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“It’s just like having children”: Rowan Rose Show winners share insights

By Andie Foley
For the Salisbury Post

Sara Hill and Robert Myers may have claimed several dozen first place titles at this year’s Rowan Rose Show, but the pair has more in common than blue ribbons. These passionate rosarians both liken rose growing to rearing children.

“You’ve got to water them. You’ve got to feed them,” said Hill. “If they get sick, you’ve got to give them medicine.”

Myers took the metaphor even further.

“You have to nurture them. You have to show them how to do things,” he said.

Hill and Myers discussed these similarities during the 55th Annual Rowan Rose Show, held Saturday at the old J.C. Penney building in West End Plaza. This yearly event is sponsored by the Rowan Rose Society.

Between Hill and Myers are over 50 years of rose growing experience. Hill, who began her venture into rose gardening in 1984, took Best in Show this year with a giraffe-themed arrangement containing golden- and sienna- colored blossoms.

The flowers, called Gold Medal and Pumpkin Patch respectively, were picked and arranged that morning.

“I love to do the arrangements,” Hill said. “That’s my fun thing.”

Hill was quick to note that arranging would not be possible without growing, a process she also finds quite therapeutic and rewarding. Her garden of around 50 bushes often attracts visits from neighbors and passersby, many of whom are looking for insight on how to grow roses with similar success.

Successful gardens, Hill says, come from cultivating a support system.

“You need to join a rose society or contact someone like a consulting rosarian that can tell you what you need to begin,” she said when asked what novice gardeners need to know.

Myers, with his own 800 rose bushes and professional rose gardening business, took home 44 first place titles at this year’s show. For this accredited rosarian and judge for international rose shows, another key factor to beautiful blossoms is time.

“No one has a black thumb,” he said. “A lot of time it’s having the time. People (plant roses) … but they forget to water them or something and that sets them back.”

Fortunately, gardening setbacks do not mean failure. Harkening back to that metaphor of roses and child-rearing, Myers offered fellow growers advice.

“Roses are a lot like children. … If you’re away on vacation and you come back, you have to retrain them,” he said with a laugh.

With so many ribbons near their nurtured and well-trained flowers, Hill and Myers left the show not only successful ‘parents,’ but proud ones as well.

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