The Huntington Rose and Perennial Gardens Newsletter
Number 34                                                                      January - February 2004
Subrosa is Published by Docent, Volunteer, and Workshop members of the Art Gallery, Herb, Rose and Shakespeare Gardens


(To Skip to an article, just Click on the Title below)

The Next Logical Step or An Expanded Subrosa

The 12th Annual Pesto Festo

The History of Pasta

Katarina and The Herb Garden

Autumn Rose Classes

Meet 'Sally Holmes'

A "GRINNS" Fairy Tale

Saturday Workshop and Upcoming Events

2004 Docent Commitment





by Clair Martin

After nearly seven years of publishing Subrosa, we thought it a good idea to take the time to evaluate our newsletter and see how it could be improved to better inform and serve you, our readers.  With the graduation of a new combined class of Rose and Shakespeare Garden Docents this year, we expanded our reporting to cover both gardens.  Now, with the advent of a New Year, it seems appropriate to expand Subrosa to cover the entire central gardens, which are now officially known as the Rose & Perennial Gardens.  First, you will notice we have included several articles covering activities in The Huntington Herb Garden.   Now that the Art Gallery, Shakespeare, Rose, and Herb Gardens are consolidated under a central management, we felt it to be a good time to expand to cover all these areas.  This edition initiates publishing articles and news items of the complete Rose & Perennial Gardens.

We welcome Herb Garden Docent Chair Eileen Felbinger's, as well as Herb Garden doyen Shirley Kerins' contributions to this expanded issue.  Bea Whyld, our tireless Editor, welcomes your input and is always looking for articles to publish that would interest our readers.  If you have an article in mind that you are thinking of writing or a news item to share, drop Bea a note at with a copy to me at .

Our next short-term goal is to provide Subrosa on The Huntington website.  We hope that in the near future you will be able to go to this website and find the current issue of the newsletter, as well as archived back issues, available to anyone.  We will continue posting an email copy of Subrosa to our readers, but by having it on the website some who have difficulty downloading the large files or printing a copy will find this venue a simpler way to keep in touch.

The final goal is to make each issue of Subrosa your source of information and news of events in The Huntington Rose & Perennial Gardens. 

All the Rose & Perennial Gardens Volunteers and Staff wish you a Happy Holiday and look forward to a great and productive New Year.

Clair Martin, Curator, Rose and Perennial Gardens


by Dick Malott

Historically, what have people done in autumn at the end of a good growing season? Why, of course, they harvest the bounty and have a festival. And that is exactly what happened at the 12th annual Pesto Festo on Wednesday, November 5, 2003 in the Herb Garden at The Huntington. 


Actually, the harvesting took place the day before, on Tuesday, of various kinds of basil and other herbs. Then each cook went home and experimented with a variety of other herbs and cheeses, as well as basic basil, garlic, nuts and/or seeds, and oils, to create a wide array of very tasty new pestos. The next day on Wednesday, eight brought their culinary treats to the Herb Garden for the real test, a taste contest voted on by their peers of Staff, Volunteers, and Readers.

Katarina Eriksson, the Herb Garden Head Gardener, and Shirley Kerins, Plant Sale Coordinator and former Herb Garden Curator, provided pasta and bread as a complement to the nutty, slightly bitter but rich, green mixtures, and plates and forks with which to try them. Each concoction was numbered and arranged on a plate for tasting.

And tasting we did, all thirty or so of us. There were Library Readers, Guards, Art Docents, Office Staff, Garden Volunteers, Curators, and even a few guests taking part and soon the hums of joy and contentment were circling the west end of the Herb Garden, with everyone sharing a compliment about his favorite pesto or genuinely questioning her taste buds as to which


From left:  Melanie Thorpe, Receptionist/Administrative Assistant, Botanical Complex; Dick Malott, Garden Co-Chair; Bea Whyld, Subrosa Editor; Joyce Ziman, Paper Conservator; Holly Moore, Conservator, Rare Books and Bound Manuscripts; Ann Lindsey, Assistant Project Conservator/Bacon Collection.

one was really the best. There were very garlicky pestos, very lemony ones, very nutty ones and even a tomato-basil salad. We carefully tasted, and tasted again, and then we voted for the best one. Best one? I would have been proud to serve any one of them.

