Garden Photo of the Day

Roses in Lil’s Garden

Some fragrant rose favorites

We’re back in Lil Holloway’s garden in Bedford, Massachusetts, and today the focus is on roses.

I love gardening, but I’m now 80 years old and know the time is coming when I will have to slow down. In the meantime, it’s great exercise and my passion. I particularly love my roses!

The Impressionist rosesThis is ‘The Impressionist’, a very fragrant rose bred by an American breeder but similar to the style of David Austin’s English roses.

light pink rosesThis beautiful rose blooms for a month. It was a very slow starter, and I almost pulled it out! I’m glad I didn’t. I lost the tag and can’t seem to identify it. (Editor’s note: It might be ‘Sally Holmes’. Any GPOD readers want to chime in with their opinions?)

Zephirine Drouhin roseThis pink beauty is ‘Zephirine Drouhin’, a thornless climber. It is prone to blackspot at end of the season, but 2020 was her best season yet.

pink rosesA view of ‘Clair Matin’ and ‘Zephirine Drouhin’ blooming together at the edge of the perennial garden.

Clair Matin rosesThese are my plants of ‘Clair Matin’. There are three bushes, and they have been in that spot for 24 years. Disease resistant, they only like a light pruning in the spring. I pruned one way back a few years ago. She was not happy, and it took three years for her to get back to her height.

deep pink roseI don’t know the name of this deep pink rose. I purchased her in Nashua, New Hampshire, from a rose breeder some 20 years ago.

various pink rosesThese roses are by the deck. I use Knockout roses in the back to hide the bottom of the deck. In the front are mostly David Austin roses. ‘Passionate Kisses’ and ‘Peace’ are mixed in.

Olivia roseThis light pink rose is David Austin’s ‘Olivia’. Disease resistant and with beautiful foliage, she has become one of my favorites.

(If you want to learn more about growing roses, check out our series Roses Are Plants Too.)


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View Comments


  1. Rebeccazone7 12/24/2020

    I think the unnamed rose is Sally...I planted one of her years ago, too close to raspberry bushes and ivy and I wait every year for her to get better. The light pink, Olivia, is dream making. All are stunning. I bought 2 "New Dawn"s in the fall in large pots and am hoping they survive the winter. It's so nice to start the day with creative juices flowing, adding and planning for the next garden season..

    1. lilholloway 12/24/2020

      Always gardening and moving things about in my mind at least. Winter is a great time to rethink what works and what does not. If that rose is Sally I think she took 4 to 5 years before she just exploded, so keep hoping, in fact I planted a different climber beside her, I was so annoyed. I’ve since moved it as Sally took over.

  2. PattyLouise 12/24/2020

    Beautiful roses! Gardening is giving you life - don't slow down!

    1. lilholloway 12/24/2020

      I my mind, I’ll always garden. My body some days has different ideas, but I’m learning to do a couple of hours at a time instead of four or five. Taking breaks is something else I’ve learned this past summer. My husband is a big help especially spring clean up in the big garden.

  3. davlinkun 12/24/2020

    Thank you and I’m sure many years to come gardening those beautiful roses.

    1. lilholloway 12/24/2020

      Roses will always be my first love....until I go and sit in the big perennial garden and watch the butterflies and listen to the birds.

  4. sohappygardening 12/24/2020

    I envy you your patience. I know roses are a challenge and you have done an outstanding job! “Olivia” is my pick. She is special. I also understand being 80 is a challenge. I have one more birthday to that magic number. Hang in there. Garden lovers always need a little dirt under their fingernails! My mom still had tomatoes the last summer before she left us at 92. Thank you for sharing Lil.

    1. lilholloway 12/24/2020

      I really think Im More stubborn than patient. I have learned to move or get rid of what is not working, especially hard with roses. I have one called CanCan she’s very thorny and gets huge. I trim her a couple of times during the season and she’s a real pain. I’m thinking of replacing her, but so far just thinking. I’m sorry for your loss. My mom was also 92 when she passed.

  5. bsavage 12/24/2020

    So beautiful! Keep on as much as you can, and hire out the rest, if you can! Congratulations on a stunning garden!

    1. lilholloway 12/24/2020

      Hiring has come to mind! Not there yet. Thank you for your kind words.

  6. user-7645917 12/24/2020

    Your roses are absolutely gorgeous! I have some knockout roses that grow very well although I have never had good luck with hybid roses. In October I turned 72 and my gardens have grown every year. I am trying to make some of my perennial gardens self sustaining looking ahead to when I won't be able to spend as much time in my gardens! Gardening will keep you strong and each season will give you a new lease on !I've!

