Every now and again, the Grump likes to escape from the office and see what intelligent people are actually growing. So this week, I hopped into a ramshackle SUV and scooted a couple of hours northwest to Florence, Alabama to visit fellow garden blogger Phillip Oliver.


Phillip's labyrinthine backyard garden makes the spring garden tour almost every year. Beautiful roses, old and modern, jostle for light and attention. The huge white one on the arbor above caught my eye immediately. It's an old musk rose called 'Rambling Rector.'

Personally, I've always suspected rambling rectors. If you find a congregation is in serious need of rectoring, you should stay until the job's done. But I can't hold some wayward clergyman's lack of commitment against this rose. It's a flowering machine.

Phillip says it blooms once in spring, smothering itself for several weeks with highly fragrant, creamy white flowers. It's one of those energetic roses that seem to never stop growing, snaking upward into trees and pergolas and over old, beat-up cars and dilapidated sheds. What this tells me is you don't have to be a rosarian (or even a Rotarian) to grow one. Give it at least a half-day of sun and something to crawl on and get your sorry behind out of the way.

Willing to give 'Rambling Rector' a try? You can order it from Rogue Valley Roses. You'll be getting the only plant the Allman Brothers ever wrote a song about. It goes like this.

Lord, I was born a Rambling Rector

Always keep a-moving, never made it in the private sector

Quit my last real job, I was a weasel meat inspector

I was born a Rambling Rector.


Get a Whiff of Gardenia


Rachel sniffs a gadenia. So talented!

Gardenia has to be the most fragrant flower in your garden. No plant better expresses the grace and beauty of the South. To learn how to grow it, straight from Grumpy's golden lips, click here.