By Dottie Dewberry
For the WPT
“I don’t know whether nice people tend to grow roses or growing roses makes people nice.” ~ Roland A. Browne
Despite the freezing rain, the cold weather, and the lack of electricity the gentle ladies of the Maben Home and Garden Club braved all to attend the Jan. 15 meeting at Callahan’s with Charles Weatherly, who spoke about roses he has grown or seen in and around Starkville and Mississippi.
Mr. Weatherly, already known by some of the members, was warmly welcomed to Maben by the members of the 50-year old club. Ably assisted by the Callahan staff and club members, the PowerPoint presentation show was soon on the road: Weatherly’s program was centered on roses from the MSU Veterans Memorial Rose Garden, which the club will visit in April. He also spoke of the Hughes Plantation Roses in Louisville, and of the Nancy Imes Garden Roses in Lowndes County.
Weatherly spoke of the many beautiful roses in the garden and from whence they came; he also spoke of the Cherokee Rose and its connection to the Trail of Tears, where the seven clans of Cherokee Indians were forced by the U.S. government to move to Oklahoma.
According to legend, the Cherokee asked the Great Spirit to give them a sign that their nation would continue to live. At first, they thought they had been ignored, but soon they noticed that a rose grew where mother’s tears hit the earth. There is a trail from Florida to Oklahoma of these Cherokee Roses or the Rosa Laevigata.
Weatherly also spoke about James “Jim” Mills, a well-known Mississippi rosarian and owner of the K&M Nursery in Buckatunna who donated 51 roses from 14 different cultivars, as well as time and talent to the establishment of the MSU Rose Garden. Mr. Mills can be found at the Everything Garden Expo in Starkville each spring either lecturing or selling roses at his booth. Check him out!!
Mr. Weatherly then handed around to each member and visitor a rose care info sheet prepared by Jim Mills, which covered planting, soil preparation, pruning, fertilization, and watering of roses. This info sheet also included the Tyler, Texas, rose garden soil recipe.
He also quietly paid tribute to his friend and fellow rosarian Jim Spencer, who planted the original rose garden; this was a 20-year research project that was planted and cared for virtually by Spencer, himself. Later it was bulldozed away. Spencer revealed to Weatherly where they (the roses) had been dumped and that he (Spencer) would like him (Weatherly) to retrieve the Elena Roses, which are alive and well today.
The roses in heaven are surely well cared for by Mr. Spencer.
Many interesting stories were in his presentation, but one more caught my attention: the Katrina Peggy Martin Rose. This is a pink climber rose that was a survivor of Hurricane Katrina in Phoenix, La., in 2005. Peggy Martin, not only lost her home and her parents, but she also lost her gardens of more than 450 old roses to the hurricane. This rose was rescued from 10 feet of water and tenderly groomed and replanted in the Weatherly Garden. It was renamed the Katrina Peggy Martin Rose.
It was a fantastic showing of roses filled with lots of tidbits about where they are growing and how they got there.
Before he departed, he donated eight Confederate Roses to eight lucky winners: Polly Miller, Lorelei Morgan, Pat Harpole, Anne Earnest, Kay Lewis, Joyce Holt, Martha McMinn and Dottie Dewberry.
Afterwards the club enjoyed lunch before the business meeting. The afternoon’s devotion was given by Mrs. Jimmie Cooper and Mrs. Jackie Christopher blessed the food.
The finalization of the 50-year anniversary gift to the town of Maben was revealed. The town of Maben will receive a renewal of the four-way stop landscaping of the four street corners on MS Hwy. 15. This is a combined effort by the town of Maben for removal of the present plantings and a replanting by Shuff’s Landscape, which will be financed by the Maben Home and Garden Club.
Mrs. Jackie Christopher, chairman of the Christmas Lighting Contest, told the group of the judges’ choices for Best Door, Best Window and Best Overall Home and the Best Business.
Mrs. Marge Musser read a lovely letter from Mrs. Margaret Shuffield thanking us for the first-place award, which she shared with the staff of Shuff’s Landscape. She once again reiterated that her home was retired from the judging.
Mrs. Jane Collins reminded everyone that we would be going out to Lee Shuffield’s home for the March meeting.
Mrs. Martha McMinn invited the ladies to Center Grove Baptist Church for a Women’s Conference on Jan. 26 at 10 o’clock.
The door prizes, which were donated by Anne Earnest and Pat Harpole, were won by Suretha Brooks, Sandra Bishop, Jane Collins, Scarlet Shepperd and Jackie Christopher.
The hostesses for the January meeting were Pat Harpole, Sandra Bishop and Joyce Holt, who treated the entire membership to lunch.
The February meeting will be held in the home of Mrs. Gladys Hendrix on the 19th. Mrs. Faye Fulgham will be designing floral pieces using natural material from the gardens and the wilds of Maben.