Friday, July 3, 2015

Climbing Roses

Roses on the Wall:

You may recollect that I had been avoiding working on the climbing rose for my French House courtyard garden. I hope that a description of my solution will take you along the garden path to your own climbing roses.

At a Miniteers meet Fatima and Elizabeth decided we should make a quantity of crepe paper roses and buds for my project. They were trying to kick start me in the right direction but I think the roses languished for almost a year waiting for me to be inspired.

The technique for making roses is varied. Some were made using a heart-shaped punch and the petals placed individually on  a green wire - for others we used two tones of apricot crepe paper rolled and crimped. The calix is a star punch of green crepe paper threaded along the wire and glued to the bottom of the rose. I know there are quite a few tutorials online. It all depends on the species of the of rose you would like to replicate.

The climbing roses in my RL garden have a woody bare base. Climbing is a bit of a misnomer as the branches just grow, drape and rest and do not attach themselves as an ivy or hydrangea petiolaris does by an invasive air root system.

On my meanderings I gathered dried branches of a huckleberry bush that looked a bit like my rose stem. This became the base. Once I had the framework of "old wood" glued to floral foam in the planter I added fronds of  plastic foliage to duplicate the "new wood" growth.

Now the bush was ready for the roses to be attached.  I tried to distribute them as naturally as they would appear on a climbing rose. There are a lot of illustrations available online - many are heavy with flowers others not.  I prefer the look of the roses on their own stems - not just the flowers placed as they seem to all end up on one angle. When you try and place the stems into the foliage they take on a life of their own and will drape quite naturally or sometimes almost disappear.

This photo shows the base of the rose woody and bare,  green plastic foliage simulating the new growth and roses attached with their own stems in different lengths.  (This is the photo that made me realize I needed to fill the upper left side of the trellis where there appears to be a white patch.)

The planter is attached to the wall and the garden slides under it so it sits on the gravel. You can see the pullout metal slides that extend to support the walled garden. It is a large house and the garden and the roof can be detached to make it easier to move.

Now for the leaves. I have a punch to make the leaves and tried to make them out of green crepe paper. I felt they did not have enough body. I painted thin water-colour paper with various tones of green. Failure!  I had tried to match the colour of leaves from roses in my garden but the colours became muddy as I kept adding paint from a brush and dotting with yellow and black spot.  I am not good at this!

My breakthrough came when I decided to use a manila brown envelope as the paper. The weight is good and the manila colour became the underpainting for an almost-dry-sponged layering of green colours. The underside being sponged in slightly lighter greens than the upper side.  I liked it. In some areas the colour showed through and as I had painted a large area of the envelope and punched many leaves I had quite a variety of colours in the leaves available to use.

I showed this picture of my desk when I was working on the wisteria. I thought I would show it again so you could see the manila envelope leaves in progress.

I ran my needle tool down the centre of each leaf to give them shape and I was ready to glue. I used a product called Flora Bond to attach every section. It is similar to Quick Grip glue but not so quick to dry and allows for a bit of flex.

My goal was to place the leaves on to the rose stems that were exposed and through the existing foliage until my eye was satisfied that it was indeed a representation of a rose bush.

Elizabeth of Studio E.  always advocates taking photos to help clarify the image you have created. I did find it helpful (thank goodness for digital cameras), and noticed the bush needed more foliage  on the left side. I had not been able to let go of the idea that the vine should only cascade right, over the French door. I thought that could be an appealing shape and it did double duty to cover the electrical wiring that supplies power to the light above the door.  I ended up making more roses to help fill the area to create more balance in the bush.

Now I look at the many photos I have taken for this post perhaps I should add even more!

Above you can see the coffee/tea soil covering the floral foam in the planter. A few leaves and petals have fallen .

Early morning, the sun highlights the courtyard.

The gardener in the house knows it is the best time to pick the roses. Once again a photo is helpful as I see the leaves are quite flat but to the eye they seem quite natural. Back to the drawing board for those leaves!

The dog waits longingly for her morning walk.

Not all is tranquil in the French House.

