St. Elmo couple grows 100 varieties of roses

St. Elmo couple grows 100 varieties of roses

May 14th, 2011 by Holly Leber in Life Entertainment

Scott and Olga Drucker stand in their garden in St. Elmo. She and her husband have over 100 types of roses in their garden. The two are the owners of Dream Gardens Landscape Design & Installation. Staff Photo by Allison Carter/Chattanooga Times Free Press

Scott and Olga Drucker love to bring their work home. As owners of Dream Gardens Landscape Design & Installation, the Druckers spend hours making other people's gardens beautiful, but they still have plenty of time and passion to work on their own.

"We're just inspired by the European gardens," Mr. Drucker said of the couple's St. Elmo home, which is surrounded by about 100 types of roses.

The Druckers' rose bushes are mixed with evergreens, perennials, herbs and other plants. The scents of rosemary and jasmine mingle with the aroma of the roses.

Recently, the Druckers said they visited the Sissinghurst Castle Garden in Kent, England.

"In this area, there aren't a lot of people into horticulture," Mr. Drucker said. "It's something we love for ourselves."

The couple's garden has inspired a pair of local artists. Sandra Babb and Rena Malone, who both enjoy painting outdoors, had been spending time in St. Elmo when they spotted the Druckers' home.

"I just passed that house and thought, 'That's a really nice place to paint,'" Babb said. "It looks like a dream."

Malone said she was inspired by "the beauty of it, all the colors, the roses, the lights and the darks. We saw Scott's house and, oh,

we just fell in love with the yard. It's just amazing."

The Druckers, who met in Atlanta, have artistic backgrounds - she in modern art, he in graphic design.

"Landscaping is a a kind of art also," Ms. Drucker said.

The couple said they adore antique roses. The antiques "have so much interest, so many different styles," Mr. Drucker said.

In one spot in the yard, there are purple cyclamens mixed with small pink fairy roses and larger peach-colored English heritage roses. They use evergreens to keep the garden looking lush all year long and to create contrast, a factor Mr. Drucker said is important. They prefer pale roses, which expand the space.

"White will brighten up your garden and make it look larger," he said.

The couple also have fig and olive trees (inspired by Italian gardens), Caldwell pink roses, hardy rugosa roses and spiderwort (a purple perennial) juxtaposed with Mexican evening primrose.

"I want [the roses] to be blooming for a long period," Mr. Drucker said, "and if you get different kinds, they'll bloom all year."

The mixture also adds texture and color.

"We just like an explosion of color," Ms. Drucker said.

Along the edge of some of the beds is liriope, a grasslike flowering plant. Grass, however, is not welcome in the Drucker garden. The pair say they much prefer to use florals as ground cover, with some pebbled pathways for walking. On the side of the house are American pillar roses, which grow at Claude Monet's garden in Giverny.

In the back garden is a secluded area under a covering of vines, with a table and chairs set up.

They created the romantic atmosphere, which overlooks a small fountain, by taking the top off what Mr. Drucker described as a "cheap gazebo from Lowe's," and planting akebia vines and Cecile Brunner roses, two rapidly climbing plants.

Near the table are bamboo plants in planters. Later in the year, hydrangeas and ferns will bloom.

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