Of Roses and Poodles

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The date is wrong on the photo, but a few years ago we took a wonderful vacation to Portland, Oregon. I have been getting a lot of garden catalogs in the mail the last month, and it makes me think about how much I enjoyed visiting the Rose Test Garden at Washington Park in Portland.


I didn't have much of an opportunity to grow flowers before I moved to the CottageLodge, because the yard at my little house was so tiny and shady. Once settled here, I began gardening in earnest and really enjoy it. I am not terribly knowledgable still, but run on the premise that if I think a plant is pretty, I stick it in the flower bed, and if it lives, oh happy day, it's welcome to hang out, drink water, and snack on as much horse manure as it likes 🙂 .


I had always been terribly prejudiced against roses and poodles….I thought they were fussy, needy, and way too froufrou for my tastes. Then by a strange twist of fate, I ended up having both! A lady in my town wanted to adopt a little dog. My Mom was friends with the lady that ran the Animal Welfare League in Montana. We ended up being the shuttle for a little white female poodle from the AWL to the lady in town that wanted her. Long story short, the lady had her for about 4 days, then decided she had forgotten just how much trouble it was to have a dog, and wanted to give her back – UGGHH – people! The poor little dog was blind in one eye, and had a big tumor on her hip, and I was certain that if we took her back to the AWL she would be put to sleep. So, guess where she came to live…..ya, at the anti-poodle girl's house. And I luv, luv, luvved her. She was the sweetest, smartest, most loyal little dog a body could ever hope to have for a friend. About 4 weeks after I got her, she got really sick in the middle of the night, and I was sure she was dying. I was just ready to call the vet, and out popped a puppy! That poor little gal had 4 babies that night; 2 were stillborn, 2 were OK. Who knows the extent of neglect she had suffered, and then to be pregnant to boot. Well, she was done with that part of her life forever, because she had a new mom that just so happened to be a born again poodle lover! I also ended up keeping her little boy baby, and one of my Grandma's best friends took the little girl baby (8 weeks later). At that time I had a Schnauzer, an Australian Shepherd (and they both came with wacky stories about how I ended up with them!), a Momma Poodle, and a baby Poodle, and was so breaking the law! The legal limit was 2 dogs per household in my town. Thank goodness I had awesome neighbors who didn't tattle on me. So, anyway, now I'm a confirmed poodle lover/promoter. Back to the roses 🙂

My house was on the garden tour several summers ago. I had (still have) what one lady described as an English style garden. My definition is “Hardiness prevails smorgasbord garden”. I had about one of everything that works for zone 4 tossed into my flower bed, sans roses. Then one year little son proudly presented me with a rose bush for Mother's Day. I thanked him profusely, all the while thinking ppfffttt, it'll be dead in 2 weeks time cuz roses are sissies. Being the ignoramus that I was, I planted it in far too shady a spot, and left it for a goner. No special treatment, no bug deterrents, no rose food. Imagine my surprise when about a month later I went out to water and found my forgotten rose with the most beautiful, perfect, pearlescent white rose gently waving in the breeze. Hokey Dokey….Lesson learned, and I was more than a little ashamed of myself for being such a horrendous rose snob. That little rose bush bloomed it's heart out all summer long. It later got transplanted to a nice sunny spot, and now has about 8 other rose bushes for company, along with the menagerie of other whatnots that live in the garden. Roses are wonderful, give it all they've got plants. In my experience, they are very hardy and really do not require babying in the least. And what a pay off! So beautiful, and nothing smells as wonderful as roses in your yard on a warm summer evening. When the trip to Portland was in the planning stages, the test garden was at the top of the list to visit. What a treat it was! You really should make it a point to visit this garden if you ever find yourself in Portland some summer. It is phenomenal!










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(Not pics of my pudoodles, but cute ones!)