By Nancy Martin and Maria Portello
When we arrived at The Huntington for our first adventure since becoming Rose/Shakespeare Docents, a Coach USA luxury motor bus was waiting for us to board. Shortly, we were on our way to Rose Story Farm. On the bus ride to Carpinteria everyone was chatting and laughing and enjoying the article on our destination in the Martha Stewart Living magazine.
On arrival we were greeted by Danielle Hahn, who with her husband Bill, owns Rose Story Farm. She shared with us some of the early history of the farm including the fact the farm was the home of a Captain Smith who built the house in 1882. Rose Story Farm began in 1998 when Danni and Bill decided to replace their lemon and avocado farm with a ?rose farm.? Their mission has been, from the very first day, to produce beautiful, fragrant, roses of the highest quality. They started with 1,000 roses and now grow 18,000. The uniqueness of their business is that roses are grown for the cut flower market. In fact, we were able to view the employees filling a last-minute order that was phoned in the morning of our trip.
Danni introduced us to Dan Bifano, a rosarian who had worked on Oprah Winfrey?s garden at her home in Santa Barbara. We were then divided into two groups for touring with the two of us in Dan?s group. The growing fields were a blaze of color. Dan shared with us some of his favorites: ?Veteran?s Honor?, a large red rose; ?Ambridge Rose?, a David Austin apricot; and ?Neptune?, a lovely lavender.
Some of our favorites were: ?Remember Me? (orange); ?Heaven on Earth? (peach) and in our opinion rightfully named for its place in these fields; ?Hot Cocoa? (a lovely terra cotta tone and good for Spanish style homes) and ?Fame? (dark pink). We were delighted to view the new ?Julia Child?, a beautiful yellow Floribunda that Julia, who was a friend of Danni and Bill, picked to be named for her prior to her passing away.
A delicious buffet lunch was served in the garden in country style ambiance, and this along with a visit to the gift shop completed our day.
On the way home, with some napping or talking quietly, we decided if this was a typical field trip for Garden Docents, we would be on the bus each time if at all possible.
Nancy Martin and Maria Portello, Rose/Shakespeare Gardens Docents