Yesterday, a post that I worked on with my friend Andrew went live in my column on Apartment Therapy. We had fun with it and it was the summation of an email interview/conversation between the two of us. Quite surprisingly (at least to me) — some people really didn’t like it. It goes with the territory over on AT — there is a culture there of people unleashing every so often on the writers and using the computer as a shield for things that I would assume they probably wouldn’t say in person. Who knew it would rear its head about a plant post? But say it or think it, a few people thought we were being catty.
I’ve read and re-read my words and while I wonder if part of it is the lack of tone in the written word (and then the inference of tone in our own heads when we read things) I generally don’t think that I would change anything about what I said. But there is one thing that I want to still talk about — primarily because perhaps, if you read it a certain way, I can see how it might have come off differently than I meant it.
Andrew mentioned Hybrid Tea Roses as being a plant that he finds annoyingly over used. To which I replied — “really, do you actually know anyone planting hybrid tea roses these days?”
And while I think some thought that catty and perhaps judgmental — I really mean it — who is growing hybrid tea roses?
Yes, I know that someone is going to raise their hand (and I hope you do), but in this modern world, I really see these as plants that are limited to advanced gardeners who have the patience of Job, deep pockets, and are a glutton for punishment.
My mom is one of these people…I have been gifting her roses to replace roses for years. She loves them and there is absolutely nothing wrong with her or them. (I guess she feels about them the way I feel about peonies). But for someone starting out in the gardening world, I wouldn’t encourage jumping in at the roses end…go with something that is going to give you a lot more bang for your buck — something that not only has nice flowers, but pretty leaves too and doesn’t have a whole section in the garden center dedicated to specialty products needed for it to succeed.
But if you choose to jump right into the deep end, I say go for it — I just don’t see very many people doing it because I think the messaging that these roses are a pain in the butt has gotten through and all that garden center stuff is intimidating and the plants are pricey…and so I was questioning that Andrew has actually seen a lot of rose growing going down…because (excluding my mother), I haven’t.
I’ve never (in 10 years) planted a rose for a client – not that I wouldn’t if someone wanted them – but I literally have never had someone ask for them. And, last spring I sat in on a talk given by a former president of the national rosarian club where he talked about how his organization has dwindled from once having many chapters across the country to literally only a handful of people nationwide. I subsequently have the distinct impression that this is not the market that it once was.
I just want to clear this up….
I hope that every plant has a set of enthusiasts who love it for what it is and enjoy its cultivation. We need more of that in the gardening world.
So, to clear the air – because I feel I must — no judgement if you are planting hybrid Tea roses — I am actually quite curious to know who you are and if in fact I am totally wrong about how many people are truly into rose growing. Are there legions of rosarians out there that I don’t know about?
I’d love to hear from you and maybe even invite you to share a bit of your passion in some guest posts.
And also — (for the record)– did you read this piece in Leaf (about Roses inspiring beautiful designs) and this one about Josephine Bonaparte and her roses? I put a lot of work into those pieces…and I am super proud of them….I am not anti-rose.
images Rosa ‘Barbara Streisand’, Rosa ‘Alte Liebe’, Rosa ‘Dream’, and Rosa ‘Just Joey’ all available from Heritage Roses