By Pamela Greenewald
Pam Greenewald grows roses at Angel Garden’s new location north of Alachua, Florida. Visits to the nursery are by appointment only. Group tours welcome. Classes offered. Call 352-359-1133 or visit www.angelgardens.com for more info.
The same satisfaction a parent receives from watching the daily unfoldment of his
offspring into capable, responsible and beautiful human beings is my equal reward in
the daily cultivation of my roses. Their will to live and flourish, blossom and reproduce
themselves, their unique and individual personalities, their constant renewal and desire
to please, remind me so much of my own four children raised in a loving country home,
responding well to the natural way they were being raised and allowed to thrive in an
environment of freedom, respect and most of all, love.
A child wants to be the best he can be as does the Rose. Given proper care, enough
sun, water, food and mulch, the rose senses the love surrounding it on a daily basis and
responds accordingly. It never ceases to amaze me when I have been ignoring a rose (it
doesnʼt take but a few days), it is as if from lack of attention from his human, he (or
she) will start to come apart from the seams. Then when I return, pull some weeds,
deadhead his flowers, cut off die-back, water well and give him some nutrition the next
day finds him with new leaves looking all healthy, happy and beautiful from just my
showering of energy and attention. It seems as though the Lord intended that there be a
symbiotic relationship between man (woman) and rose in order for each to grow
properly. We depend on each other.
Now I know that wild species roses never needed man for anything, naturally
disease-free and growing where they please. In the 1942 edition of My Friend the
Rose, Francis E. Lester states that one chief cause for disease in the garden is neglect.
He says, “The neglected garden, like the neglected child, invites the attention of bugs.
A well-fed rose is more resistant than a half-starved one.” Same with children.
When people tell me their roses are hard to grow, I have to ask how much water they
gave, did they mulch? What soil did they plant them in? Were they planted in shade?
People sometimes do not realize how important it is to treat plants (roses) as living
beings like us. If you are hot in summer, so is the rose. If you are thirsty every day, so is
the rose. Treat him like a family member and he will live a long time providing more
than a lifetime of blooms and lovely foliage.
My children need plenty of water every day, the right food, a blanket of mulch, and
plenty of sunshine. If they donʼt get fresh air, as in the greenhouse, they are susceptible
to spider mites (head lice?) and other insects. I worry about them constantly and
wonder about their placement in the yard. I read about their individual behaviors and I
try to shape them to be happy, healthy roses. Sometimes they grab me when I walk by
because they need some attention.
Sometimes I tend to feel guilty because I have too many Rose Children and I am like
that “old woman in the shoe”. I am not able to care for them all in a timely manner as far
as feeding them at the right time, or keeping enough mulch on every one of them. I give
too much sul-po-mag in the hot summer and burn their roots, not composting the horse
manuer enough either. It really pains me to see the leaves burned and I do not even
use chemicals! My poor children forgive me, drop their leaves and start over fresh with a
brand new set of beautiful dark green leaves. They let me know just what they need
from the colors of their leaves.
These are a few of my favorite things:
- When I am able to finally place a rose in the yard (after agonizing over it for 1 – 3 years)
- To finally watch him grow and change and thrive daily into a mature young rose.
- Seeing a bud open into a bloom- Thatʼs magic!
- Watching a young seedling bloom for the first time.
- A newly established rose making new leaves.
- Even when my roses become pregnant with seed (hips) it is a joy to anticipate becoming a grandmother to their offspring.
- Each rose is unique just like people with their own personalities. Each one has its own qualities and special characteristics. Each one has his good days and his bad- just like us. It gives me great joy to raise my roses just like I raised my children: allowing them the freedom to grow healthy and blossom into who they were meant to be