Let's play "What's My line". These two delightful ladies have many things in common but mostly one thing in common. The many things are 200+ roses, and the one thing is the nursery that is comprised of those roses. You might ask Linda Rengarts on the left if she owns a rose nursery. She would answer, no, I do not. You might ask Cydney Wade on the right, "Did you start your own rose nursery from scratch?" And she would say, no, I did not.
Not to be too cute, I'll just cut to the chase. Linda is the one who started her own rose nursery from scratch, and Cyd is the one who now owns the rose nursery. She bought Linda's nursery last December. Linda and Cyd are the former and present proprietors of my famous favorite rose nursery, Rose Petals Nursery currently in Newberry, Florida.
Cyd and Linda wanted to see my garden in person, and I wanted them to take some cuttings from several of my roses, so they rode about an hour south on I-75 from Gainesville to Ocala this hot Sunday afternoon. Cuttings are important to small own-root rose nurseries. They are the seeds of next season's product line. Usually, cuttings are taken from their own bushes, but if there's a rose that they don't have, they have to buy the plant just like the rest of us and wait for it to become mature enough to tolerate cutting off several inches of cane. Or someone like me who grows the wanted rose can donate cuttings that will provide stock and a mother plant for the nursery. Most importantly, this donation puts a rose in commerce for other rosarians to grow and enjoy. The more people who grow a rose the less likely it is to disappear forever. Linda and Cyd turned their love of roses into a business that will perpetuate Old Garden Roses for decades and perhaps even generations.
It is a very exciting thing to me to be a part of perpetuating these roses beyond the reach of my small garden. So it was an easy thing to live for an extra week with crispy deadheads all over my roses. Deadheads that would have gone to the county compost pile or been dropped under the roses will make new plants that one day, hopefully, some of you will plant in your garden. To me that is very cool!
Plus I feel like I have a vested interest in seeing that Cyd's efforts are successful and her nursery lives long and prospers. With shipping costs as they are a Florida own-root OGR nursery is like money in the bank for Florida gardeners, and the quality of her rose plants is second to none. The truth is that I want all small nurseries to live long and prosper, and hopefully, gardeners all across the country will be their frequent customers. However, having a Florida nursery that raises - and proves - roses in Florida's conditions gives Florida gardeners that extra ounce of assurance that a rose will prosper in their garden. That's a good thing, as is keeping Florida dollars in the hands of Floridians during these tough economic times. Gardeners in every state should feel the same way.
Cyd is in the process of relocating the nursery - bush by bush - seven miles down the road to the 100-acre ranch that she happily shares with her husband, Art, and lots of antique horses, antique cattle and untold numbers of chickens that lay delicious eggs. I'm sure she is excitedly busy designing the layout of the new gardens and collecting ideas of all sorts for the parts and pieces that go into making a garden beautiful and customer friendly. She's a sweetheart and dedicated to the task before her. Not least of all is the support and encouragement that Linda gives freely to Cyd even going so far as digging two roses out of my garden that will find a new home in Cyd's garden. They're great ladies who make a great team. I'm so blessed to count them both as friends.