Cécile Brünner
A climbing Cécile Brünner over the entryway of our old house in Half Moon Bay
I’ve had a love/hate relationship with roses for over three decades. When we built our first house in Half Moon Bay in 1983 I planted my first four Rose bushes. Granted, I did not give them the best opportunity to thrive. I planted them on the west side of the house that was exposed to the constant cold foggy wind that swept in off the Pacific. I think I got one  bloom during the eight years we lived there. When we built our next house that was a little further inland and in a more sheltered area, I swore that I would never plant another Rose. I kept my promise for about a year, relented, purchased one Rose as a test, purchased another, and another… In the end I had 24 Roses on the property, including a beautiful climbing Cecile Brunner over the front entryway and a rose garden in the back.

Peace Rose
When I moved to Tampa in 1998 I discovered a whole new set of challenges – most standard rose varieties don’t stand a chance in the hot, humid air. If you were lucky enough to get a bloom, it would quickly collapse. I had some success in Florida (like the Peace Rose to the left and Belinda's Dream below), but growing tea and floribunda roses was ultimately not worth the effort. Knockout Roses did very well, but their flimsy little blooms just weren’t that exciting.
Belinda's Dream Rose
Belinda's Dream

Knockout Rose
Rosa 'Gay Princess'Rosa 'Gay Princess' Now I am back in California and my new Roses are just coming into bloom. Below is a ‘Gay Princess’ floribunda Rose that I bought last December from Annie’s Annuals. When I brought the Rose home it was a mere 4″ tall stick that gave little indication it could or would grow into the promised 4′ tall bush. I have it in a container in a prominent position outside the front door. While it has sent out only two major branches so far, the first bloom is spectacular. I am happy to say I’m back on the “love” side of the equation