Terry Glickman and her husband Kirt Peterson have a beautiful yard on 3rd. It’s an open Beaverton secret known mostly to their neighbors but also to anyone who might walk by and wonder at it. It is filled with huge hydrangeas, towering clematis and sweetly scented daphne.  And the roses. Oh, the roses.  Rows of roses, borders of roses, roses front and back, roses of every stripe. Roses. 245 roses of every description.

Glickman, a retired cardiac physician’s assistant, started her garden in her older Beaverton home as a way of clearing her mind and soothing her spirits after a tense day struggling to help patients cope with sometimes devastating cardiac disease.  Days in the garden are peaceful, mostly quiet except for the bird call, the air smells fresh and plucking the inevitable black spotted leaves is something of a zen exercise – endlessly useful, endlessly required, labor without much need to think it through. 

It’s just as well there were psychological advantages to rose growing because, as Glickman has discovered, roses can be infuriatingly uncooperative – sometimes leggy, sometimes buggy, sometimes failing to produce the luxurious foliage that bespeaks plant health. And her first efforts were not the glorious garden of delight she had hoped for. But in 2010, after a few frustrating attempts, Glickman joined the Portland Rose Society and found there an endless supply of advice. “ I think I just went to one of those home and garden shows and they had a booth there,” she says, “I started talking to them and that’s when I thought, this is what I really need.  Someone who knows what they’re talking about.”

Row Of Roses
Previous year’s photo of a row of roses

But that wasn’t her only breakthrough. “The best bit of advice I ever got was from a nursery’” she says, “I was trying to buy some fungicide and the person at the nursery said, you know what you need to improve your soil.  If you improve your soil you’re not going to have as much disease. And that was really what started all this.”

Glickman started adding manure, alfalfa and bone meal, feather meal, and all sorts of things and she did improve her soil and, just as predicted, the plants grew healthier and more luxuriant. “I found the formula I wanted to use by talking to people.  Someone in the rose society had concocted something,” she says, “I did a lot of reading.”  

In the end, she finally settled on her own formula of Harvest Supreme, both organic and synthetic rose fertilizer from the rose society and Osmocote. She says she digs around the base of each plant to the drip line and then throws in her fertilizer blend, mixes it in and then waters it in really well.  

Then there are the other factors that determine the success or failure of a rose garden. “Location is everything,” she says, “Roses love sun and water.” So the roses in the backyard don’t bloom as well as the ones in the front in the afternoon sun. But in the front yard it sometimes gets too hot so they put up umbrellas to shade the roses when the sunlight is too intense and that adds to the festival air that surrounds the house. “Kids love it,” she says, “all the neighbors love it.”

Umbrellas Shading Roses
Umbrellas shading roses in the heat

As to water, roses in the summer heat require at least a weekly deep drenching, sometimes she does it twice a week, and none of that superficial watering either which encourages the roots to stay close to the surface. “They really use a ton of water,” she says. “It’s kind of an expensive hobby when you have as many plants as I do.”

But all her hard work has paid off.  The garden will be featured in American Rose magazine this year in the November issue.  But even good news comes with a side of caution.  The wet, cold spring has delayed the onset of buds and there aren’t any roses to look at right now.  Glickman is philosophical, a trait that is substantially increased by the act of gardening. “I just really love the beauty of them,” she says.