Number 1 Granddaughter decides her LaLa Loopsy dolls fit perfectly in the Empire room bed.

A rearrangement is underway. The living room becomes a store, the dining room a party room and the tiny Star War troopers do battle with the robot if they can find him. I know he is hiding in the toilet with the yellow duckie from the bath.

I'm sitting nearby pretending to read my book. I do not interfere but become invisible to them as I listen to all the happenings in my mini house.  How wonderful and lucky I am.

Take care.

regards Janine


  1. I'm really rubbish at getting flowers to look realistic so your tips will come in very handy. The roses look gorgeous - the whole garden looks gorgeous. Isn't it amazing how children can invent stories and imagine a whole world? Bless them, I do hope the troopers get to the robot before he causes to much mayhem =0)

  2. Hello Janine,
    How wonderful it must be to sit there and watch the little ones palying in the house. I'll bet that was a lovely and happy time for you ;)
    The climbing roses are spectacular and beautifully done. It must have been so much work, but the end result is well worth it. The flowers looks beautiful and incredible realistic. Bravo!
    Big hug,

  3. Janine,

    I love the house...and I don't think your roses could be any better. I love the idea of using the brown manila envelope as the base for leaves. Another idea to store away for the future!

    How wonderful that your grandaughter (s?) found so much joy in your creation...even MORE wonderful that you allowed them to have those special, memorable moments. I have a firm belief that "things" should be well used, and not locked up in a room... You are a wise woman...that is why you are so " wonderful and lucky "!

    Beautiful roses and beautiful moments all in the same post! Who could ask for more!

  4. Your climbing roses are amazing. I like the color of the roses.

  5. Your roses are beautiful and perfect on the wall of your house. They add a nice touch of colour. It's always so cute to see children interested in dollhouses.

  6. Janine, love your rose trellis! I have yet to go back and fix mine after all the wonderful tips I received from everyone, including you. You've really inspired me to make my vine a little more "natural". Thanks for sharing!

  7. Looks like the girls are having a wonderful time.

    The roses are fabulous, taking care to have the blooms at different angles definitely makes them look more natural.

  8. Your roses are fabulous, Janine and how lucky are your grandchildren to be able to play with such an amazing dollhouse! You are such a good grandmother, and miniaturist!

  9. Maravilloso rincón. Un saludo, Eva

  10. Hi Janine. Yay for persisting with your landscaping ( the exact hurdle I have at the moment). It looks fantastic, and I don't think you need more roses. Rose bushes do tend to grow willy-nilly and I really think the wild, unkempt look is perfect for this country French cottage. Thanks for posting!

  11. Simply enchanting! What a project!

  12. What a special time for you to reflect on later that Finn and Gus are an active part of your French House and that it has ALWAYS been available to them right from the start! I don't think that I would be so brave but they have proved to be very gentle with the contents even though certain items get moved to the most unlikely spots!
    But your orange roses have such VISUAL IMPACT Janine and thank you for the information re: the manilla envelope as a base for the leaves. Leaves are such a time consuming undertaking and yet they can make or break the realism of the piece. Yours look Fabulous and they are climbing the kitchen wall so gracefully as well!
    And how cool that Bruce has devised the Birdroom window to now swing open! Now the scent of the summer roses can waft right into the room.
    Sweeeeet! :D


  13. Those roses are glorious! This is a really romantic touch there! LOVE IT! You did such an incredible job with them. So elegant!

  14. What a Wonderful post! (Somehow I missed it!) Your roses are Divine! I am hoping Someday to make roses too.... when I have completed my Lilac shrub and a few other under-way projects! LOL! I think the color of your blooms is beautiful and Love the beginning with a woody stick idea! And the picture taken in the morning sun is just gorgeous! I love to see the whole house.... and especially with your Granddaughters at play! Lucky little girls!

  15. Beautiful roses! I love roses. :)

  16. I love your roses Janine, they're so natural! I can very well understand your reluctance of making them, it must have been quite some work to make them all and the rest of the bush. I think you've created a lovely garden and beautiful house so far! It's such a great picture of your granddaughters playing with your house :D