The Rose Garden that is Sonoma
If there is anything that grows in great abundance here, other than our acclaimed grape vines, and one that distinguishes this community, it is the roses. You will see them in all colors of pink, white, yellow, purple, coral, lavender, pale green and a dizzying array of shades of red. This is the perfect climate for growing them and the love of roses goes way back to our early years of the 1800’s.
You can visit General Vallejo’s home, where the gardens there abound in roses. There is the charming rose garden in the Plaza with benches for sitting and enjoying the beauty of the flowers. Walk anywhere in town and you will find every variety, every fragrance, and every color in great profusion.
Early in May they start to bud and within weeks they have burst into glorious color lasting through the summer. Many homes will frame their walkways and entrances with a display of roses. Trellises will be covered with the smaller climbing varieties. Fences spill trails of roses, all releasing an intoxicating essence.
There is also a practical as well as beautiful use of roses in our vineyards. Many wineries place roses near their grape vines as a rose will be a precursor to any potential problems with the soil; a “first alert” of sorts, guarding the precious crop of grapes.
For a gardener this area is a paradise. Many varieties of flowers and plants thrive here. Take time to walk around, even if only near the center of town, and you will see home after home with its floral display. Right now the dogwood trees are in full bloom and for a few brief weeks the lilacs. There is an obvious joy and pride of ownership here in Sonoma.
There is also longevity. Many homes are occupied by residents who long ago established their gardens and, with each new addition, a walkway, a trellis, a pond, an arbor and more and more flowers, have created botanical masterpieces. It gives inspiration to those just beginning their lives here.
Chances are, when purchasing a new home in the Sonoma area, there will be some garden already established. From there a quick trip to one of the nurseries will give you the opportunity to select your favorites, ask advice about what is best for your particular setting and preferences, and send you happily home ready to plant. This is a very giving natural environment for growing.
Lavender is another glorious plant that thrives here. Sonoma lavender rivals that of France. Its fragrance is soothing and is often used in oils and lotions. Some lavender is edible and can be added to scones or cakes and can also be infused in lemonade that is delicious. A bundle of lavender will release its fragrance for many weeks in the home. Placed in a bedroom it has a calming effect that can release tension and help you to get a good night’s sleep.
During the summer when the Farmer’s Markets are open you can buy beautiful bunches of flowers. The early sweet peas are a favorite of many and they quickly sell out. There is no mistaking their fragrance and when someone walks by with their bundle of sweet peas you can’t help but turn to inhale the aroma. Another glory, are the sunflowers with their huge golden heads shouting their presence.
For those of us who do not have extensive gardens we are fortunate to be able to buy fresh flowers all summer long at the market. Surrounding yourself with the beauty of nature will enhance your life and will nurture you. Even a small bouquet is a joy to see, and smell. A bunch of flowering rosemary in a vase is long lasting and fragrant and a simple arrangement. And, you can use the leaves in cooking.
For inspiration, take a walk, plant a flower or a tree, and put a rose in a vase.
Mary Courtney has been practicing Interior Design professionally for thirty-five years. Mary’s work takes her all over the country and she currently is based out of Sonoma. Mary may be contacted by phone at 707-721-6175, or email@example.com - www.marycourtneydesigns.com