    1. lilholloway 12/24/2020

      Your words are so true! Hybrid roses and New England have a love hat relationship. I now only buy own root roses. They survive the winter much better, no grafting to freeze. I am fortunately very healthy and I truly believe that gardening has helped.

  7. coastalgardener 12/24/2020

    I love your roses, too, Lil, and it's obvious you've been giving them great care. Keep it's beneficial to you both!

    1. lilholloway 12/24/2020

      Thank you! Roses are my first love.

  8. User avater
    simplesue 12/24/2020

    My goodness- I'm impressed with your roses AND your age as a gardener!
    Your post here has given me hope and inspiration!
    I saved your photo of the David Austin’s ‘Olivia’ rose...I have the catalog but seeing your photo growing has convinced me that it's the one for me...just gorgeous.
    You really have the magic touch with the roses!!!

    1. lilholloway 12/24/2020

      No magic just stubbornness and a lot of research. I’ve learned to toss what doesn’t work and replace. I’ve ordered two more Olivia for the front of the house. That was my 2nd great grandmothers name. My husband has not noticed (I think) that I’m not planting roses out front, Took out some huge hydrangeas that just stopped blooming. Lavender and roses are replacing them. Be inspired and keep gardening!

  9. alicefleurkens 12/24/2020

    Your rosés are beautiful. I never have any luck with them except mini roses. Then one year the rabbits ate them right to the ground thorns and all and they died. Now our town is waging war on Japanese beetles that also happen to love roses. Keep enjoying those gardens for as long as you can. They are beautiful. Alice

    1. lilholloway 12/24/2020

      We don’t have a lot of rabbits, ones we have seem to eat other plants and don’t come near the house which is where most of my roses are. Treating for grubs does help with the beetle problem. Keep trying with the roses. They are worth it.

  10. User avater
    treasuresmom 12/24/2020

    Amazing. I envy you those roses.

    1. lilholloway 12/24/2020

      My first love! Try a couple of grandiflora or shrubs. You won’t regret it.

  11. User avater
    treasuresmom 12/24/2020

    BTW, for those who need more - type Lil's name in the search bar & you will find some other wonderful submissions. I particularly love this one ----

  12. btucker9675 12/24/2020

    That does look like Sally Holmes - I had her growing on an arbor arching over our entry walkway at my previous home in northern NJ. I have a few roses in my gardens here in NC but am fighting the battle with Japanese beetles. I have done the milky spore but it will take a few more years before it starts to help, I think. Thank you for sharing your gorgeous roses and I wish you many more years of gardening! And I wish all of you a Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays and that we will all have a much better 2021!

  13. stewpot 12/24/2020

    I'm just beginning my journey with roses - I do have a few years under my belt so far - but I'm quite taken with them. I have two from Heirloom Roses wintering over in the garage waiting for spring time planting. In your opinion(s) what are the most fragrant roses?

  14. stewpot 12/24/2020

    Oh and P.S. your garden in MA looks lovely. I'm particularly fond of the deep pink unknown name rose. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Musette1 12/24/2020

    My gosh, Miss Lil! That is a STUNNING collection of roses and speaks to a lifetime of curation and care! You are definitely an inspiration - here's to many, many more years gardening in health and happiness!

  16. ampelopsis 12/25/2020

    What a beautiful garden. It’s rare to see so many healthy roses! In response to the Sally Holmes question: I’ve had a Sally Holmes I planted in ‘98. Unlike Lil’s photo my Sally blooms with clusters of blossoms all packed together to form “bouquets”. For me (in the PNW) she blooms all-out in June, then sporadically throughout the summer, then a smaller show again in September. Someone posted that hers got out of control, and mine has always kept her manners.

  17. User avater
    JanetInCwood 12/27/2020

    I love my garden but one regret is not having enough sun to have roses. I plant them anyway and poor things never get large but do manage to have a few blooms. Your garden is lovely and your roses are beautiful. Please post more pictures this spring.

  18. carolineyoungwilliams 12/29/2020

    Lil, I love your Roses. They are absolutely gorgeous. You all have done an amazing job. Thank you so much for sharing your garden. You have inspired me to plant more Roses...maybe even consider a Zephirine Drouhin climber. Thank you. Be Blessed.

  19. madcosta_7 12/31/2020

    Love all of your photos. The roses are beautiful and they look disease free. I have to ask don't you just love Passionate Kisses? It is a beautiful rose and every flower reminds me of the roses made out of frosting that they decorate cakes with....beautiful. Thank you for sharing your roses.

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