"Lynchburg Grows was formed as a not-for-profit corporation in 2003 in response to a Lynchburg News & Advance story involving a local man living at the Longwood Group Home. Paul Lam, an individual living with mental retardation, had witnessed the destruction of the garden he had lovingly cared for due to a communication error. The founding members of Lynchburg Grows came together to help build a new garden for Paul, but their aspirations quickly expanded. The mission of Lynchburg Grows became to help all disadvantaged persons enjoy the healthy benefits of gardening and have access to such spaces."
So first of all I got all choked up upon learning that Lynchburg Grows was essentially founded based on what I'm understanding as a group of folk who felt sorry for this poor mentally retarded man who lost one of the few joys in his life. I'm really glad that they rearranged our seating arrangements at work today because the girl I used to sit next to would totally make fun of me for crying. Albeit, I do cry during all pet stories and adoption stories in my Woman's Day magazine but this is different. This story is truly inspirational.
It made me feel all kinds of good that I'm buying our rose bushes there. I mean, I tentatively am buying my rose bushes there. For Mother's Day. For my Mother's mother. And I'm making her plant them. And she's 87. But she likes to do it--I swear.And I'm going to try to be home and make sure she has a shovel that's not missing a handle.
I'm pretty sure you can get them cheaper at stupid Walmart or Lowe's, but when I fantasize about strolling through my own personal rose garden (or walking over to the bush) I'd like to petition an urge for nostalgia. I'd like to wax verbose concerning the importance of community--of being part of the greater picture.
Then as I stand by the bush my Grandmother so lovingly felt forced upon to plant, I can recall the story of this Paul Lam, of these pioneers of vision who laid ground for redemption and reconstruction and declare that my rose bush purchase was but a drop in the comprehensive ocean of their business.
Then, since Grandma will still probably be alive at age 90, she will undermine my entire speech by reminding everyone that I did absolutely no work around the house nor in the garden.
That said, here are some facts about Lynchburg Grow's roses, along with pictures I took just today. And you'll notice that the prices in some circumstances are much lower than what your local chain would offer. If only a talent like myself didn't work and spend 8 hours on the road every week:
At it's peak, the Schenkel nursery (a.k.a Lynchburg Grow's Roses) was producing 23% of the state's flower industry.
Schenkel roses have made appearances both at the White House and festooned the necks of Kentucky Derby champions.
The oldest--an English Tea Rose--dates back to the 1820's.
The bushes were neglected in extreme heat and zero care for at least 8 years. They still thrive. These flowers are for the worst gardener ever (I'll remind Grandma of that...).
There are at least a dozen varieties available.
A dozen cut will cost you $10--much less than most grocery stores and florists.
They offer a botanical garden setting for events.
Bushes range from $25 to $50...
...but the stories behind them are free.