Stormy Weather, Large Flowered Climber

Stormy Weather, Large Flowered Climber
Stormy Weather, Large Flowered Climber

Sweet Home Chicago 

I grew up 38 miles north ‘as the crow flies’ along the beautiful N. Shore of Lake Michigan. Next Wednesday, March 19, at 11:00 AM I’ll be talking about rosesat the Chicago Flower and Garden Show. I wish Lynn Arthur and my mother could be there. Here’s why. Let me tell you a story about gardening and me. If your kids don’t want any part of gardening or getting their hands dirty think of this Proverb.

Oui One Weeds

Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Kids learn by what we do not by what we say. When I was a kid my mother loved to be in the yard and wanted me to help. I wanted no part of it. I hated weeding and I could not understand why she liked it. It was when I got older and had my own yard and then inherited her rose garden that everything was different, as is often the case, isn’t it? Rose growing and gardening is a passion not a hobby or a past time any more. 

Bloom Where You Are Planted
Bloom Where You Are Planted

Lots of things are important to me — a love of gardening, kids and having fun whiling spending time with both. Inheriting my childhood home and my mother’s rose garden in Northern Illinois, I wanted to learn how to take care of my mother’s rose garden. My mother taught me many things about growing roses but back then I wanted to learn everything. There was a beautiful rose garden in Libertyville, Illinois and the Libertyville Men’s Garden Club took care of it so I thought that would be a good place to ask how they took care of the roses. What happened is a memorable story of love, caring, sharing and especially patience. Lynn Arthur, who was a tenured member of the club, called himself an octogenarian rosarian. Mr. Arthur took me under his wing and painstakingly began to cultivate a future rosarian from raw talent. With speech as slow as a beautiful nocturnal sloth, Mr. Arthur spoke and I listened, passing the craft onto the next generation. Mr. Arthur encouraged me to begin showing roses in local rose shows in a society that was largely male dominated at the time by doctors and scientists.

Rose Garden in the Summer
Rose Garden in the Summer

One of my high points after much instruction was having my rose garden featured on the Northern Illinois Rose Growers Garden Tour and a particularly talented rose sage commenting, “You have achieved perfect rose culture.” By far that still is one of the greatest things anyone has ever said to me by far. Sweeping many shows with blue ribbons as a novice, I was encouraged by Mr. Arthur and other senior members of the society to enter a national show in which I won a national trophy for best Climbing Rose, Tempo. This is how I began my life long passion that I now have for growing, taking care of and showing roses that I inherited from my Mother. I have lots to give back and many people to thank for what I now know.

“Sharing is a gardeners second nature” Kim Austin 

Rose growing has for many years been the passion and hobby of royalty from the ancient Chinese to the most splendid gardens of royalty throughout the world. Rose gardens grace the lands of the rich and famous to landed gentry and the simplest gardens throughout the globe. All are drawn together by the common bond of the most mystical and romantic of flowers, the rose. Although perceived as difficult to grow and maintain, roses are both hearty and forgiving to the best-meaning novice.

Chicago SkylineThis next week there will be gardeners and experts from all over the country who will share their knowledge and information with you at the Chicago Flower Show. Sharing is second nature to them. If you are able, be sure to visit the show. I can’t wait to see The Seed Keepers, Kylee Baumle of Our Little Acre, Shawna Coronado, and please read about the incredible work that Lamanda Joy @TheYarden is doing with The Peterson Garden project. Also, I see that the Chicago voice of gardening, Mike Nowak is launching his book humorous book at this show, Attack of the Killer Asapragus and other lessons not learned in the garden.”These folks will all be there and they are doing work that matters by giving back to the community. And I want to thank Paul Zimmerman, of Paul Zimmerman Roses Chris Van Cleave, @RedneckRosarian Teresa Byington @thegardendiary who I will be talking to Wednesday night on Rosechat who continually promote roses as well as Bren of BG Garden who Connects | Shares | Grows the Gardening Community as well with her wonderful #gardenchat. These are just a few and I will be talking about lots of other garden greats after the show. And I want to especially thank The Minnesota Gardener, Jack Falker who won’t be at the show but I don’t know how I would have made it through this dreadful winter with out his wise council. Thank-you Jack who lives in the frozen tundra and wrote What The Heck Is Wrong With This Winter?  😉

Lynn J. Arthur Rose Garden
Address: Cook Memorial Park , Libertyville, IL, USA 60048

5 thoughts on “Roses for a Life Time, Chicago Flower and Garden Show”

  1. Hi, Suzy,
    Loved reading about your passion for roses! I admire you and I know for sure that you grow beautiful roses. You have really moved into the “big time” with your speaking engagements. Good luck and have fun! You have lots of knowledge to share.
    Love ya,

    1. Hi Linda,
      Hope you and Mary Lou will come back this year. We sure did enjoy your visit. It was a wonderful event in Chicago. I spoke to a full house!
      Y’all come back Ya hear!

  2. I love your story, especially reading about how Lynn Arthur took you under his wing. My dad was the pastor of the Libertyville First United Methodist Church in the late ’60s and early 70’s. Lynn was a member of the church there and he also took my dad under his wing. He came to our house and helped prepare the beds for dozens and dozens of rose bushes. I remember they dug down deep and then layered a proper mix for growing roses. Lynn also encouraged my dad to enter rose shows and I have some of his “Grand Award” ribbons. So fun to “google” Lynn Arthur and find such a lovely story!

    1. Dear Cindy,
      Please forgive my late reply. I must have missed your message. Wasn’t Lynn the most amazing man? And it wasn’t easy for him to keep going. He really wanted to pass on his knowledge. I am so glad you took the time to write. Please stay in touch. Is your Dad still with us? I loved the Libertyville area. We are closer to St. Louis now, since we moved back to Illinois from Texas. Dr. Andy Plasz was also a member and he still is in the Rose Society and I just saw him 2 weeks ago! These folks had a tremendous impact on my life. I love them dearly
      Take care and please write again.

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