The Rose Tender (continued)
Albert Whaanga is a 30-year member of the San Fernando Valley Rose Society. A native of New Zealand he came to California in 1964. He took post-education classes at UCLA as part of a scholarship program aimed at overcoming the shortage of teachers in the 1960's. He found work with children at the Juvenile Hall in Riverside, California and later taught at the California Educational Center stating, "I used patience with my kids. You must be a patient person but firm where you need to be firm." I wasn't sure he was talking about kids or flowers as Albert added, "Roses can feel your emotions. You are grooming them. Feeding them. They are like family. Each garden has its own character and air about it. They don't respond the same to the same fertilizer. Neither does each student."
Albert obtained his life-long rose show judging credentials by attending rose teaching schools and completing a certification test. He stated, "To be a judge you have to earn it. You have to know your roses." And, Albert obviously knows his roses, he's been tending roses over a 30-year period.
I had to ask THE rose question, the one every Rosarian knows is bound to be asked by the neophyte rose lover. Do you have a favorite rose? Without hesitation, Albert stated, "It would be Mr. Lincoln. This variety is on the dark side of red, heavy scented and has petals like velvet. It is a man's rose. Another great variety is the Queen Elizabeth rose, an old rose, pink, and an excellent grower."
Roses are like children, feeding, tending, and nurturing gets the job done. Although Albert has retired from school teaching he simply transferred his skills to that of rose tender stating, "What used to be my hobby now puts bread on my table."
Albert fed my interest in roses. Roses are the world's most popular cut flower. The exalted rose has no equal in popularity, ancestry and history throughout the ages. There are over 380 rose societies in the United States and Canada, with the American Rose Society being one of the largest organizations dedicated to promoting education regarding the rose.
A consulting Rosarian's mission is to share knowledge of rose culture with others and to promote the love and appreciation of roses. The American Rose Society holds schools at various locations around the country for anyone interested in learning more about roses and for those who would like to become a consulting Rosarian. The bible of rose tending and care can be ordered from the society, as well as bulletins and journals including articles on research, new roses throughout the world, and judging events.
A kaleidoscope of colors exists in roses, each symbolizing a particular sentiment. Red is the most popular color and means love and respect; deep pink is for gratitude and appreciation; light pink is for admiration and sympathy; white is for reverence and humility; yellow is joy and gladness; orange is enthusiasm and desire; red and yellow blend is for gaiety and joviality; while pale blended tones symbolize sociability and friendship.
The enduring rose will always be with us and will continue to be the perennial favorite. Happy rose tending.