Skip to main content



The Buttonbush ( Cephalanthus occidentalis) is an unusual shrub with curious white pincushion flowers. It is found in the wild all over the United States, usually in swamps and moist areas.  Growing up in rural Alabama, I remember seeing it in the woods behind our house.  It doesn't garner much attention until the blooms make their appearance.  Sources vary on the size of the plant. In the wild, it can get to 20 feet but in gardens, most likely under 12 ft. In my garden, it is about 4 feet tall after five years in the ground. It is located along the back fence in an area that doesn't get much supplemental water although I am working on the area and watering more often this year. The flowers have a slight honey-like fragrance. Bees love this plant! Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

June Roses

'Dublin Bay' with lupine and Clematis 'Jackmanii Superba' on our front gate

I hope the colors in my rose photos come out okay as I suffered an accident involving a tree limb and my eyeball. Day one was agony (and of course it would happen on a Sunday) but I am feeling better today and after seeing my eye doctor this morning, I feel a lot better.

It actually happened on a good weekend as the weather is too hot to be working in the garden. I decided to work on photos I've taken over the past few weeks to recuperate and escape the heat. Of course, that involves working on the computer and in Gimp in which great eyesight is needed. Bear with me!

'Lady of Shalott'

The roses got off to a late start this year because of the cool spring. It has also been wet which has encouraged black spot. Powdery mildew doesn't seem to be as bad this year. 


'Mary Rose'

'Marie Pavie'

'Lady Emma Hamilton'

'Gertrude Jekyll' being trained to an obelisk. A gift from one of my co-workers.

'Buff Beauty' is set out to conquer the garden. It is just immense. I wish I had used it as a climber. It was a huge rose in Alabama as well. I should have known. It remains one of my favorites.

'Buff Beauty'

'Radway Sunrise' is simply a stunning rose and a carefree one.

'Crown Princess Margarita'

'Gold Medal' and 'Altissimo' - I usually try to avoid putting yellow and
red together. I'm not sure what happened here.

'Swany' a rose that I discovered at Joy Creek Nursery. It has really taken off this year and attempting to climb the fence behind it. I didn't really want that to happen but it does have an appeal.

'Marchessa Bocella'

'Marchessa Bocella'

'Darcey Bussell'

'Rosemary Harkness'

'Dublin Bay' again


'Mutabalis' was a bit of a disappointment this year. First it had a bad case of powdery mildew then the colors were mostly pink, most likely a result of the cooler temperatures. 

On the other hand, roses that have performed poorly in previous years
were really nice this year. 'Plum Perfect' is such a case. 

'Robin Hood' has been amazing this year.

'Olivia Rose'


'Veilchenblau' with Salvia 'Caradonna' and
'Jackmanii Superba' clematis on the gate arch.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. Wow, Phillip, you have a spectacular rose collection! I'd be happy if I had a single shrub that looked half as good as one of yours. I'm sorry to say that my roses are pathetic. That I don't give them as much water as they need and seldom fertilize them is part of the problem but I suspect they don't much care for my sandy soil either.

  2. Oh, Goodness, what an explosion of colors! Pure eye candy (and I do hope yours is on the mend!). The sheer volume of your rose collection is impressive, and they all seem perfectly show worthy. My favorite is the jaw dropping 'Radway Sunrise', with "Playboy" a close second. The final video of 'Dublin Bay' Rose and Clematis 'Jackmanii Superba' was particularly good: I love how one of your garden birds added sound effects :-D

  3. Your roses are exquisite. 'Lady of Shalott' looks good enough to eat. A cool dreamsicle on a hot summer day.

  4. Lovely, lovely. What is your opinion of 'Olivia Rose'?

    I hope your eye suffered no lasting damage and that you are already able to garden again. With your garden looking so wonderful, it must be irresistible to get outside to enjoy it.

    1. I have mixed feelings about 'Olivia Rose'. It is not one of my favorite colored roses in the garden. The bush itself seems to go through phases of looking fantastic and then looking less than stellar.

  5. Ouch - that sounds painful. Glad you're feeling better! I used to not be too enamored with roses - I thought they were all leggy and disease prone. And then I discovered shrub roses! Holy moly - you have so many good ones. I bet your garden smells absolutely heavenly!

  6. My goodness, your garden is a rose lovers dream! My roses look best in early June, then they rest a lot until September. I know you are the expert, but I would like to recommend At Last rose. Blooms like crazy all summer, and it’s never the least bit bothered by disease. It’s my favorite.

    1. I've heard others say that it is a good one!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts