Treat Yourself to a Rose Bouquet

I took Carolyn Parker’s advice and cut climbing roses and arranged them in this fancy teacup as a kitchen table centerpiece.

harrisons-yellow-tea-cup-blogWe plant them, tend them and worry over them, but seldom do we take the time to fully appreciate them. Roses are so beautiful when blooming in the garden, many gardeners feel guilty cutting them for bouquets.

But roses deserve to be brought inside.

A few years ago, I had the chance to talk with Carolyn Parker, a former fashion designer turned gardener and floral photographer. Carolyn lives in Lafayette, Calif., where she grew and photographed all of the roses in her book, “R is for Rose: Reflections from a Passionate Rose Lover.”

She told me that roses have a very strong strong presence about them. “We can relate to them on a heart and soul level,” she said.

“Many people don’t like to pick roses because they want to see them in the yard,” she said. “I think we should have fun and bring them inside to celebrate.”

Carolyn’s sense of style lends itself to arranging roses. With her designer’s eye she creates colorful floral arrangements in unusual containers such as demitasse cups, cake plates, mayonnaise jars, and even a porcelain spoon.

For a springtime party she likes to harvest long, blooming canes to bring into the house for a spectacular display. She arranges the arching canes by placing them in a tall, narrow cylindrical vase. The canes easily fall into place.

“Go to the cupboard and find an old cup or grandma’s bowl and think how a rose would fit into that container,” she said. Instead of long-stemmed roses standing tall in a vase, she’d rather see masses of flowers with shorter stems nudged cozily against each other.

Carolyn encourages gardeners to feel free to make mistakes when arranging roses. “Don’t get stressed,” she said. “Find another container and use the same flowers. Gradually you’ll learn.”

For those lacking her design savvy, she devotes a chapter in her book to sharing secrets for creating breathtaking arrangements. Examples can be seen on her web site


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