Garden Photo of the Day

Roses, Despite Fire and Clay

Blooming, and reblooming, despite setbacks

path leading to patio and arbor covering in climbing rose

Today we’re in Redding, California, visiting with Carol Cowee.

small corner of front yard before gardenHere’s how it started—bare ground that would become the new rose garden.

ground with holes dug for plantsThe soil was compacted, horrible red, rocky dirt. It took two men three hours to dig/chisel just 10 holes!

small rose garden in full bloomAll that hard work paid off. Here is the rose garden at three years old.

path leading to patio and arbor covering in climbing roseA huge climbing rose, ‘Mme Isaac Pereire’, grows up a huge arbor made of chain-link fence posts. ‘Mme Isaac Pereire’ is an old rose in the bourbon group with incredible fragrant flowers.

same path, patio, and arbor after a wildfireA wildfire in 2018 destroyed 170 roses and the house. It was heartbreaking to see those burnt stems, which had been covered with fragrant flowers.

small cactus covered in pink flowersBut there are survivors. Carol’s childhood wagon, made by her father, managed to survive the fire, and Carol found three baby cacti under the burned mother plants. Here is the cactus in full bloom; the little plant produced 35 blossoms.

tall red lily growing out of a small potA gorgeous, massive red lily (Lilium hybrid, Oriental group, Zones 4–9) is growing strong despite being in a small pot, and it blooms heavily in July when it’s 105°F daily.

bright red rose in a water globeA perfect rose is highlighted in a water bowl.


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    simplesue 02/13/2024

    Wow! What an amazing impact you've had on beautifying your neighborhood! You really have the gift of having the vision for making an ordinary and kind of ugly spot into an amazing beautiful garden! Not everyone can do that, it takes a lot of imagination! I just can't say how impressed I am with what you've done! Excellent job!

  2. User avater
    cynthia2020 02/13/2024

    Carol - your roses look terrific (and the cacti babies). You possess great resilience. Thank you for sharing the new garden.

  3. [email protected] 02/13/2024

    Wonderful shot of so many roses. I have grown Mme. Isaac Pereire and it is beautiful and soooo fragrant. I miss those old roses. Your grouping is wonderfully full and well thought out. Love the very clever arbor also. I can imagine the feeling of devastation following such a giant loss.

  4. btucker9675 02/13/2024

    That cactus is a true survivor... So lovely!

  5. margotnavarre 02/13/2024

    Nice recycling and end product with the chain link fence poles. Your garden looks like it has lovely fragrance.

  6. User avater
    musabasjoosue 02/13/2024

    A garden that has truly risen from the ashes! May it continue to thrive.

  7. User avater
    carolcowee 02/15/2024

    Fun to share our love of gardening! Love the feedback…

  8. jos29803 02/15/2024

    What a great rebirth of your garden. It's so beautiful.

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