A Miniature Mystery


Rose catalogs recently arrived in the mail.

While confined to my sailboat, which I live aboard full-time, listening to the rain pellet the boat’s roof much like the sounds of rain on a tin-roof, I found myself thumbing through recently received rose catalogs dreaming of spring’s first flush. Upon pondering which roses would best suit this hot, humid climate of Texas while considering the limited space on board my vessel, I decided to preview photographs of rose gardens I’ve visited in days gone by. My cheeks swelled as my eyes remembered luscious petals of pink, apricot, yellow, and red. How I look forward to another year of walking the aisles of nurseries and the splendor of masses of roses growing side-by-side in a rose garden of my choosing!

Admist my smiling and rapturous memories of gardens gone-by, I stumbled upon a photo of a delightful, but unnamed beauty. Discovered and photographed at Portland, Oregon’s International Rose Test Garden in August of 2016, I fondly remembered her deep-pink precious petals beckoning me to capture her appeal.


The mysterious rose…

Unlike the other plethora of roses throughout the lush, Portland garden surrounded by lording evergreens and art-worthy views, this petite gem’s “name” placard only read, “In Honor of Ingrid Rose, 2012”. Surely this isn’t the name of such a darling delicate rose, I pondered to myself that cooler summer day in Oregon. Each rose I captured behind my lens, I was sure to also photograph it’s placard identifying the rose’s name, species, and class among other listed credentials. Much to my disappointment, I left Portland not knowing whom I had just met. Over the years, I casually wondered if the rose’s name was ‘Ingrid Rose’ and tried to find through the internet a rose like her, but alas, no connection was found.


International Rose Test Garden, Portland, Oregon, USA

Today, however, while trapped aboard a gently rocking sailboat and experiencing the good fortune of receiving moderate WiFi signal despite the stormy weather, I decided to  attempt to solve her mystery. Initially, I was hopeful the International Rose Test Garden may have a website with a list of all their featured roses, but instead I discovered a generic website with no list and not even an email to contact them along with a photo. Not that I blame the garden-keepers for there, at the top of the City, resides thousands of roses. I imagine keeping a current list available would be a full-time occupation in of itself.

After studying her petals, curvatures, and other botanical features, I typed in clues like, “button eye pink rose” and “pompon rose” and even “pink miniature roses” hoping to find her in Google images. Still no such luck. In my next attempt at identifying this attractive deep-pink rose with tiny petals seemingly lined in white edges, I thought perhaps Portland’s Rose Society could introduce me to this rose.


The gardens @ Pittock Mansion, Portland, Oregon.

After visiting the Pittock Mansion in Portland, I knew such a society has existed for decades, if not nearly a century a by now, for they once met and still do meet at Pittock Mansion, a large once-home now open to visitors that overlooks the “City of Roses”.

Upon my WiFi making acquaintances with Google, my laptop produced the website of the Portland Rose Society. Immediately my eyes and finger-mouse on my laptop were drawn to the Photo Albums link, then the recent Mini Rose Show album. Much to my excitement, while clicking through the pictures, I found my roses’ twin! It even had a label, but the writing was too far away to see her illusive name. I immediately downloaded her photo and zoomed in to hopefully decipher the distant cursive writing on her tag, but still, I could not read it.


Photo Credit: Portland Rose Society

Despite my squinting 42 year old eyes, I could only make out the name started with a “M” and had perhaps a couple of “t’s” in it, but even that I could not say for certain. Nevertheless, my zeal and determination would not give up now!

In the background of my mysterious rose was a certificate with human names like an award of sorts so I used Google once again except this time to research the names of these alleged rosarians hoping their names could link me to the name of the mysterious beautiful rose. While I found a list of the miniature-rose-show’s winners with their names on it, I still could not find an image that matched the numerous roses listed nor any that started with “M” and had a couple of presumed “t’s” in it’s name. But at least now I knew for sure two important clues: 1) The mystery rose is indeed a miniature rose if it was featured in a miniature rose show and 2) the Portland Rose Society would be able to identify the rose if my own results produced unfruitful. Hope is a marvelous motivator!