After the votes were tallied, the winners were announced. There was a tie this year for First Place between Carla McGill, a Library Reader, with her Nutty Pesto and Myriam Hu, the Rose/Shakespeare Gardens Co-chair, with her Arugula and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto. Both received hand-made herb wreaths. 

Myriam had won a second and a third place in previous years but hit the top this year. Other participants included Marta Buzzelli, Katarina Eriksson, Aliki Haralambos, Ann Lindsey, John Trager, and Michiko Watanabe.

Shirley Kerins explained how the Pesto Festo began. Since many herbs die back each year, they have traditionally been removed. However, Shirley said she always hated to throw any away and she would let the Staff and Volunteers take some home. Then one day, 13 years ago, she was in a coastal nursery and they were having a Pesto Festo and the Huntington Pesto Festo, in a slightly different format, was born. And it has grown and flourished, introducing to a Huntington generation a culinary palette of pesto, its mysteries, attractions, and always its possibilities.

For dessert, (yes, we could eat more) Judy Polinsky, a food historian and wonderful friend to The Huntington (she and her troop recently created an American Colonial war encampment on the lawn in front of the Library with authentic 6-course meal) baked a 19th century Macedonian orange cake with 11 eggs and almond flour, and a butter chocolate icing.


From left:  Judy Polinsky; Judy's delicious cake; One of the many chores of a Curator--Clair serving lemonade

This had to be the besto Pesto Festo ever.

Dick Malott, Garden Docent/Volunteer Co-Chair, Full Garden and Reading Plants Docent, Plant Sale Propagator and Plant Sale Volunteer


2 cups Italian basil, fresh  by Myriam Hu
2 cups Purple basil, fresh  
1/2 cup cinnamon basil, fresh 2 cups sweet basil
3/4 cup olive oil  1/4 cup lime basil
1/2 cup pecan halves 1/2 cup arugula
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese 1 Tbs. sun dried tomato
2 Tbs.chopped garlic 3 cloves garlic
salt and pepper  1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
dash of red pepper  1/2 cup olive oil
  1/2 Tsp. Parmesan cheese
Mix all ingredients in a food processor   1/2 Tsp. Lime juice
until well blended.  1 Tbs. soy sauce
  Mix all ingredients in a food processor
  until well blended.


by Eileen Felbinger

As a part of the reporting on the Herb Garden's Pesto Festo for 2003, it occurred to me that it might be fun to try to trace the beginnings of pasta since it played a major role in the taste tests.

A surfing trip on the web produced a delightful presentation of this history by Concetta's Cucina, a restaurant located in Rome, Italy.  I shall be quoting liberally from this article as the attempt is made to determine the inception of pasta.  The charming pictures accompanying this article are also borrowed from their website.

"In Italy, a lot of people are convinced that pasta was invented in China and brought to Italy by Marco Polo in the 13th century.  In the book I Millioni or The Millions, Marco Polo observes that he saw and tasted a 'lasagna similar to that which we prepare with wheat flour'.  There are even conflicting reports that perhaps he really never made it into China proper and that his explorations took him instead to the northern reaches of Persia...

"It is quite possible that the Chinese had a hand in inventing pasta.  There is evidence that they were certainly cooking a hard wheat pasta some 5000 years ago.  But the truth is, so were many other cultures at this time especially those that had an abundance of wheat.  As for Marco Polo bringing pasta to Italy in the 13th century, it is highly likely that what he really brought was a different recipe for a different type of pasta...

"There are certain documents in existence that date to the 1st century B.C. that indicate Cicero and Horace had a grieving appetite for the 'Legane'.  In fact the Neopolitan dialect today  for Rolling Pin is 'Laganaturo'...

"After the fall of the Roman empire and through the Middle Ages pasta, as well as most arts, seems to vanish.  It is not until the expansion of the Arabic Saracen and Moorish cultures between the years 900-1000 A.D. does pasta make a new appearance in the Southern regions of Europe...

"Pasta" translated from Latin is 'Farinae Subactae' or 'Flour that is worked', in our case with water.  Now we all know that bread is also a farinae subactae.  You can imagine how difficult it would be to dissect the origins of bread."

To read this entire engaging story on-line go to the website at:

Hopefully, I have aroused your interest in this most charming subject.

