I was born in
Zimbabwe (formally ) of British Parents. My father grew roses but as a young adult, my interest was elsewhere! Rhodesia
Sue, my wife, & I met, got married and left
Africa to travel and see the world. During our 5 ½ years in we purchased a house in Biggleswade. This house had 20 Rose bushes in the front garden. In the English climate they looked after themselves and we enjoyed them immensely! England
We moved to
in December 1980 and purchased a house. In trying to create a home – we planted 20 rose bushes the first year – 18 died! Growing roses in the dessert is not the same as in Tempe Arizona ! By the time we sold this home we had about 30 rose bushes – I had figured a few things out! England
In 1993 we built a home and I designed the landscaping around growing roses. By 1997 we had 56 bushes, all with no name tags!
We visited a Home & Garden show and came across a booth on Roses run by the Mesa East Valley Rose Society (MEVRS). I was talked into joining the society to learn how to look after my roses better! MEVRS was hosting a Rose Arrangement workshop run by the duo, Kreg Hill & Bill Christensen, I decided to learn how to make better use of these wonderful roses that I was going to learn how to grow. A local CR, Hall Bradshaw, came over to my home and named all my bushes, I was ready to try exhibiting.
I was hooked after my first show. Today I exhibit Roses in both the horticulture and arrangement section of all the shows in the
area. I have won Queen at the Arizona State Fair in 2005. Phoenix
I grow roses more for putting in arrangements than trying to get the perfect bloom. I take roses to shows to help fill the show floor, to make other roses look good and to share some time with other rose lovers!
I became a Consulting Rosarian in 2001 and started playing with propagating roses in 2003. I do Rose growing seminars at Home Depot, Lowes, through my Employer and through the community college. I am a member of the Rose Focus Group at Mesa Community College where we help look after a rose garden of over 9,000 bushes.
I served on the Board of Directors for MEVRS as VP in-charge of programs, and as President of MEVRS from May 2004 to May 2006. I am the current president of MEVRS.
Today our garden has about 150 rose bushes. I have seven of my own grafted rose bushes on Fortuniana root stock but still no luck with hybridizing. I continue to try.
I enter plant specimens from all parts of my garden at the Arizona State Fair every year. From fruit branches to stemmed flowers, from flowering vines to Roses. My Clematis entry into the Arizona State Fair won Best Horticulture.
Watering and Soil conditioning is a major problem here in
where we get 300 F change in temperature in one day. Automatic watering systems are essential and each bed needs a slightly different plan. These are adjusted monthly. If the soil gets too wet the plants do not thrive from water logged roots that are suffocating and they loose their leaves and look lifeless. If the soil gets too dry they wilt and then begin to loose their leaves. All of the plant material from my garden goes back into my garden in the form of compost or mulch. My rose beds get a 3” layer of mulch every spring. My flower beds get rote-tilled with compost twice a year. Arizona
I try to spend at least 15 minutes a day in the garden. It does not only relax me from the stress of our daily running around but I get to identify problems early, before they escalate. When I travel on business, like 3 weeks in Asia, I have to trust the plants to look after themselves!