The Subject Was Roses
Yankee Classic from June 1992
“I hate to tell you,” Suzy Verrier said, pausing sympathetically, “but your roses are wimps.”
“Come again?” I wasn’t sure I had heard her correctly.
“Wimps,” she repeated. “They’re wimpy commercial roses that are packaged and sold like canned tuna.” Another pause. “They’re fine, I suppose, if you like canned tuna.”
This was discouraging news, I must admit. I’d sunk several hundred dollars into young rose stock, and my first summer as a rose gardener was drawing to a close. Half my roses looked absolutely splendid, pink and healthy. The other half? Spindly, bug-eaten, downright dead in spots. Canned tuna, eh?
When Suzy Verrier speaks, people listen. She is regarded as one of America’s leading authorities on rugosa roses and on growing roses in northern climes, as well as the author of the widely acclaimed rose book, Rosa Rugosa (Capability Books, 1991, $19.95).
She also happened to be my neighbor, so to speak – residing two villages away in North Yarmouth, Maine.
I asked her what the deuce I should do about my peaked roses.
“Well, maybe you should first come visit,” she suggested ever so politely. So I did.