Rain doesn't stop Rose Society from planting, teaching

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Lee Ann Sides Garrett
For the Salisbury PostAvid rose enthusiasts braved the rain Saturday morning to plant roses in the Triangle Rose Garden on West Innes Street near Summerset Funeral Home. Four members of Rowan Rose Society gathered at the garden to plant 35 roses donated by Jackson and Perkins, a large rose hybridizer on the West Coast.
“Everyone has different schedules and we wanted to have as many people helping as we could,” said society Vice President Jack Page. “The roses have to be watered anyway. We’re just getting a little wet.”
The Society wanted to use the opportunity to teach others about planting roses and invited the event a public. Four people came to watch and learn. Society President Robert Myers explained each step as he planted a rose and answered questions about such topics as planting depth, care and products to use.
Fred Brown Jr. drove from Concord to see if anyone would be there in the rain. Brown prepared a bed last fall and is ready to begin planting. Dressed in a raincoat, Brown asked questions and scribbled notes on a damp piece of paper.
“I’m just getting into roses,” Brown said. “I read some about it, but here I can see hands-on. I got a lot from this.”
Myers, who has a degree in nursery management from Penn State, explained that roses can be planted until late May. Any later and they get stressed from the heat. Myers said roses usually last about 25 years and most die either after planting or at the start of the season. Planting methods are important he said.
The garden was established in April of 1976. John Lowery, who was a social worker at the Rowan County Department of Social Services and a member of the Rose Society, looked out his window and saw the perfect place for a rose garden. The city ran water lines to the property for irrigation and Jackson and Perkins sent 200 donated roses by refrigerated truck for the project.
Myers said the 35 roses Jackson and Perkins donated this time were sent through the mail. The plants arrived in February and were bare root, meaning they had no soil and the roots were wrapped in plastic or newspaper. Myers planted them in black pots and cared for them at his home until time to plant. Myers used the planting as a sort of experiment. Some of the roses were planted with a new product he wanted to test and others weren’t.
Gwen Comadoll, from Minnesota, was in town visiting her son and stopped by to ask about protecting roses from cold weather.
“I’ve tried the cones and they don’t work,” Comadoll said. “Now I have some new things to try.”
Gary Mallett stood in the rain while his wife Barbara took notes under an umbrella. Gary said he and Barbara are semi-retired and learning how to garden.
“Write that down,” Gary said after hearing a good idea.
“I’m the secretary of the gardening,” Barbara said, laughing. “He’s the worker.”
Myers said that although growing roses can be fun and fulfilling, they’re a lot of work. Triangle Garden chairman Ben Agner watches over the garden all year. Two groups work on maintaining it in the summer. One group deadheads, or prunes, and the other sprays. Agner said the garden has about 300 roses in it of different varieties. The 35 new roses replace some that were lost through a combination of the drought and the late-spring freeze last April.
“Roses are like children,” said Myers. “There’s always something to do with them.”
The Rose Society meets every third Tuesday February through June and September though November. Dues are $15 per year.
“We have a good time,” said Carolyn Alexander past society president and consulting rosarian. “Everything’s educational.”
For information about the society, call Myers at 704-639-1706.