Another Season of Dirt Days Has Come to a Close
As I write this in late November, 2018, it’s the end of another wonderful year of sharing in the life of this magical collection. Those of us who came together to feed and protect and replicate these glorious survivors have had the pleasure of making some new friends while the roses whispered their own stories to us as we worked.
We weeded and fertilized, weeded and mulched, weeded and propagated. We shared many an exhausted-but-happy lunch and, sometimes, the most delicious cream scones before we started our labors, as well as a sumptuous potluck to top off the year on November the 3rd. We left a mist tunnel bulging with propagating treasures, to be shared with other rare-rose lovers in the coming year.
There are exciting plans ahead. Next year, when the Friends begin the 2019 season’s work, we will be helping not only the rose plants here in Sebastopol to thrive, but also creating and growing-on the plants which will add to the number to be safely placed in additional gardens.
We hope you’ll add a few (or quite a few!) of your own hours to these efforts, in the months and years ahead. We welcome all rose fans, all of you curious to know what the fuss is about, and all levels of skill and physical ability. If you want to be part of the life of this magical collection, too, we’ll find a task to suit you. Gregg Lowery, the creator and curator of the Friends’ collection is a patient teacher and a genial host. He’ll set us all to work for success.
Please watch this page for next season’s Dirt Day Schedule, which will be posted after the turn of the year. To be sure to receive advance invitation before each gathering, or with any questions, just send an email to me at the “Volunteer Coordinator” link below.
As the roses rest, best of Holidays to you!
P.S. You will see below our previous season’s schedule as an example of what 2019 will hold. Hope you’ll find time in your rose year to come and help make a difference!
Each month we organize two “Dirt Day” gatherings for those who would like to volunteer in the care of the rose collection. Dirt Days take place at the current site of the collection:
3003 Pleasant Hill Rd., Sebastopol, CA 95472
Dirt Days for 2018—they’re here!
Below is the schedule of our volunteer days in the garden in Sebastopol. We call these “Dirt Days” and they run the gamut from weeding to potting, planting to mulching. Dirt Days begin at 10 am; we work until about 1 pm, then break for lunch. Some brave souls continue in the afternoon.
On Saturday, May 19, beginning at 9 am, we are joined by members of the Bay Area Heritage Roses Group to pick and label flowers from the collection for the rose display at the Celebration of Old Roses in El Cerrito, the following day, Sunday, May 20th. The 19th of May will be the best day for you to come for a light day of work and a chance to enjoy the roses and see our progress over the past year. Please do join us!
—Gregg Lowery, Curator
|March 24, Saturday||April 7, Saturday|
|April 15, Sunday||May 6, Sunday||May 19, Sat—Flower picking!|
|June 3, Sunday||June 24, Sunday||July 8, Sunday|
|July 21, Saturday||August 5, Sunday||August 18, Saturday|
|September 8, Saturday||September 23, Sunday||October 6, Saturday|
|October 21, Sunday||November 3, Saturday|
Please contact our Volunteer Coordinator Linda Perry if you plan to attend. We do best when we know how many will be on hand. Those who can’t be here, please let us hear from you as well, with a shout out to the volunteers! We’re busy here preserving rare old roses.
About our Dirt Days with the Roses
Over 10 years ago a small group of friends started helping with maintenance in Gregg Lowery’s and Phillip Robinson’s old rose collection in Sebastopol. Dirt Days have become a regularly attended tradition. There are now over 100 volunteers who have actively participated in these work days at The Friends of Vintage Roses’ collection. These are held twice monthly from late winter to late fall, and they have made a significant difference in keeping the rose collection from disappearing. Roses have been planted, both in the ground and in pots; and new cuttings have been propagated, for sharing and for fundraising. Beds have been weeded, mulched and inventoried. In the process of this labor of love and shared delight, friendships old and new flourish and camaraderie makes the hard work great fun. After about three hours of work, the group relaxes over lunch and talk, about the roses, about gardening and about the world of old roses.
The Dirt Days volunteers have been a valuable resource for the maintenance of this collection and for furthering the interests of The Friends of Vintage Roses. If you are interested in joining our group of enthusiastic volunteers, please send an email to this year’s volunteer coordinator, Linda Perry, at email@example.com.
Here are just a few comments about our volunteer work days in the garden, our “Dirt Days” as Luanne Wilson nicknamed them:
“Although I’ve only attended a couple of Dirt Days so far, I was made to feel welcome at once. It feels good to work on the noble enterprise of preserving these heritage roses, the participants are fascinating, and the potluck is always delectable.” —Leslie“I’ll never forget the first time I met the collection and the garden that holds it. It must have been 1999. It was a warm May day, peak bloom. A beautiful romantic aria was playing. Suddenly I was in the midst of roses many of which I only really knew by name. The colors scents and sights of these beauties were almost too much for me. I actually became dizzy and had to sit down for a while before I could take it all in. It struck me then how very important to the world this collection was. Later as I became more familiar with the roses and the people who had brought them together and cared for them I knew that I wanted to do all I could to help keep such a wonder alive. I was there at the beginning of Dirt Days. Michael and I couldn’t make it to the day that Luanne and Carol were organizing so we came a few days earlier and spent the day weeding. After we were joined by a solid group of folks working together with a common cause. People have come and gone over the years. Friendships have grown. We’ve eaten an amazing amount of wonderful food at our potlucks. The roses survive and the garden evolves. I remain hopeful as all gardeners must. To me roses are a symbol of the promise of beauty. Together the Friends can fulfill that promise.” —Pamela
“I’ve been going to these events for a long time. Never once have I failed to have a good time. One highlight I remember was in the first year, perhaps the first big Dirt Day. I remember we got a humorous email from Jon Dodson sent to the group for the occasion. Life goes on, things change. This is one of the things I enjoy that contributes to the rhythm of my days.” —Paula