Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Love at First Sight

 "It's not like love at first sight, really. Its more like gravity moves. When you see her, suddenly its not the earth holding you here anymore. She does. And nothing matters more than her. And you would do anything for her, be anything for her.You become whatever she needs you to be. "
~Jacob Black

It was at Hortus Nursery in Pasadena that I first spotted the rose 'Lillian Austin'. Her blossoms sat like an English hat on a slender 5 ' tall trunk. Informal  blossoms with swirls of  gossamer peach and tangerine over carnation pink- I imagined hummingbirds dipping into Lillian as lovers would sip a blended tropical drink.

 There was no question Lillian and I would get along. At first sight I knew I had to have her. What I did not know was how this shrubby headed  English beauty would change my life.

At the time I believed life was best lived like it is printed on an accountant's ledger. Strictly organized. Budget before all else. So my desire for her was put on "the list", to wait her turn to be added to the garden.  

Only Hortus went out of business and in 2001 it was not so easy to find another nursery with such splendid taste.  Several days locked in my study with fingers dialing where the Internet suggested I search, I found Otto and Sons, who had been the supplier to Hortus. 

Now that I knew where she was there was the issue of distance. Fillmore is 69 miles from my Diamond Bar garden.  That would be a very long way for 2 tree roses to travel in my compact car. Which they never had to suffer because a very kind neighbor told her trucking-company husband- and he added a stop.

My almost missing an opportunity to have her build a relationship with the garden as a whole  made me appreciate her even more. All 4 of her. As her color and personality bring out the best in whatever is her companion, my garden features two standards and two decidedly shrubby accents in the mixed borders.

Now Lillian is not a constant bloomer, but a consistent one.  When this mild- maintenance babe is in bloom, she is the center of attention.

Perhaps the most important lesson Miss 'Lillian Austin' taught me is that  when you think you are in love- jump. When I left her waiting after our first meeting in Pasadena,  I was very fortunate to have found her again. 



  1. Lilian Austin's a beauty, isn't she? I love how that warm golden glow starts in the middle and lights up her pink petals. Enjoyed your story of how she came to be in your garden.

  2. Oh my goodness- I think you just broke a speed record in posting.

    You were the inspiration on why I chose to write about a rose.

    You are right- this is a rose with an inner glow.

  3. Hi Lydia,

    What a gorgeous rose!

    Although she's far more beautiful than many of those English hats that we saw bobbing through Kate and William's wedding!


  4. Oh Yes....I know that lesson well! When I was quite young, I would see a drawing or a small painting that I really loved--BUT, I hestitated---And when I came back to that Gallery---having finally realized I have to have it---It Was SOLD!!!
    I never hesitated again!

    BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL ROSE, my dear Lydia....Truly Stunning, in every way!

  5. Just beautiful. I hope it smells as good as it looks.

  6. Gorgeous. I love reading posts about roses...I always learn something new.

  7. Lydia, those pictures are spectacular. Oh how I love roses. Question dear: I have a rose tree that's stopped blooming and it's looking bad. Leaves are rusty colored and falling off. Could it be too much water or perhaps it's root bound. Ideas?

    In Seal Beach

  8. Dear Hanni- Thank you for coming by. I frequently post on roses, so hope to "see" you again.

    Dear Judy - My first question is- Is the rose in a pot? Call me tomorrow and we'll trouble shoot your rose.

  9. The word stunning does not even come close to describing her beauty! No wonder you fell so hopelessly in love. I'm very glad your story has a happy ending. ;)

    Thanks for linking to the party.

    Hope your weekend is wonderful!
    Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage

  10. I am visiting via Romantic Homes.

    What a wonderful garden!

    Have a happy weekend!

  11. Thank you Laura Ingalls Gunn, Love the red white and blue intro you your site,

  12. I started out as "white" rose only kinda guy, then my wife fell in love with 'Zephrine Drouhin' so I built her a rose swag and planted 3 Zephy's, one at the foot of each 4x4 post.....and now I fell in love with 'Lilian Austin', I reckon I ain't a "white" rose only kinda guy anymore......:-) Just a lovely rose, color, petals, everything.....

  13. Sigh...such pretty photo's of your rose! thanks for sharing over at Cottage Flora Thursday's! Looking forward to seeing what you share this week! xoox, tracie


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