Using as inspiration a beautifully illustrated book on roses belonging to past Garden Club member Mae Weaver, 14 members and one guest of the Great Bend Garden Club listened as Alice Young took them on a journey through the history and evolution of roses at the January meeting.
Beginning as wild flowers, roses were found growing in the gardens of the Roman Empire, spread into Persia and then back into Europe in the 13th century where they were used in the perfume industry in France. They began showing up in paintings in the 1400s and the Empress Josephine of France made rose gardens popular during the reign of her husband Napoleon Boneparte. Roses eventually spread to the entire world.
An interesting story about the beautiful Peace Tea Rose tells of the French rose cultivator, Francis Meilland, smuggling his new rose variety which ultimately became known as the Peace Rose to the United States on the last plane out of France on April 12, 1945, the day before the German invasion of France.
Alice described the several types of roses including the single-blossomed hybrid tea rose first cultivated in 1867; the floribunda roses which are small, compact, and multi-blossomed; the grandiflora which have multiple large blossoms; climbing roses which are wild; shrub roses which are used in landscaping; and miniature roses which are hardy, grow profusely, and do well in flower pots.
Many new hybrid varieties are being cultivated which are hardier and disease resistant. The knockout varieties which the Garden Club now selects for the Great Bend Cemetery are of this type. Suggested care for roses in the middle of Kansas includes lots of water during the hot summers, fertilizing in the spring and summer, pruning in the spring, and using a fungicide to prevent the black-spot fungus.
There is an American Rose Society which provides a magazine and other educational literature to its members. Membership information is available at www.rose.org. An excellent source for the purchase of roses is the Jackson & Perkins Company.
Serving a bit of healthy and a bit of sweet, Sharon East was hostess for the meeting. The next meeting of the Great Bend Garden Club will be at 10 a.m. on Feb. 16 in the Barton County Extension meeting room. Pam Martin from the Kansas Wetlands Education Center will be giving the program arranged by club member Teresa Bachand.