ROSES ROSES EVERYWHERE
by Kay Perkins
The Orlando Area Historical Rose Society's Spring Bus Tour to Tallahassee and Bainbridge, Georgia was great fun. Elaine Ellman and Weej Broderson planned with great care and an eye to time. The itinerary included six gardens but we only had time to visit five. It was so pleasant to leave the driving to Bob, our tour bus driver. We gathered at Larry and Elaine Jimmerson's garden and toured their lovely home and garden, before boarding the bus at 0730 and on our way stopped in Ocala to pick up more members, arriving in Tallahassee at 12:20.
First stop was Weej Broderson's home, a master gardener extraordinaire nearing eighty. She served us lunch, and then delighted us with her four acres of English Gardens, Florida Style. Weej loves herbs too, having done some interesting companion planting. Weej's daughter and neighbor runs a free school for troubled children. "Grass Roots", classes are in the open garden teaching the practical pleasures of growing vegetables, flowers and then marketing them.
Next stop was a surprise rose garden in the most formal style. The garden bounded by decorative fences supported climbing roses of every color. We had a chance to see how some roses grow that we have only seen in pictures. This garden of brick paths and hundreds of roses blooming was an amazing sight. Anna Price though not there in person was everywhere in her garden. Each bush was well marked and neatness a virtue. Beautiful old garden roses were putting on a great show for us.
Stop number three on day one was in Bainbridge, Georgia to the Victorian gardens of Oline Reynolds. Acres of rose bushes, rose trees, trellises, arbors and an enormous fountain and statuary. Old fashion street lights were functional as well as decorative. It was the perfect setting for the beautiful old brick Victorian home. We took notes filled with new ideas for supporting aging rose bushes and climbers.
A tired group settled on the bus again, grateful to Bob the driver. Back in Tallahassee we made a quick stop at the Quality Inn to check in then on to Nino's for dinner. Its a lovely little restaurant serving very good Italian food.
Day two began with an ample continental breakfast, a complimentary one I should add at the Inn. We boarded the bus to Annette Folsom's enchanting gardens. The bus could only go so far so we were "shuttled" in by Goodwood volunteers. Her grounds ppeared carved out of the shady woods. The gardens surrounding a charming cottage, a perfect setting. Here roses were important but so were daylilies and so many flowering plants. We had a great time again noting many dfferent and unusual plants. I loved the Martin houses made from gourds hanging high above the gardens. The sky was filled with their song and was great fun to watch their soaring tricks. Then it was time to board the bus for the last stop, Goodwood Plantation built in 1838.
The plantation as well as its gardens are under loving restoration. It was evident that it had been a place to pleasure the eyes. Many out-buildings were also in the midst of restoration. We enjoyed a lovely catered lunch in one of them. The history of Goodwood begins with the original owner, Hardy Crooms, spanning through the Civil War and winding up as the center for Tallahassee society as well as serving as the home for Senator Hodges in the 1920's. It is to the era of the 1920's that the plantation is to be restored. As we toured the gardens we learned the plans for the future uses of the plantation. State grants help with some of the extensive work. Much of the money comes from propagating the roses and selling them to the public. What a great idea and one that has worked very well for the dedicated gardeners volunteering their time and energy. I'd like to come back for a tour when it is finished. It was an amazing time ... where do I sign up for the next OAHRS fieldtrip?