Yesterday I had the absolute pleasure of visiting the Rose Girl Farm in Casstown, Ohio.
It was hotter than the surface of the sun, but I had my trusty parasol and hat with me, so I was eager to jump out of the car and see in person the roses that I had been drooling over on Instagram for weeks.
When I arrived, Jenny, mistress of Rose Girl Ltd, greeted me from behind the roses with her trusty pruning shears in hand.
She does not grow your usual rose, the type you find in your local grocery store. Jenny grows very delicate English garden roses, opening flat with numerous small petals.
As I followed Jenny through the rows, she talked about each bush and what was most popular with brides and florists. It occurred to me how careful a project this must be.
She told me that she walks the rows twice a day with a clipboard in hand, noting how many buds are sprouting on each stem of each varietal. She explained at what stage she must cut and ship them so that they will be ready for a bucket or arrangement at just the right time. This is a delicate balance of experience, knowledge, and judgement. Clearly, Jenny knows each stem on her hundreds of bushes intimately. I tried to imagine how terrified I would be of wind and hard rain. I think I wouldn’t sleep, ever!
As we continued down the paths between the long stretching rose beds, I tried to smell every rose I passed; and let me tell you, these roses are heavenly! The scent is just unreal. And that’s when it all seems it would all be worth it: the pruning, weeding, surveying, and careful, constant fertilization. The scent and the colors are just amazing!
After we finished walking the rows, I was able to peek inside Jenny’s amazing garden studio. It even has an attached small English green house and all. Then Jenny took me over to her new herb bed and explained how she will soon be under-planting all of the rose bushes with various herbs. What a phenomenal plan!
As the tour concluded, Jenny brought me inside her home and treated me to a beautiful spread of home-baked blueberry cobbler, lemonade with fresh blueberries and lemon balm, and an amazing centerpiece of a variety of fresh cut roses so I could do a “smelling.” I am now on the hunt for the perfect rose for new cocktails and concoctions at Indian Creek Distillery!
I sat there willing myself not to have a third scoop of the cobbler for fear I might turn into Violet Beauregarde from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We discussed discovering our true passions and wishing we had put those dreams into action earlier in life. Jenny had strong memories of being in the garden with her grandfather and wondered how she didn’t come to this realization about her passion for roses and gardening earlier in life.
While we chatted and after I pigged out, I began to smell each rose that made up the centerpiece. It took time to compute as the fragrances were so intense, more than I had expected. The more time I spent taking in the fragrance of each rose, the more I began to note the subtle differences and be able to address the complexities. I imagine it would take years to really be able to understand these beautiful creatures. Jenny told me that if you smell something for thirty seconds, it leaves a permanent memory in your noggin.
Well, I am so incredibly honored that I will be able to carry with me the memories and stories of these gorgeous roses that are very loved by Jenny.
Please visit Rose Girl Ltd on Facebook, and definitely sign up for one of her tours. And if you’d like to experience the fragrance of her roses this week, visit me at the Indian Creek Distillery for a sample of this week’s cocktails!