Monday, June 1, 2009

A Fresh Wind In The Rose Garden

"I don't want to try growing roses because they are fussy and need a lot of spraying"

Boy, if I had a dime for every time I heard that at a garden show I'd be independently wealthy. For years and years I felt we were swimming against the tide by trying to tell people that Garden Roses were different from Exhibition/Florist Roses and in fact are quite easy to care for.

Fast forward to last weekend. I was at the North Carolina Arboretum speaking at a rose event organized by the Asheville Blue Ridge Rose Society. They do a rose exhibition for the general public every year there. Members bring roses and they are set out in vases on tables, but it is not a rose show with judging etc. Instead the idea is to showcase the diversity of The Rose with blooms cut straight from their garden. They do a great job also with talks and a question and answer table. I did my talk "Roses Are Plants Too" and then stuck around for a few hours to answer questions.

For the first time I can remember, everyone from the general public I spoke to was open to trying Garden Roses and actually knew what they were. Personally I think the rose Knockout has a lot to do with this changing of minds. I suspect the Garden Forums, articles on easier care roses and even TV programs are also driving that effort.

Whatever the cause it was great to spend a beautiful sunny day in the mountains of North Carolina, talking roses and not feeling like the odd man out.

"I'd love to try some other garden roses because they are among the best plants in my garden" is what I hear now. And I love it! And then sell them a rose of course!


  1. Paul,

    What great news. I am constantly encouraging people who think roses are too hard that they can grow them. Right now, with the roses in full bloom (including many from you), the garden is just gorgeous. You can see some of them here:

    -Heirloom Gardener

  2. Beautiful photos. The brick walk sets the roses off wonderfully!