Become a Rosarian
If you love roses and are interested in learning more about them, why not think about becoming a Master Gardener.
The “Master Gardener Rosarians” are looking for more motivated people to join their special interest committee. What better way to do community service than to spend time with like-minded people in caring for and learning about your favorite flower.
We go on field trips, socialize, and work together at the garden to create beauty for our community. Come and visit us at the Community Education Rose Garden on the third Sunday afternoon every month from 3 to 5 p.m. and we’ll tell you how to get started! You can also call Master Gardener coordinator Jennifer Marquis at 667-6540.
“Roses should be as easy to grow as dandelions”
— Griffith Buck
I have a beautiful rose called “Pearlie Mae” in my garden. It is not in the “rose walk” among my hybrid tea roses. Instead, Pearlie Mae appears all the way in the back, beside a tall evergreen, directly on the property line.
It is a shrub rose that needs lots of room, but is shapely and does not climb or ramble on the ground. The flowers are a light peach color, with darker shading, the petals are very ruffled and each one is larger than a coffee cup. It needs no winter care, has not been fertilized for at least two years and has had no bugs or pests. It is a lot prettier than a dandelion but just about as easy to grow! A bunch makes a gorgeous cut flower bouquet.
Pearlie Mae is a Griffith Buck rose — my favorite rose.
Griffith Buck was a rose hybridizer who worked at Iowa State University horticultural extension for nearly 40 years. “Griff,” as he was known by his friends, spent his years at Iowa State researching and hybridizing cultivars that produced spectacular blooms on plants with such strong genetic traits that the bushes are not only cold hardy, but are also disease resistant and pest tolerant as well.
He produced 93 named “Buck” cultivars with these special characteristics, all but eight of which are still grown. In addition to “shrub” roses like mine, he worked with several modern hybrid teas, antiques, old garden and specie roses.
My introduction to these wonderful roses came several years ago when I first visited Northland Rosarium near Spokane. They have a special area in their demonstration garden set apart for “Buck” roses. Since Wenatchee sometimes has very cold winters similar to winters in the Midwestern plains, I was immediately interested in adding “easy care” roses to my own garden.
Only in the last decade (long after Buck’s death in 1991) has the trend from exhibition quality blooms to easy-care roses rapidly gained momentum. Perhaps this is the reason why there has been such a revival of interest in growing Buck roses in recent years.
Buck was ahead of his time in anticipating today’s desire for low-maintenance roses.
Our next goal for our Community Education Rose Garden on the corner of Springwater and Western avenues is to demonstrate several Griffith Buck roses and introduce “Earth-Kind” roses, many of which have been inspired by Buck’s research. You can see many of these roses at northlandrosarium.com.
His philosophy continues to be true today — If roses are too hard to grow, people will simply grow something else.
The history of rose breeding is a fascinating subject and it continues to change and evolve rapidly. My next column will describe new developments in scientific procedures that have changed and improved the years-long research begun by the passion and curiosity of scientists such as Buck. It makes me wonder what another 50 years of changing technology will bring!
A WSU Master Gardeners of Chelan County column appears weekly in the At Home section. Gloria Kupferman is one of three columnists featured.