Eileen Felbinger, Herb Garden Docent Chair


by Shirley Kerins

When we talk about garden design, we frequently use the term, "winning combinations".  This refers to a perfect match of two different plants, where one enhances the other.  Katarina Eriksson and The Huntington Herb Garden are a winning combination.  Two of the characteristics you notice about Kat, as you get to know her, are her passion for plants and her sunny disposition.  Because she loves plants and caring for them, you know that a garden entrusted to her is going to be well looked after.  Her sunny disposition makes her fun to work with, and anyone who does will soon catch her enthusiasm for the gardens and the plants for which she is responsible.  Under her leadership the Herb Garden has flourished.  It benefits from her care, enthusiasm, and knowledge.  She benefits by doing what she loves best:  working in gardens.

Before coming to The Huntington, Katarina did free-lance garden maintenance and design, so she is experienced in those areas. Prior to that, she maintained the kitchen garden for the Parkway Grill in Pasadena, therefore, she knows about growing herbs and vegetables.  Previous to the Parkway Grill, she maintained the Kallam Memorial Perennial Garden at the Los Angeles County Botanical Garden and Arboretum in Arcadia.  While working with her on several projects there, it became apparent to me that she knew how to maintain an ornamental public garden.

The Herb Garden is very dear to my heart.  In 1975, as a Volunteer working with John MacGregor who was replanting the Garden after the new brick paths were laid down, I helped him plant the germander borders, the chives diamonds, and various edgings for the dye garden.  In 1984, I was invited to become Curator of the Herb Garden.

Reorganization of the Botanical Division in early 2000 allowed me to become a consultant to Herb Garden activity and to devote all other Huntington time to Plant Propagation and Sales.  Kat applied to Clair Martin, now Curator in this area, for the newly created position of Head Gardener of the Perennial Gardens (Art Gallery, Herb, Shakespeare).  I could not have been happier!  Here was this delightful and knowledgeable friend who would give the Herb Garden her attention.  So, it is with great joy and pride that I pass the torch, or in this case, a garland, of caring for the Herb Garden, to Katarina Eriksson.

Shirley Kerins, Plant Sales Coordinator


by Bea Whyld

As each autumn season rolls around, Huntington members seem to crave classes on rose selection, planting, pruning and caring.  On October 25, and November 1, 2003 Clair Martin, assisted by his regular cadre of Docents, once again provided his expertise on these subjects.

The October 25 class covered the subject Climbing Roses.  Opening this session in the Rose Garden, Clair demonstrated the pruning, tying up, and training of the climbing rose 'Polka' in Bed 15N.  Types of support structures were also investigated.

Moving then to the Botanical Center Ahmanson Classroom and using blackboard diagrams to enhance his lecture, Clair explained the different types of climbers, i.e.,

Each participant was provided with a handout containing examples of roses in each category as a guide to planning a garden and seeking information on which would be most appropriate for a particular situation and individual taste.

As Orietta Sala states on page 223 in her book The World's Best Roses, "Through the ages, art has testified to the cultivation of climbing roses.  There are the voluptuous roses that intertwine with the cypress in the gardens of Persian miniatures, and the roses that cover the walls in Pompeian frescoes.  There are those that serve as a canopy for Madonnas in paintings, and that embrace colonnades and run over shrubs in Romantic prints."  However, until recent times, climbing roses have not attracted the attention of a great many hybridizers.  You may recall in the November-December 2003 issue of Subrosa, author Helene Pizzi, in reporting on the Rose Trials in Europe, stated, "Climbing roses are going ahead with a green light.  They are wanted, needed, and are being used more and more as they will give a wonderful show even in limited space." In our own Garden, 'Altissimo' against the front of the Tea Room is the perfect example of this statement.

On November 1, due to the arrival of much-needed rain the previous evening, the procedure was reversed and the lecture period was held in the Ahmanson Classroom at the beginning of the session, giving the grass time to dry somewhat.  Members were introduced to Shrub roses and given an explanation of the characteristics of these roses.    A Shrub is simply a rose that does not fit any other class.  Therefore, Shrub roses are a collection of very diverse types and origins.  One trait they possess that makes them unique is a more open and graceful growth, with canes that can extend upward and outward for six feet or more.  As we know, here in our own Garden, there are several that reach heights of at least twelve feet.   The types of Shrubs that were discussed are:

The classroom lecture included site selection, hours of sun, type of soil, watering and feeding schedules.

Moving into the Garden as the second part of the class, Pruning and Self-Pegging, along with using support structures and training of these rose were demonstrated.

