The next scheduled editorial item has been kid’s garden and since I decided I needed just one more festive Halloween decoration to delight the Trick or Treaters and fell out of the attic while trying to retrieve it there has been a slight delay to the kid’s garden. Last week Michael reminded me of the incredible challenges Stephen Hawking overcomes and is still productive so he said get that blog up and keep your readers informed that disaster has stricken the wordsmith of gagasgarden. Now the inspiration of this very blog Tanna, my daughter-in-law pulls out all the stops and sends me a heart wrenching little picture of my grandson, adorable 4 year old Erik looking out over a barren waste land that is supposed to be his little kid’s garden and captions it “Erik wondering why he doesn’t see a kid’s garden.” Why doesn’t she just come out and say “you slacker, Gaga, all you have is a shattered foot, a dislocated finger, a smashed knee, bruises from elbow to shoulder and every time you here a cricket you scream and run like you have heard a grenade go off, why can’t you just move beyond this little set back?
This week I decided to fill in a few things and tell you how it all began with me and gardening. When I was a kid my mother loved to be in the yard and wanted me to help her and I wanted no part of it. I hated weeding and I could not understand why she liked it. It was when I got older and had my own yard and then inherited her rose garden that everything was different, as is often the case, isn’t it? Rose growing and gardening is a passion not a hobby or a past time.
I have lots of things very important to me — a love of gardening, kids and having fun whiling spending time with both. Inheriting my childhood home and my mother’s rose garden in Northern Illinois, I needed to learn quickly how to take care of the garden. There was a beautiful rose garden in Libertyville Illinois and the Libertyville Men’s Garden Club took care of it so I thought that would be a good place to ask how to take care of roses. That started me on a passion I now have for growing, taking care of and showing roses.
Rose growing has for many years been the passion and hobby of royalty from the ancient Chinese to the most splendid gardens of royalty throughout the world. Rose gardens grace the lands of the rich and famous to landed gentry throughout the globe. All are drawn together by the common bond of the most mystical and romantic of flowers, the rose. Although perceived as difficult to grow and maintain, roses are both hearty and forgiving to the best-meaning novice.
What happened next when I went to the Libertyville Men’s Garden Club and asked for their assistance is memorable. Len Arthur, who was a tenured member of the club, called himself an octogenarian rosarian, painstakingly began to cultivate a future rosarian from raw talent, me. With speech as slow as a nocturnal sloth Mr. Arthur spoke and I listened, passing the craft onto the next generation. Mr. Arthur encouraged me to begin showing roses in local rose shows in a society that was largely male dominated at the time by doctors and scientists. One of my high points was having the garden featured on the Northern Illinois Rose Growers Garden Tour and a particularly talented rose sage commenting, “You have achieved perfect rose culture.” Sweeping many shows with blue ribbons as a novice, I was encouraged by Len and other senior members of the society to enter a national show in which I won a national trophy for best Climbing Rose, Tempo.
The story of Tempo is an amazing story that needs to be told. My son, Michael, worked at an auto dealership for the summer in Northern Illinois. Knowing my love of roses and of course walking along the side walk past the rose garden everyday, one beautiful Saturday morning Michael called and insisted that I come over to the car dealership and test drive a Pontiac Tempo. Anyone that went for a test drive would receive a complimentary Jackson & Perkins Tempo Climbing rose bush. Touched by Michael’s observance of my passion I went for the test drive and came home with the rose bush in hand. That bush, planted and fertilized by organics of eggshells and coffee grounds, grew to be a most spectacular specimen. That year the Northern Illinois Rose Society hosted the American Rose Society’s (ARS) National Convention and I entered Tempo in the Best Climber Category, Climbing Rose Illinois during the national show that year Michael selected a spectacular specimen and it was entered in the national show. The rest is history. Tempo was selected “Best Climber” in show.
Did You Know . . . the wonderful inspiring fragrance of rose has a scientific basis? The unmistakable fragrance is the plant’s precious essential oil evaporating from its petals. About 60,000 roses yield one ounce of 100% pure rose essential oil, making it one of the most costly aromatherapy oils. No wonder rose oil was a gift of royalty. The Garden is a gathering place. Over the next few weeks I will tell you about all the wonderful things that have taken place in the garden while family, friends, neighbors, kids, pets and just about every kind of creature have come to the garden for the wine and rose tours. Unless I rise above my challenges and get the kid’s garden completed.