Dear Gracie: Your Questions, My Answers

I recently did an “ask me anything” series over on Instagram, and I loved answering all of your questions. I noticed that there were several questions that kept popping up, so although I answered them in my Stories, I wanted to elaborate a bit here! I look forward to more “ask me anything” sessions over @gracerosefarm, so follow along and if you have any questions, send them along and I’ll do my best to answer them! Also, here is a post where I answered other FAQs

How do you decide which roses you will grow?
This is such a great question. It takes years of trial and error. When we first started we had 200+ varieties, and from there we narrowed it down to 150. After another round of cuts, we landed at around 65 really solid varieties. We have very specific criteria including: unique shape, disease resistance, high production, fragrance, long vase life, hardiness to withstand shipping. And we have to have the ability to obtain hundred and hundreds of plants from our growers. It can be a real challenge to get high quantities of certain roses.

Do you wear your beautiful dresses even when you are farming?
I had to laugh because the most common questions I received had nothing to do with roses. Most of you wanted to know where I shop for my dresses! I am currently preparing a fabulous blog post rounding up all of my favorite brands and styles, so stay tuned. I don’t wear expensive dresses when I’m farming or working in the garden, but I will wear my $30 Amazon dresses around my roses. I don’t mind as much if they snag, or get dirty. Because of my psoriasis, dresses are much more comfortable for me than itchy pants! I know my dresses make it seem like I float around the garden, but don’t be deceived, farming is hard, unglamorous work. 

Did you learn how to care for your roses by trial and error, or do you have a go-to book or guide?
Everything I know about gardening I learned from experience. I’ve been gardening my entire life. As far as a book…well, all I can say is stay tuned!
Can you share your adoption story?
My mother passed away from Hodgkin’s lymphoma when I was five years old. I was adopted by friends of the family since my father wasn’t a part of my life. I’m extremely lucky to have both my biological extended family, as well as my adoptive family. Seraphina’s adoption feels like a serendipitous continuation of my own story. I didn’t want kids until it was almost too late biologically. I was one of those women who swore she would never have kids. Ryan has always wanted a child, and when we began to explore adoption, it felt like a great fit for our family. It’s hard to believe that Seraphina is already turning one, as it seems she has always been a part of our lives! If you are curious to read more about Seraphina’s adoption journey, I wrote about it on the blog here and here
What would you and Ryan be doing if you weren’t growing roses?
In my dreams I would be a soprano (if only I could sing!!) and I’d be singing alongside Dudamel and all the great philharmonics. Ryan is a musician and would still be working in the music/ entertainment industry playing and composing. Music is still a big part of our lives. We’re excited to return to the Hollywood Bowl this summer! Dudamel, LA Philharmonic, Gershwin and John Williams are in our plans!

David Austin Garden Roses

The world's most loved and cherished garden roses for English breeder, David Austin.

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