As I wrote in Fine Gardening, it was while I was living in England that I fell in love with cottage gardens and English roses. After Chris and I moved back across the pond I was determined to plan an American version of the British original. The trick was finding a way to create "the look" given our differences in climate and growing conditions. I've been working on the challenge for almost six years.

If you look at the photos here of my garden you'd think I'd succeeded royally. To some extent I have. However, I must finally face the reality my little patch of earth will never be another Mottisfont or Sissinghurst. True, I have a fabulous display of blooms from the end of May through June. Then the garden slowly deteriorates until it is a sorry, tangled, blackspot-infested mess by September. If I go on holiday for even a week it starts to get away from me. (Which would you rather do, play golf in Ireland for ten days or stay home and spray the bee balm for mildew?) The delphiniums keel over from the heat, the artemesia 'Powis Castle' spreads like The Blob and my English roses act like they're revolting against foreign soil. There has to be a better way.

Fortunately everyone knows a garden is a work in progress. So as of this spring my garden will once again be under construction. Check back periodically to see how I'm getting along. Or e-mail me with suggestions. At the moment I'm just moving plants around on paper.

Of course it was a tough decision to tweak the garden. All that work. All that money! But as the catalogues stream in I'm starting to feel that familiar flutter of excitement. You know, the adrenaline rush all gardeners experience when anticipating beautiful things to come.

Lynn's Rose Tips

* You get what you pay for – don't buy a cheap rose at the grocery or discount store and expect it to thrive. These roses are a bargain for a reason. Don't buy anything less than #1 grade.

* On the other hand, don't put a $20 rose in a $2 hole. The time you take to prepare the hole for your new rose will reap rewards later.

* Don't buy roses with waxed canes. How would you like to be standing outside on a 95-degree day with your arms covered in wax?

* Before selecting a rose it's a good idea to check out its rating with the American Rose Society. Many roses, particularly some of the older hybrid teas, are not vigorous and will only disappoint you. Ask for a copy of the current ARS Handbook for Selecting Roses.

* Don't forget to throw a banana peel and clippings from your haircuts into the hole before planting your rose. If you want to know why, e-mail me!