Rose Heaven

Oh, my goodness. In the nick of time I happened to hear about the Russian River Rose Company, which is open to the public during April and May for perfume tours. Not wanting to interfere with a commercial venture I phoned owner Jan, who very kindly invited me to come out early this morning for a very special private peek at what they are about: making high quality rose oils and rose water for the public following a very old tradition with very high quality European roses! Stunning opportunity! Her husband Michael met me as I drove out to the vineyards in Healdsburg amongst which their treasured roses live–and they among them. What a lifeplan! I was struck by how rudimentary the process is, at once realizing how time intensive it must be to make this treasure, and simultaneously realizing why rose oil is a costly item. “It takes 120 roses to make one drop of rose oil, ” Michael affirmed. Wow. Meanwhile, one cannot help but think of an older profession in our country’s history as one views the apparatus. It is, afterall, a distillery!

Nearby the distillery sit buckets of petals waiting to go into the vat on the right.

Hi, kitty!

Water in the bottom of that vat reaches a temperature that causes steam to go up through the petals, carrying the oil with it. When it reaches the second container it reconstitutes, and eventually finds its way to that little glass jar underneath. There it sits until the oil rises to the top, and rose water remains below. Yes, I get it. Not easy to come by and quite an endeavor in our fast paced world. But oh the result! You can bet I left at morning’s end with more than one rose atomizer in a small bag. How could I not?

Then along came the lovely gracious Jan who ever so generously escorted me about the property personally introducing me to a myriad of roses and irises and various other companion flowering plants.

“Oh, my poor readers,” I lamented, knowing I could never ever remember the names of anything I was shooting, coupled with the self-knowledge that I live in a land of “That is so beautiful!” not, “What’s that?”


“You easily lose yourself in [words], become hypnotized into implicitly believing that when you have attached a word to something, you know what it is. The fact is: You don’t know what it is. You have only covered up a mystery with a label.”
–Eckhart Tolle

Nevertheless, I do understand that it is nigh onto impossible to go into a nursery and ask for a large red undulating rose. And we are indeed fortunate that Jan is an extremely patient and understanding woman who was willing to look at specific images and identify my favorites that I longed to share with you. Perhaps you will be inspired to bring some of these into your life. Top of the list for me personally was one I could remember! The 4th of July! I purchased two as Mother’s Day gifts. (Yes, I’m one of the Mothers. How did you guess?) This is a climber and I found it to be the happiest of blossoms!

Here are more of my favorites. I’m seeing that I am particularly drawn to the luscious reds! But it is impossible to choose one best one, the variations are so great, the beauty so overwhelming.

Graham Thomas

“Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.”
Gertrude Stein

Oh, I am so happy to tell you that Jan was not sure which red beauty the above photo was. Even the expert can not be sure in a moment. I feel so much better. πŸ™‚

Paulsen’s Pearl

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”
–Abraham Lincoln


And over one more set of hills,
along the sea,
the last roses have opened their factories of sweetness
and are giving it back to the world.
–Mary Oliver

Dearest readers, wherever you find yourselves, avail yourselves of the beauty of the roses. Give thanks for every dear one of them for the joy they bring into our lives. Take not one for granted.

Tend your gardens. Tend your hearts.

Love and spring blessings,
Kathryn xoxo

Happy postscript: Blogger Cyndee Greene has honored me with a Friendship Award. I invite you to visit her blog The Journey.

32 Responses to “Rose Heaven”

  1. How Beautiful! I do so Love roses! πŸ™‚

    120 roses for one drop of oil! Amazing! How precious, indeed!

    Another Lovely journey, mom! Thank you!
    Love you,

  2. Hi, Sweetheart! So glad you liked the journey! I have an atomizer with your name on it! Love, Mom xoxo

  3. Wonderful trip out into the field! Thanks for taking us along. Beautiful!

  4. Yummmm! I could almost smell the rose essence coming off the page. Thanks for sharing this sweet journey with us.

  5. What a heavenly place! Thanks for sharing. I can understand why it was so easy to get distracted there. I bet is smelled divine.

  6. Good morning, Red Clover! Thank you for the visit and for joining me! Kathryn xoxo

  7. Hi Kathryn!
    Take time to smell the roses! That is always a good thing. I loved the images of this beautiful garden, especially the rose arbors over the paths. My favorite thing on your tour was the rose distillery! What a nifty looking contraption! It is amazing what goes into the process for rose oil.
    We are off to go bike riding this foggy morning. If we pass any roses we will stop and think of you!
    Have a great day,

  8. Hi, Pamela! It is interesting to me that of all the posts I have done ever this one is (understandably) evoking the reader’s sense of smell. This is fascinating to me that the rose so strongly imposes itself in our lives in this manner. Rose. Scent. There’s more to explore in that one. πŸ™‚ Love, Kathryn xoxo

  9. Welcome, Teresa! The roses did, indeed, smell divine. And I’ll tell you, that rose perfume that I came away with will now be one of my most treasured resources at the moment. Utterly delicious delicate and natural scent. I found myself repeatedly smelling my wrist yesterday, taking it all in and deeply grateful for the experience. Highly recommended! Kathryn πŸ™‚

  10. I LOVE your Rose Garden post, I think it’s one of my very favorites. I could almost smell those heavenly roses through your site. Loved your comments about living in a land of β€œThat is so beautiful!” not, β€œWhat’s that?”and your Eckhart Tolle quote was perfect.

