Perfect Rose owners venture to Denmark
By Susan Shinn Turner
For The Salisbury Post
To be sure, Jack Page and Robert Myers, the owners of A Perfect Rose, are into roses.
But these two are REALLY into roses — so much so, that they recently attended the World Federation of Rose Societies meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Every third year, a new president is elected at a world convention. In between, there are regional events. Robert judged his first regional event in 2013 in New Zealand. The two also attended regional meetings in Lyon, France, in 2015, and Uruguay in 2017. Along the way, they’ve made many friends and learned a whole lot about roses and gardens.
Their gardens surrounding their Mediterranean-style home in Forest Glen are a show garden for their business. The gardens are a hybrid of Baroque Renaissance, English and Italian styles. Although they mainly take care of hybrid tea roses for some 300 residential and commercial customers from Winston-Salem to Columbia, Jack and Robert’s own gardens house a variety of roses — hybrid teas, floribunda, knockout and David Austin English roses.
In Denmark, the two were part of an American delegation that included about 70 people, many of whom, like Jack and Robert, are heavily involved in the American Rose Society. They were the only members from the Carolinas. Robert is chairman of the horticulture judges for the Carolina District of the American Rose Society, while Jack, an architect by training, serves as district treasurer.
Founded in 1892, The American Rose Society is one of the country’s largest and oldest horticultural societies. The Copenhagen event ran from June 28-July 4. There were lectures in the mornings, followed by tours in the afternoons.
“We saw a lot of castles,” Robert quips. And they saw lot of climbing roses that are lower maintenance than the hybrid teas.
Robert began working with roses in 1999, and he and Jack opened A Perfect Rose in 2007. Their commercial customers include the Catholic Diocese in Charlotte, and three properties of Carolinas Healthcare. They also take care of the rose garden at the presidential residence at Furman University.
Jack retired as an architect in 2001, and now manages the company full-time, something he’d done from the beginning. Besides taking care of the all the accounting and bookkeeping, he also speaks to garden clubs, while Robert works closely with clients.
Jack’s nephew, Mike Tate, and Donny Buchanan are their two longtime employees.
“They are hardworking and amazing,” Jack says. “They just take it and go.”
Jack admits he was worried that their clients would eventually age out and that younger clients wouldn’t be interested in roses. He was wrong.
“We have clients who are in their 30s and have young children,” he says. “They want roses like their grandmothers had, but they don’t have time to take care of them.”
He adds, “Our business is a boutique business. It’s expensive to have roses, and a good portion of our clientele is wealthy. But we also have middle-class clients. For them, roses are a luxury they want.”
“Any time we go to a customer’s home, we often see roses on the window sill or the dining room table,” Robert says. “It’s a really good feeling to know they’ve enjoyed their roses. When I see that, I know I’ve done my part.”
On their trip, Jack and Robert enjoyed adding to their knowledge base.
“The lectures were very educational,” Jack adds. “Every season is different.”
“Growing roses is just like farming,” Robert notes.
“You have to go with what Mother Nature throws at you,” Jack says. “What’s made us ridiculously successful is that Robert talks to everyone the same way, and tells it like it is.”
“You have to explain things to people,” Robert says. “I talk about all the steps we go through, and I talk about our pricing. Then they can tell me yay or nay.”
“Robert is the master of the roses and the gardens and customer service,” Jack says. “And I do everything else!”
“Communication is extremely important,” Robert says. “If you don’t have communication, it all falls apart.”
Jack and Robert are partners in business and life. Together since 1999, they married in 2016 at the encouragement of Robert’s two daughters.
They’ve already marked their calendars for the next World Federation meeting in Australia in 2021, at which Robert is tentatively scheduled to serve as a judge. In 2019, he’s also been invited to judge the International Rose Trial in Baden-Baden, Germany.
Closer to home, Jack and Robert are members of the Rowan, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, and South Carolina rose societies. Robert is vice president of the Rowan Rose Society and president of the Charlotte Rose Society. Jack is the former president of the Rowan Rose Society and currently edits its newsletter. He is chairman for the Charlotte Rose Show, slated for Oct. 6 at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens in Belmont.
On Sept. 22, Jack and Robert will host the Rowan Rose Society’s annual ice cream social at their home. Rowan Rose Society meets the third Tuesday of the month at John Calvin Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall Annex, 1620 Brenner Avenue. For additional information about the Rowan Rose Society, contact Jack Page at email@example.com