I am an artist on Sanibel Island Florida, zone 10. I create pressed botanical art. Whenever I head north if there are roses to be cut and pressed I cut as many as I can to press. I had tried growing Florida roses years ago but never had any luck. I decided to do some research to see if there are newer varieties that can survive in Zone 10. I found Heirloom Roses . They offered several varieties of roses to choose from. I ordered The Fairy which is a compact type with beautiful small red flowers which press beautifully.
    Once again thank you for your wonderfully informative articles.

  100. June Miklossy on

    Thank you for sharing this inspiring story of your journey with roses. It is wonderful that you are contributing to the legacy of such an important person in the world of heirloom roses, Anne Belovich. How satisfied she must have been to know that, at the end of her journey, her beloved roses would be researched, tended and continued through your genuine care and passion for the species. It will be so interesting to follow the journey of your cuttings as they mature and establish themselves in your own gardens, and slowly into gardens all over North America. Your meeting with Anne was meant to be!

  101. Pamela Rodriguez on

    It is incredible to behold for sure! Only through part 1 and I have chills….I have always been drawn to roses. I can not even imagine the feeling of being in Anne’s presence and walking through her magnificent gardens. I am so grateful to you and your team for making the effort to preserve her roses and her legacy. On to part II……..

  102. toni murray on

    erin & team
    thanks ever so much for sharing this story;
    so moving, the genuine passion & vulnerability with which
    you move through the world!
    a beautiful lesson in the potential of love affair with nature &
    connection with each other.

  103. Jodi on

    It is inspiring to see a snapshot of what she created. What a testament to the truth that you are never too old to start blooming.

  104. Jenny Kessener on

    Already in tears, I will be a mess by the end. Thank you for sharing, and for all your wonderful work.

  105. Connie Reeve on

    I got to meet Anne when the Rambler garden at Chambersville in Texas was dedicated. I am now working with Claude Graves to begin the process of bringing the ramblers to the gardens of the American Rose Center in Shreveport. Love this story you have created.

  106. Karen J May on

    Thank you for sharing the story and pictures. I am so very glad you are growing more of her roses. I once lived near a wonderful woman who grew a perennial garden over her entire property and kept a diary of where and when each plant bloomed. Her parents had the garden before her and she carried on their work. She could remember which plant her father bought her mother and for which occasion. There were one hundred year old still blooming peonies; roses that had the most incredible fragrance; so many treasures. Now, 50 years later, I still remember and feel inspired by her love.

  107. Lina on

    Can’t wait to read the rest! I ordered old, own root roses from Heirloom Roses in the late 90s. Some were destroyed by voles and the handful that are left are nameless. Old roses are treasure. What a gift to have access to so much!💕

  108. Debbie Shaw on

    Thank you so much for this part of the story! I can see the sheer joy, yet frustration on your faces trying to document all of your progress. What a blessing Anne and Max have given to all of us. Looking forward to part 2

    Ps. I love your book “Cut flower garden”.

  109. Julie Shedko on

    Thank you for sharing this story! Some of my best memories are of my Grandfather in his rose garden. I have tried to start my own in his memory at several different places we have lived. Your story has inspired me to plant more roses, my heart is happy as they are one of my favorite flowers! ❤️

  110. Beth on

    I’m already in tears and I haven’t gotten to the interview yet! Dammit, now I have to start growing roses…

  111. Lila Bender on

    Oh how I wish her gardens could be preserved and maintained for all to see and enjoy! 😢💕

  112. Patricia on

    I’m so excited about this rose series, and relieved her roses and work will live on. So cool that she grew her first rose at age 60. I’m 61, have gardened passionately all my life, and feel a bit embarrassed at how many roses I grow. But it’s hit me this winter that what flower I love and dream about most is the rose. Really looking forward to the rest of your series. The photos made me feel like we got to come along on the adventure.

  113. LaNova on

    How wonderful. Can’t wait to read the rest.

