As I end my series on "Visiting England", it is time to tell you about the greatest moment of my trip.
When I contacted the David Austin headquarters for some hotel suggestions (I stayed at the Park House Hotel and loved it!), I ended up corresponding quite a bit with a lovely woman named Cheryl. She started reading my blog and it was like we were old friends by the time I arrived for my visit.
I knew that the David Austins (father & son) were private, hard-working men and that meeting them was not "the norm" for visitors to the Rose Garden and Plant Centre. But if anyone loves their roses, it's me, so I let my wish be known to Cheryl.
Lo and behold, they both happened to arrive at the gift shop while I was there! Cheryl introduced me to David Austin Jr. and prompted me to show him my DELIGHT tote that features their pale pink English Rose Heritage on the cover (to see my bag click Delight Totes button, then scroll down to "Visiting England"). He loved it and handed me the cut rose he was carrying in appreciation.
Next walked in the rose genius himself, David Austin. Cheryl introduced me as an inspirational writer that came "all the way from America" to meet him (true!). It was so wonderful to be able to look this gardener in the eye and tell him: "Your roses make me the happiest and I wanted to thank you myself." He seemed genuinely pleased, liked my DELIGHT tote and loved that I had a "Lillian Austin" rose (which he named after his mother) in my garden in America.
It was at the point when I started naming which of his roses I had in my garden, that I started crying. Yes, it is true. You know me by now and sometimes I love things so much that my emotions hit "tilt." He didn't seem to mind, though, he simply offered me the cut rose in his hand as well. A David Austin rose from David Austin himself.
Hoping to capture the moment, I took the photo above. These are the Gertrude Jekyll roses they gave me on a chair in the Plant Centre, along with a map of the grounds and the rose-print tissues I had to buy to dry my eyes.