W I L M I N G T O N
CRAoPseE S FocEieAtyR
Denise Miller, an officer in the Wilmington Cape Fear
Rose Society (WCFRS), learned about gardening from her
grandfather and her mother. She started off with just three
roses: Moonstone, Fame!, and Love and Peace. She now has
55 different varieties.
Although Miller admits roses can be challenging, she says
she loves the way they look and smell.
She estimates she probably spends about two hours a week
tending to her roses, even when they are in season. They
need to be deadheaded twice a week (a process that involves
removing wilted roses from the bush), watered every two to
three days, and fertilized and sprayed every two weeks.
She learned early on that rose gardeners are never afraid to
shovel-prune — get rid of old plants and start afresh.
“Digging in the dirt makes you a very valiant, genuine
person,” Miller says, laughing.
Rose enthusiasts say they are worth every minute of the
time you put in.
“There is nothing as rewarding as going to a rose bush,
cutting a perfect rose and giving it to a friend or a person
who is sick,” she says.
Many friendships are born through the club.
“Gardeners are nice people who like to teach you what
they know,” she says.
The WCFRS is celebrating 15 years since its inception
and Miller, who serves as treasurer, is one of the two original
Each year, the club holds a garden tour, an exhibition
and an auction to promote the namesake bloom, which is
America’s national flower. The roughly 30 members come
together each month to share tips on growing, arranging,
photographing, handcrafting and hybridizing. Many mem-bers
end up growing new varieties as a result of seeing some-one
else’s and thinking, “I wish I could grow that.”
Miller’s advice for anyone interested in growing roses is to
just get a couple and plant them.
“It’s not that labor intensive … start small and just try it,”
When you have questions, come to the club for answers
and learn from others. And don’t worry — roses don’t have
to be perfect.
Denise Miller has 55 varieties of roses in her garden, including
Lady Banks climbing rose.
WBM may 2018