This Weekend: Coming Up Roses at the Outdoor Living Expo

Gazebo Reflections: Author Rose Bartlett will appear in featured talks both days at this weekend’s Asheville Outdoor Expo, sponsored by Carolina Home + Garden.

It’s hard not to “go there” with gently appropriate name puns when talking to the garden entrepreneur Rose Bartlett, owner of Rose’s Garden Shop in Asheville and co-author, with her late husband Michael, of the Bartlett Book of Garden Elements. (Published in 2014 by Godine, it’s a meticulously researched guide to arbors, gazebos, furniture, water features, architectural embellishments, and every other accessory of a stylish outdoor space.)

But in a recent Q&A with Carolina Home + Garden, Rose confesses that she never liked her “old-fashioned” name growing up, and even balked at naming her garden shop after herself, until savvy friends convinced her otherwise.

These days, though, she’s embraced being Rose, as she has the trend of vintage garden furniture and accessories. “It’s a good idea to have some design consistency or philosophy when you scout out vintage finds,” she advised Carolina Home + Garden. “Decide if you’re aiming for a cottage look, a Victorian sensibility, Arts and Crafts design, or mid-century modern … a cottage-look plant scheme would be more informal, with old-fashioned plants like hollyhocks, poppies, and roses. In the Victorian era, ‘bedding out’ (controlled planting of colorful annuals) was the rage, while an Arts and Crafts palette would be restrained with more architectural form. But I think the bottom line is to have fun with your garden and experiment.”

She’ll give more advice April 23 and 24 at the CH+G-sponsored Asheville Outdoor Living Expo, held in Fletcher. On Saturday at 2pm and on Sunday at noon, she’ll discuss key parts of the book in a talk titled “Challenges and Choices: The Bartlett Book of Garden Elements.”

In writing their seminal guide, the couple traveled to two-dozen countries and took 1,000 photographs. So it’s safe to say this Rose is an expert in her field — by any name.

The Asheville Outdoor Living Expo happens at the WNC Agricultural Center on Saturday, April 23 and Sunday, April 24. For more information, see


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