Marci Martin has loved roses for as long as she can remember. From the time she was a little girl, she was fascinated with how rosebuds opened, and their intoxicating fragrance. When she was seven, she had rosebuds on her wallpaper, her bedspread, her doll's tea set, and her socks. Walking home from school in June, she would always pick a few buds from a neighbor's rosebush to give to her mother.
When she was almost twelve, her family moved to a new town. Next door was a lovely, older Latvian couple. Soon, Marci and her siblings were calling them Aunt Alexandra and Uncle Adolf. Aunt Alexandra was the most amazing gardener! She grew all her annuals from seed, and had the most exquisite asters in late August every year. She grew vegetables and had dwarf fruit trees, but the most amazing thing she grew were her roses. Marci followed her around the gardens on a regular basis, and asked all kinds of questions about how to grow roses. Every spring, there would be at least one new rose that Auntie would plant, and Marci couldn't wait to see how the bloom would unfold. Aunt Alexandra grew roses like 'Peace,' 'Apricot Nectar,' 'Garden Party,' and the most amazing to Marci-'Tropicana'-the first orange rose! The color is fascinating to Marci even now and she still grows Tropicana Roses today.
From her first rose garden in 1978 to her present gardens over thirty years and three locations later, Marci is still fascinated with roses and rose gardening. When her children were growing up, the garden was a personal outlet for creativity. She also made a lot of mistakes! It was an existing rose garden in the back yard of she and her husband's first house that clinched the deal for Marci. Of course, it was April and the roses were dormant, but their closing date was in June, and she remembered that June was when roses began their display. However, come June the roses were dead and probably had been for some time. She went down to the local garden center, and bought six new rosebushes to plant in the same spot. She remembered to amend the soil with manure and peat moss, and planted the roses at the same depth they were in their containers. She watered everything well, and sat back to wait for the blooms to arrive.
A few weeks later, there were a few nice blooms, but by then it was the beginning of July, and the Japanese beetles had also arrived! Back to the garden center to purchase beetle traps, which were brand-new at the time. Marci put the traps right in the middle of the garden, and was amazed at how many she captured! The beetles ate every rose and every leaf and left her naked canes standing like skeletons in the middle of the back yard. Later on, her neighbors told her that they had a lot fewer beetles that summer. Of course they did! The traps work with a pheromone, and Marci had attracted all the beetles in that section of town right into her garden! She had also planted her new roses too high, and didn't pay attention to the fact that the existing rose garden was directly under a Norway maple which sucked all the water and nutrients out of the soil. The first rose garden was a bitter disappointment, but Marci was determined to be successful, and so the learning began.
Marci has always lived in Connecticut, and currently lives in Windsor, just a few miles north of Hartford. It is her personal mission to help everyone enrich their lives by growing roses. There have never been so many varieties of roses available to the public, and there are roses for most everyone's yard, provided there is enough sunshine available.
Currently, Marci is on her second tour of duty as President of the Connecticut Rose Society, she is an AARS Test Garden Judge, and she is the Rosarian at Elizabeth Park in Hartford, America's oldest municipal rose garden. The park opened to the public in 1904. She is also a Consulting Rosarian with the American Rose Society, and in 2008, she was honored with the Outstanding Consulting Rosarian award for the Yankee District of the American Rose Society. Marci currently grows 150 roses in her Windsor gardens and is responsible for 15,000 roses at Elizabeth Park. You will enjoy reading Marci's thoughts and observations in her blog about roses on PlantersPlace.com.