There was also a discussion of the problems that can be encountered with roses, e.g., rose crown gall, insects, diseases, and rose mosaic virus.  Methods available to deal with these potential threats to rose growth and production were researched.

It is our plan to dig deeper (pardon the pun) into many of the subjects mentioned in this article throughout the coming year. (See the following article on 'Sally Holmes'.)  Should you have a particular area you would like to see published in Subrosa, please contact me at with a copy to Clair at . Thank you.

Bea Whyld, Rose/Shakespeare Gardens Docent


by Lasley Biven

A rose is a rose is in poetry and prose, but in a garden the right rose in the right place makes all the difference.

'Sally Holmes' is the official greeter when entering Mr. Huntington's Rose Garden.  As you leave the Shakespeare Garden and approach the white pergola, you will meet 'Sally'.  You might think you see a white bougainvillea or a large white hydrangea, but what you see is the rose 'Sally Holmes'.  A sight to be seen!

She majestically climbs the two pillars with a profusion of large white blossom clusters on the ends of soft leafy canes giving a top-heavy effect.  The blossoms are fragrant, and they are exceptionally long lasting as cut flowers.  This rose can be trained to wrap around a pillar or post, sprawl along a fence, or be tied for support on a trellis.  The secret lies in how you train the canes to grow horizontally or encourage them in the direction you want.

If you choose to plant 'Sally Holmes', you will create a striking focal point in your garden.  Whether it clambers along a fence or drapes itself over a garden structure, it will give your garden spectacular results.

'Sally' hails from England, introduced in 1976 by amateur hybridizer Robert A. Holmes.  'Sally' is the offspring of 'Ivory Fashion' X 'Ballerina' and classified as a modern Shrub (Hybrid Musk).  Its height--6' or more--needs lots of space and does well in zones 4 Ò 9.  With dark glossy leaves, the buds open with a hint of apricot to soft white masses of blossoms.  The blooming period is summer into fall.  The plant can also tolerate shade and still bloom, which we all know, is unusual for a rose.  The story goes the rose is named after Sally, Mr. Holmes wife.

This multiple award winner was destined to become a classic having received the 1975 Royal National Rose Society Trial Ground Certificate; 1979 Belfast Certificate of Merit; 1980 Baden Baden Gold Medal; 1993 Glasgow Fragrance Award; and the 1993 Portland Gold Medal Award.

One afternoon this past summer while in the Rose Garden, I had the good fortune to meet a member of the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) from England who was vacationing in California.  Since then this gentleman and I have been corresponding with information about 'Sally Holmes'.

The 'Sally Holmes' that you see in our garden was planted by Clair Martin four years ago.  It is obvious she likes her home in Mr. Huntington's Rose Garden.

Lasley Biven, Rose/Shakespeare Gardens Docent


by Jane Meek and Lisa Oddone

Once upon a time there were two fairy princesses, Princess Jane from the Isle of Wales, and Princess Lisa from the Land of Valley Girl.  They both had an incredible love of all living things and, as fate would have it, met one glorious day in the majestic Kingdom of Shakespeare located at The Huntington Library, Art Gallery and Botanical Gardens.

As they frolicked through the beds of beautiful flowers, trees and shrubs they both realized something was amiss.  How do we identify all of what we see?  We need to know so that we can pass this information on to the minions of people who frequent this most wondrous place.  Princess Jane began the task by drawing an overview of the lovely garden, complete with trees, beds and hard landscape.  Next, the fair maidens enlisted the help of Lord Clair and Lady Katarina to assist them in identifying all o' the flora grown in the Kingdom. 

With that the two set about dissecting each bed, drawing the shapes of the beds and placing the names of all the perennial plants on these individual drawings. 

But what do we do with the flowers that change with the seasons, they queried? Knave Michael suggested placing the drawings of the individual beds into a sleeve that could be written on with a magic pencil made of grease, thereby giving the maidens the ability to change the names of the flowers with the seasons.  All of the information was then compiled and placed into a notebook that could be shared; enabling all of those entrusted to pass this valuable knowledge on to our guests. 

With this done the princesses resumed their frolicking with wild abandon, and lived happily ever after.

Lisa Oddone and Jane Meek, Rose/Shakespeare Gardens Docents




by Clair Martin

Rose pruning will commence on Monday, January 5, 2004.  All are welcome to join us in the Rose Garden from 9:00 A.M. each weekday until pruning is finished in late January or early February.  No special training is required; we will provide on-the-job-training.  All you need are a pair of secateurs (pruners), gloves, and appropriate garden apparel and shoes.  This is a great opportunity to brush up on your pruning techniques and help us accomplish this immense task in the shortest time.

