For the Love of Compost- A Tale of Roses and Horse Manure

8 years ago


From botrytis blight to thrips roses get a bum rap and rightly so. They’re susceptible to all sorts of gnarly fungal diseases and house unwelcome guests. Currently, my sole Chris Evert rose bush suffers from rust. If I’m lucky I get a few blooms and efflorescence is always staggered. Hmpf.

The secret to the beautiful blooms pictured above? “It’s the compost,” says Nicola Lagudis with a smile.


Nicola, a realtor, broker and not your typical home gardener, waxes enthusiastically about the many benefits of composting, “my roses are disease resistant.” I press on for answers.

“It all started with Valentine’s Day roses from my husband,” says Nicola. “Cut flowers are expensive and die quickly. Instead he bought me rose bushes.” Years later, her floriferous garden boasts over 150 rose shrubs.

But roses aren’t the only way to Nicola’s heart. She is equally passionate about compost. Not just run-of-the-mill kitchen scraps and grass clippings type of compost. Nicola composts horse manure.

Horse Clods

An avid equestrian, Nicola is the proud caretaker of three horses including a former racehorse. “Shamu, Sugar and Turbo each produce 35 pounds of manure per day. The world has too much trash. Why not make food?”

Shamu, Sugar and Turbo


Determined to reduce household waste and driven to maintain her roses organically and in tiptop shape, Nicola ventured into composting horse manure.

She began with the modest Back Porch ComposTumbler suitable for the urban gardener. Eager to produce more compost she quickly graduated to the 22 cubic feet capacity Original ComposTumbler.

More ComposTumbler

She has reduced her household waste by 75 percent and is aiding a local coffee shop reduce their waste by recycling their coffee grounds. The end result is what Nicola lovingly refers to as, “espresso blend compost.”

A short 14 days later:

Espresso Blend Compost 

Rich, crumbly, cocoa scented organic fertilizer.

Nicola’s composting aspirations don’t end in her backyard. Her next goal is to eliminate Waste Management pick-ups at the horse stalls. “It costs $175.00 per month to dispose of the horse manure. Three composters cost $1,220.00; they’ll pay for themselves in 7 months and the organic plant food produced is gravy,” says Nicola.

Espresso blend sample in hand, I drove away with compost dreams of my own. I too wanted to churn out black gold every 14 days.  

Here is my compost heap:

My Compost Heap

It takes me 2 to 3 months to produce compost in an uncontained pile.

I won’t be getting a trotter anytime soon. Instead I’m giving the unused Tumbleweed Compost Tumbler sitting in my backyard a second chance. Wish me luck!  

Nicola’s Espresso Blend:
Horse Manure
Starbucks Coffee Grounds
Kitchen Scraps
Pine Shavings
Dry Leaves


In honor of Nicola – Espresso blend on my lone rose bush. I have high hopes.

My Roses

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