Now I began researching “pink miniature roses”, “magenta miniature roses”, and the like, which produced photos of a similar looking miniature rose known as ‘Sweet Chariot’. While casually admiring the features of ‘Sweet Chariot’, a photo nearly identical to my own populated in the images results – on Pinterest, of course, another favorite site for dreaming gardeners such as myself! I nearly shouted for joy, in fact, my husband will testify I indeed DID shout for joy! The deep-pink delicate, tiny petals, which captured my heart while I captured her one summer day in Oregon finally had a name and it began with a “M” and had two “t’s” in it afterall.

Ladies and gentlemen, rose-lovers, and readers alike, it is my pleasure to introduce you to the mystifying ‘Marriotta’. A miniature mystery solved!






Visiting the “City of Roses”

IMG_1992.JPGLast week, I had the pleasure of visiting Portland, Oregon, also known as the “City of Roses”. Never in my life had I been afforded the opportunity of exploring the Pacific Northwest. What a beautiful state! My husband and I packed in many activities including experiencing enormous waterfalls along the Columbia River, the food trucks located along 10th and Adler Streets, all the way out to Oregon’s coast at Cape Kiwanda. The weather was spectacular especially when you compare it to the extremely hot and humid weather we are accustomed to here in South Central Pennsylvania and the Maryland area. We found it comical Portland had a “heat advisory” for 85 degree weather! Meanwhile, we came back to an “excessive heat advisory” of nearly 110.

Needless to say, while enjoying the perfect temperatures hovering in the upper 60’s and low 70’s, we were blessed to tour not only the beautiful terrain of Oregon, but her roses as well! Known as the “City of Roses”, Portland boasts rose bushes nearly every where you look. The landscaping along the on and off ramps of their highways, median strips, and sidewalks all showcased numerous roses.

While driving back from Cape Kiwanda, noticing the sprawling orchards and nurseries prevalent in Oregon, I recalled Heirloom Roses,the popular online rose supplier of the US, is located just south of Portland. As destiny would have it, according to Google Maps, Heirloom Roses was located just off the next exit on our way back to our hotel. Naturally, with little effort, I was able to persuade my husband into taking a rose detour. In a matter of minutes, I was delighted to tour the facility and gardens of Heirloom Roses. How cool was it to see the very place I’ve ordered roses from! The sales clerk was amicable and gave us free mugs when I purchased a pink tee-shirt that reads, “Sorry, my roses need me!” .


The next day this rose lover / history nerd, toured The End of the Oregon Trail museum, followed by touring Portland’s International Rose Test Garden. My husband was impressed I knew many of the roses by name without looking at the placard. It became a fun little game. Although I knew most of them, there were some roses I had never seen previously. I was hoping to discover a David Austin English rose known as “Lady Emma Hamilton”, a $60 rose bush that sells out super fast. It’s been on my wish list for awhile now, but I had yet to enjoy her in person. Unfortunately, she was no where to be found at the International Rose Test Garden, but it was a lovely garden nevertheless.


The day after visiting the International Rose Test Garden in Portland, we went to Pittock Mansion, which unbeknowst to me also has a rose garden surrounding the mansion itself. In fact, Georgianna Pittock, the lady of the elaborate mansion, was one of the founders of Portland’s Rose Society. She often hosted the rose society’s events in her rose garden. To my utmost surprise and delight, guess what rose was located there? Lady Emma Hamilton! Oh, my, her beautiful sunset orange and pink coloring with abundant fragrance did not disappoint! Frankly, I enjoyed the gardens more than the mansion – especially after discovering my “wish list” rose.

Overall, our trip to Oregon was unforgettable. East Coast mountains, waterfalls, and beaches just don’t even compare to Oregon’s. I’ve told my friends here back home that Oregon ruined me for she is indeed a spectacular state with the added benefit of including a “city of roses”!