  114. Elizabeth Redwine on

    I worked for a woman on Bainbridge Island for a few years. She has the most beautiful garden I have ever seen. It was full of roses, lavender and many plants and flowers I couldn’t name. It had rare, old fig trees imported from Europe. The paths were made of crushed granite. The long driveway that led to the gate of the large stone house was lined with huge blue hydrangeas bushes. All of this was set on the waterfront and the dreamy marine air would envelope you as you walked through the beauty.
    We live in the desert now and we love living in the sunshine! The gardening here is quite the challenge. You are blessed to be surrounded by all those special roses! Your passion has given you a taste of Eden. Any suggestions for growing a desert rose?

  115. Liz Krieg on

    Thank You, Thank You ~ Erin! This is such a gift to find in my mailbox this morning. Anne Belovich was a Rose Goddess…and I hope everybody goes out and scoops up her several books on Roses (all good reads if you adore Roses…). As always, you have seized upon the most relevant flower subject of the moment. I am all in ~ and hope to see your Rose collection someday.

  116. Jessica Klein on

    So exciting! I truly hope you turn all of this magic into your next book! Quick, call Jill and tell her you have a new project. Thank you for sharing.
    #floretworkshop class of 2022

  117. Linda on

    Bet Anne and family were thankful for your team’s efforts! We certainly are!! As was stated earlier, wondering when this book will come out.

  118. Cathy Yatson on

    I feel like this project at Anne’s could be a book all on its own. What an exciting venture!!

  119. Meghan Murphy on

    Incredible story! Amazing project. So glad Anne’s life’s work won’t be lost. I’d love to see more documentation and photos of her garden and the process of saving her roses. In the cut flower world it seems we sometimes forget the gardeners who spent their lives creating these magical spaces and devoting themselves to the craft and wisdom of gardening. Truly a wonderful project and I’m so glad you took it up! ❤️

  120. Lisa Bray-Sinclair on

    I have often fantasized about growing roses! Now that I am retired and I now have the space on our little seaside farm in southern Massachusetts to grow dahlias and roses . I am feeling inspired by Anne and you and your team ! We do love the deer that visit our property but will need to figure out what their interest is in roses!
    Anne was such an inspiration what a privilege it is for you to carry on her legacy and how lucky we all are to have you be our inspiration! I am off to the library to find her books and can’t wait for the next blog post!

  121. Johnna on

    Beautiful story and thank you for the work you did to carry on Anne’s legacy and the roses.

  122. Catherine Strange on

    Oh how I’ve enjoyed reading this!! Old roses, especially ramblers is a love of mine. I can’t wail until your next post!! Thank You for sharing!!

  123. Darlene MacDonald on

    Thank you for highlighting & keeping Anne’s legacy alive. What an honor for Anne to have her life’s work recognized & shared with others. I can’t wait to see your rose gardens. Thank you for sharing.

  124. Wende on

    Erin that was such a lovely story, Thanks for sharing. I can only imagine what the garden looked like the first time you meet Anne, she sounds like the definition of a true gardener, happy to share everything. I look forward to all 4 parts of your wonderfully incredible journey. I’d also like to say how much I appreciate you mentioning the library.!

  125. Claudette Aubart on

    My Grandmother who had the smallest of flower beds had a red rose bush in one of the corners for everyone to see. She was so proud of that little bush and all of its perfect little roses. We lived in a very small town in North Dakota and every year the ladies would have a flower show. I remember dressing up and going with her. Every year her beautiful roses were found in a display vase with all of the other roses!

  126. Kay Mcintyre on

    As far as the Japanese Beetles, two things work. One is environmental friendly, Neem oil. Just spray on roses once a week or after a rain storm.

    The other is controversial- Japanese beetles start out as grubs in your lawn. So if you do any lawn preventative maintenance, add grub control.

