Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Why I Do The Things I Do

Many years ago I obtained the book “Roses for Every Garden” by R. C. Allen. It was as inspirational to me then as it is now and Mr. Allen’s reasons for writing it ring true to me today. I quote from Mr. Allen’s foreword both because he says it so well and to acknowledge the influence of those who have gone before.

“Somehow, the idea that roses are difficult has crept into our horticultural thinking, perhaps because we expect greater perfection from roses than from other flowers. Then in our efforts to excel we have made rose growing laborious, time consuming, even costly and lost the recreation and inspiration that more modest aims can provide” Mr. Allen wrote those words in 1948 and they still ring true.

But as Bob Dylan says, “the times they are a changin”. Roses like Knockout are showing gardeners they too can grow roses without fuss, the “Green” movement throughout the world is thankfully creating demand for plants grown without chemicals, smaller gardens mean roses must be integrated into the general planting and today’s busy lifestyles means roses growing must simplify and be less time consuming.

What prodded this entry was a question I’ve been asked many times. How did you develop your methods of growing roses? It came about from many years of raising my own roses, caring for other people’s roses, talking and being influenced by other rose people but most of all because many years ago I fell in love with roses, the simplicity of gardening and saw no reason why the two should be mutually exclusive. Today after close to twenty years of growing roses, including six years running a rose care company in Los Angeles and ten years as the owner of my own rose nursery, I feel even more strongly about it.

Mr. Allen in closing his foreword some 60 years ago said this. “This book is intended to strip rose culture of its complications….It removes bewilderment or uncertainty and, with success, the growing of roses becomes a rich and satisfying experience.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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