Rose Pruning Demonstrations will be hosted twice this New Year.  The first is on Saturday, January 3, followed the next week on Saturday, January 10, both from 9:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M. in The Huntington Rose Garden.  The theme for each session is "Rose Pruning:  Tools and Techniques".  This hands-on workshop will cover the right tools for the job and how to safely use them.  Tickets are available through The Huntington Education Department.  Reservations can be made by calling 626.405.2128.

Our December Workshop Holiday Meeting consisted of signing up for Volunteer slots at the upcoming Great Rosarians of the World lecture to be held here at The Huntington on Saturday, January 24, and Sunday, January 25, 2004; adjourning to a San Marino restaurant for a communal Holiday celebration; and returning to the Botanical Offices for some really great cheese cake to finish off the day.

On Saturday, January 24 we will be doing flower arranging for Friends Hall and setting up for the event banquet to be held that evening.

For this Great Rosarians IV lecture in this ongoing series, we are hosting, on Saturday evening, dinner to honor our speakers, Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix.  The dinner will be held in the Botanical Complex in the Richards Courtyard and Banta Hall from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  We will be offering Docent-led tours of the new facilities beginning at 4:30 p.m.

This year we have selected the theme "California Gold" for the dinner.  For entertainment the Lively Arts History Association will provide authentic music from the Gold Rush era.  We suggest you come dressed appropriate to the theme, in other words, casual.  The menu follows the theme with a California Gold country bar-be-cue.

Along with tours and musical entertainment, there will be door prizes and our two honorees will be presented.

Tickets for "California Gold" are $30.00 per person and can be ordered by contacting Clair.

If you have not signed up to volunteer, there is yet still time.  Contact Clair Martin by phone at 626.405.3507 or by email to determine what duties are open.  Volunteering at The Great Rosarians of the World Annual Lecture is a fantastic opportunity to meet a wide spectrum of rose hobbyists from across the country.  This year we will be hosting a number of dignitaries from the American Rose Society.  The ARS is holding a summit meeting in Pasadena that weekend, and many of the attendees from that event will be attending the Great Rosarians Lecture on Sunday.

Sunday's Great Rosarians event will start with a Plant Sale of own-root roses grown from The Huntington's Rose Garden collection by our Volunteers.  This sale will take place on the east side of the Pavilion entrance.  We will also be offering a new garden apron, specially designed for us, to commemorate this event.  These hunter green, three pocket, half aprons have a newly designed Great Rosarians' logo embroidered on the left pocket.  The aprons are constructed of a heavy cotton canvas and will sell for $25.00 each.

Estate Tours will be offered at 1:00 P.M. on Sunday.  Non-members need to pay the regular admission fee to participate in this activity.  Entry to the Gardens, Galleries, and Library is, for members, always free.

This has been a busy and productive year in the Rose & Perennial Gardens, and 2004 looks to be equally as challenging.  May your New Year be filled with roses and more roses, and thank you for all your help and good wishes.




Rose/Shakespeare Docents will soon be receiving a letter and calendar forms requesting your Garden Docent schedule for 2004.  Your response by February 2nd will be extremely helpful.  Please remember that weekends are the busiest days in the Garden and we are always in need of more Docents on those days. 


Pruning of roses begins January 5th and will continue through at least mid-February.  Clair will be out in the garden showing us how to prune--come join us and learn proper pruning techniques from the master as we ready the garden for its winter rest and magnificent spring bloom.  Bring your gloves, pruners, and yourself and join us in the garden.  No advance sign-up is required--just show up.

Dorothy Fansler, Myriam Hu, Jane Meek, Lisa Oddone, Priscilla Wardlow, Co-chair Committee of Five, Rose/Shakespeare Gardens

Subrosa Staff

Editor-in-Chief:  Clair Martin 
Editor:   Bea Whyld
Photographic Editor:  Priscilla Wardlow
Writers Martha Burkard
  Katarina Eriksson
  Dorothy Fansler
Guest Writers:  Lasley Biven
  Eileen Felbinger
  Shirley Kerins
  Dick Malott
  Jane Meek
  Lisa Oddone
Rome Reporter: Helene Pizzi