  127. Natalie Ewing on

    I am so inspired to read that Anne planted her first rose at 60 and was able to create such magic over the next 37 years. I live in Costa Rica and have mostly tropical plants, but I’ve always had roses to cut for flower arrangements. I try to pick varieties that have wonderful aromas. Anne’s story is making me think it’s not too late to go big!

  128. Virginia Hunt on

    What a beautiful gives me hope for the future….for we all need “ bread and roses”

  129. Kim on

    I can’t believe such a legacy was practically living in your own backyard! ❤️

  130. Debbie Blaney on

    I loved reading your story celebrating Anne and Max for their enviable rose garden and the legacy you will bring forward. Thank you for sharing. As a dedicated follower I look forward to hearing and seeing how your own enviable rose garden grows and flourishes.

  131. Nell Bednarz on

    My husband once had a fragrant roses garden in Katy, Texas, most of which passed away from black spot and summer heat. My favorite of his rose varieties is called Double Delight, a beauty that I see off and on in Texas garden centers and gardens. As a painter of flowers, I recall painting this one as an homage to a friend for her daughter, after my friend’s death. I think women are like roses, beautiful in every stage of life. Thank you for sharing your rose story!

  132. Ashley Hallbauer on

    Oh I am completely in awe! I have several plants that have been past down for generations, and it’s such a sweet connection to my grandmother and great grandmother that I didn’t get to know very well. It’s a dream to establish the same with roses. What a legacy!

  133. Marilyn on

    I love this! What a wonderful opportunity you were given! You are such an inspiration to be able to take on this monumental task. Thank you for sharing this series. I love collecting antique roses and am excited to hear more.

  134. Naomi on

    How lovely Erin! I’m sure Anne was so happy to have met you and know that you loved her roses as much as she did :)


    I love roses too, and have been collecting and growing them for several years in western MA. Sometimes I have to question if it’s all worth it though, he g rowing season is so short, winters are harsh and battling the ever growing population of Japanese beetles is a daunting task. Armed with containers of soapy water, I spend hours flicking the bugs off leaves and blooms. I’ve come to feel like the roses are my children and I will fight the beetles endlessly. Just when I am about to quit, comes those gorgeous David Austin blooms. If anyone has suggestions on Japanese beetles, please let me know!

  136. Melba | Cocoon Raw on

    I am so excited to see you loving roses! Super excited for the series. I have always loved roses because an elderly friend of mine, Ben. Decades ago he made me fall in love with them and learn how to tend to them. He was a special being and I remember him when I care for mine to this date. I hear him telling me what to do each time with such kindness. Is our time together in the garden. He is truly missed.

  137. Elsie Johnson on

    What a joy this must have been. This has inspired me to research roses for myself. And I am 53 years old. I can’t even imagine the conversations with this lady. What an amazing life she had. I am so very happy y’all are preserving her roses for future generations and in doing so preserving her legacy. Keep doing what you do Erin. You inspire me!

  138. Denise on

    Amazing what one woman and one man accomplished in their lifetime. Its magnificent that her legacy will be remembered and maintained by the stewardship of the American Rose Society and Chambersville Tree Farm. Kudos to you all.

  139. Rebecca on

    This is an absolutely incredible story and to think you have a part in preserving this great legacy!

  140. Janet Rensing on

    Inspiring, the amount of work that you and your team put in to preserve Anne’s legacy is tremendous. The world is a better place for all of your efforts. thank you!

  141. Janet on

    I am in awe of the amount of work that you and your team put in to preserve Anne’s legacy. I love roses, and strive to gain a 10th of what you have done, its been a dream of mine over the past few years to grow cut flowers, and this is the year that my dreams will cultivate. I plan on planting a number of heirloom roses on my small farm here in Arkansas.

  142. Marla C on

    I’m thinking you must have felt like Alice in Wonderland on those days collecting bits and clippings at every turn!

  143. Kathy on

    This is so exciting! What a treasure! The feels!

