A while back a friend of mine had a business in Howey-in-the-Hills called “Old Fashion Bloomers.” Being an artist, she created a clever logo that resembled a pair of old-fashioned pantaloons. As you drove up to her home-based business, you were greeted by hundreds of actual bloomers blowing in the breeze.
Picture a light blue two-story, cottage-style home trimmed in white that houses a family of six. Now visualize antique roses everywhere! Using her artistic flare and her husband’s carpentry skills, Peggy’s landscape was the envy of rose lovers far and wide. China roses such as ‘Mutabilis,’ ‘Louis Philippe,’ and ‘Old Blush’ made 4-to-6-foot blooming hedges. Homemade sturdy trellises housed south-loving climbers like ‘Climbing Cecile Brunner’ and ‘Lady Banks Rose.’
While meandering through Peggy’s landscape and nursery, I discovered the most distinct antique rose I have ever seen—the ‘Chestnut Rose.’ Its double-pink flower with numerous fine texture leaflets is outstanding! Its bristly rose hips (seed pods) resemble chestnut cases. I remember thinking that Brer Rabbit would love to set up house with the ‘Chestnut Rose.’
What makes a rose an “antique?” Roses introduced before 1867 are classified as old or antiques, but many collectors will include any rose more than 75 years old.
Distinguishing characteristics such as form or shape, muted or pastel blossom colors, and handsome foliage enable these longtime favorites to stand out in any garden. But most importantly, these roses have been around forever because they can live and thrive through adverse growing conditions. As a matter of fact, many of the favorite oldies have flourished in old abandoned home sites. These amazing heirloom roses have survived through hurricanes, droughts, sandy soils, neglect, insects, and diseases.
Most businesses that sell old fashion bloomers have display gardens so that you can see, touch, and smell their beauty. These are the closest thing to heaven for a visual learner like me. One such nursery is The Weed Patch, located just north of Ocala in the small community of Fairfield. Owners Dan Mills and John Tucker know more about roses than Car Talk hosts Click and Clack know about cars.
Their gardens are not only beautiful, but also very well-designed with features you’ll want to duplicate. Fortunately, Dan and John do not limit their collection to just antique roses. Remember to bring a pad and pen because their information is priceless. And make sure you have room to take home a couple of additions for your own garden.
One of the many things I treasure about gardening is that gardeners love to share. They’ll share their secrets and tricks, their compost and natural fertilizers, and their harvest. Gardening brings people together. I have been blessed being with you these last two years! I sincerely hope all your gardens continue to grow and flourish!
Want To Know More?
The Weed Patch
9525 N.W. 160th St., Fairfield, FL 32634
Suzanne Shuffitt is a working horticulturist
and owner of Southern Style by Suzanne.
She can be heard on Tuesdays
at 9am on WOCA-1370AM.
She can be reached at