  11. HI, Philip! Yes, those rose arbors were gorgeous to walk under and aspire to create. (Lucky me, I do have one in full bloom at the moment!) The rose distillery is just a real eye opener. I had no idea. These folks really go the extra mile to get the Right Roses, too. Apparently they had a visitor from Iran who recognized Persian roses in the garden. Wow. Such an ancient tradition and so fascinating. Have a lovely bike ride! It’s sunny up here. May it move southward. Kathryn xoxo

  12. Hi, Kathlene, thanks for the visit and the lovely comments! I’m so pleased you enjoyed the tour–which you might consider taking, say, on Mother’s Day?? They have a big open house that day and you are so close!
    Enjoy! Love, Kathryn xoxo

  13. Hi Kathryn,

    My Mother prayed to St. Theresa, Little Flower of Jesus — and I do, too. I think of them when I see a rose — such a nice reminder. I met a woman on the plane, coming back from a business trip in 2007. Her name is Rose, and she’s been a very kind friend. Seeing the name of this post, Rose Heaven, made me think of all of them. Thank you!

    All the best,


  14. Welcome, Pati. I just looked up St. Theresa. Thank you for sharing. I’m glad this post brought back lovely memories for you. Kathryn xoxo

  15. Dearest Kathryn, what an amazing place – roses, clematis – so many flowers – such joy.
    I hope you are well – take care.

  16. How absolutely beautiful! It is nice to see roses, where I live they are still looking dead. Thank you!

  17. Hi, Ewa! How are you?? Yes, you would love this garden, for sure! The irises were a post onto themselves! They have created a very lovely spot for themselves, and they share generously! Maybe one day you will come! Kathryn xoxo

  18. Welcome, Cyd, I’m so glad you the roses did the trick for you today. I know how it is waiting for the sun. Even here it was delayed. And we gardeners must have our sun! πŸ™‚ Kathryn xoxo

  19. Hi Kathryn, thank you for a lovely tour. It’s been raining hard here for hours, so your roses brought a little ray of sunshine to my grey, wet day! πŸ™‚

  20. Good morning, Liz. Amazing how an adventure can reach out into grey pockets and spread a little cheer! So glad I reached your wet corner! πŸ™‚ Thanks for the visit! Kathryn xoxo

  21. What a lovely way to spend the day!
    Thank you for taking us along w/ you!
    I have left you something over at my blog. Please go check it out when you get a chance =)

  22. I take very little for granted any more, Kathryn. πŸ˜‰ And I do stop to smell the roses! The ones you’ve shared with us are stunning. I can only imagine what those oils must smell like. Thanks for sharing with us.

  23. Dear Cyndee, I am so honored that you have chosen me to be among your Friendship Award recipients. Thank you so much! And glad you liked the Rose Tour. It’s very close to where you live, btw! Kathryn xoxo

  24. Hi, Nancy, I do know that you are a careful Nature observer and would never let a flower or bug or raindrop pass you by! And, yes, the rose oils are truly wonderful–and natural! Thanks for stopping by. Hope you are enjoying spring at last up north! Kathryn xoxo

  25. Thanks so much for sharing this gem of an operation with us. I never knew we had such luxuries so close to home.

  26. Good morning, Jennifer! I’m glad you’ve learned about a new resource close by! Thanks for the visit!
    Kathryn xoxo

  27. Thanks for the lovely stroll. I knew rose oil was hard to come by, but I didn’t realize that much. I’ll think about that a lot as I stroll through my own roses.~~Dee

  28. Hi, Dee, I’m so glad you caught this post. I always associate roses with you, my dear. I know how you love them. This visit really left me wanting to know so much more. I got a mini-lesson today at Nickel Creek Nursery from Dawn. I think I have to join the local Rose Society to really learn what I want to know. And, yes, the rose oil thing was an eye opener! I am so enjoying the atomizer but using it only sparingly. πŸ™‚
    Kathryn xoxo

  29. Kathryn, What a a beautiful garden. three roses from the Anique Rose Emporium arrived today to add to my collection of 70 or so. Many of them are strong growers – they have to be here in the hills of Massachusetts – but they simply cannot grow as lushly as those in your neighborhood.

  30. Hi, Commonweeder! Wow. Seventy roses. What an awesome reality! I can’t think of a thing that would nurture a soul more in a garden than seventy roses. Good for you for having made that commitment and investment in your life, and in the life of your family. Won’t it be nice to have people always associate you with roses? Kathryn xoxo

  31. Thanks, for showing this Rose Heaven, It truly is. I love roses, they are charming beautiful-Roses are the empress of any Garden. I only wish I could be near to visit Rose Heaven.

    Have a Great Day!

  32. Good morning, Teresa, I love what you said, “Roses are the empress of any garden.” So true! I’m so glad you enjoyed the journey! Kathryn xoxo

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