  144. Kimberly Johnson on

    This is such an amazing journey and thanks for sharing this beautiful story about Anne. This story has me wanting to know more and more about Anne and her roses. I’m definitely going to be ordering her books so I can learn more about this wonderful life she lead as a premier rose flower farmer. I can’t wait for the rest of this series to be shared. As always Erin, you are such a gem and thanks for sharing and allowing us to look in on your journey as a premier flower farmer.

  145. Jennie Andrews on

    This is so wonderful. In my family, we have a family “heirloom” rose. The original was given to my grandmother by her sons for Mother’s Day. The house was sold years ago and the original is no longer there, but thank goodness my mother thought to root it, so its cuttings live on… all of her children and grandchildren and great grandchildren have one of its clones. I’ve rooted and planted one at every house I’ve ever lived in. 💕

  146. Maria Honkala on

    I am a rose lover first introduced to a beautiful rose garden in the Hudson Valley of New York. It was my Grandfather’s backyard garden which he lovingly cared for. I now live in Vermont and find growing roses a challenge with the extreme temperatures in winter, it is 4 below zero this morning. I have had success with “Seven Sister’s” a beautiful antique rose with 7 different pink hue Roses on one bush.

  147. Hedy Zikratch on

    There is a gift in sharing information with others willingly, that really isn’t apparent at first. I hope that “you” know those of us who are reading your publications are grateful for you and your personal supporters (staff) for your willingness to share your “unearthed” knowledge with us. We understand the labor of love it takes to do it for your own pleasure but to take the added time and present it in such and inspiring and encouraging way so that you are able to create resource for others & a livelihood for your family is a treasure. Thank you!

    “A candle looses nothing by lighting another candle”.

    You are that candle!

  148. Kay on

    How exciting!!! How wonderful it must have been to have access to those treasures. Gardeners have such a kind and generous spirit. You must think of this wonderful woman every time you behold your collection.

  149. Dori Fraser on

    An amazing story about an amazing woman. I was so sad when you mentioned how over-run it had become but excited at the end to hear someone is doing something to preserve her heritage. We loose so much history and it’s exciting to know someone cares!

  150. Nadie VanZandt on

    An amazing feat! I can’t wait to read your next posts. I see a new book in the making…

  151. Bre on

    A beautiful story. I can’t wait to see more photos of the gems Anne has collected. Thanks for sharing this series!

  152. Tiea on

    Oh Erin! I’m in tears! I learned of you last year through the HGTV show and immediately purchased your books and followed on Instagram and every where possible! I’m even signed up for your annual Flower Farming course. My real love has always been roses and I had no idea that we shared in this! I feel you are doing what I want to be doing – and I’m so happy for you. You’re such an inspiration! Thank you!

  153. Gail on

    What a wonderful contribution Anne made to the world. I am in awe of the work you and others are doing to preserve that contribution! My daughter has a friend who is doing similar work with heirloom apple varieties. So important to not lose those vintage lines. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and look forward to learning more about your rose journey.

  154. Kristen W. on

    You mean to tell me I get to read 3 more parts to this beautiful blog?!

    I remember reading Instagram posts when you guys were doing the cuttings for this earlier this year. And, I emailed when I saw a photo of the cuttings in the yearly planner.

    Making a cup of tea and getting cozy for the next 3 chapters. You’re a rose for sharing this all with us. Such great content.

  155. Megan on

    I have been excitedly waiting to read all about this. What an incredible legacy you are helping to protect. Thank you so much! Can’t wait to read the other parts!

  156. J on

    Well done , looking forward to the next rose story

  157. Marija Vujcic on

    What an amazing thing you did! And what a privilege to meet and know Anne , what a treasure she was and treasure she left to this world.
    I loved reading this and hope some day to have some of the roses fro. Her collection if they become available. Thank you for writing this, I find so much inspiration in your work and stories.


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