The Redneck Rosarian shares gardening tips during Rose Seminar in Alabaster

Published 3:36 pm Wednesday, February 14, 2024

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Local gardeners were able to learn a few tips of the trade from Shelby County’s own Redneck Rosarian during a Rose Seminar in Alabaster.

Helena City Councilmember Chris VanCleave, also known as “The Redneck Rosarian,” paid a visit to the Nan Abbott Room of the Albert L. Scott Library on Saturday, Feb. 10 to share his knowledge and passion for rose gardening with several residents.

“It was a great seminar with a room full of eager gardeners,” VanCleave said. “I enjoyed meeting everyone and remain dedicated to the ongoing education of gardeners on a local and national level.”

VanCleave is an active member of the Birmingham Chapter of the American Rose Society having served two terms as president and has operated the Rose Chat Podcast since 2007 which has reached more than a million listeners. In addition to his council responsibilities, VanCleave also serves as the chairman of the Helena Alabama Beautification Board.

“This commitment to sharing my knowledge and expertise not only enriches the lives of fellow gardeners but also brings joy through the cultivation of beautiful blooms,” VanCleave said. “Hopefully, we are helping to foster a community of passionate and skilled gardeners who can create stunning and vibrant outdoor spaces.”

During the presentation, VanCleave shared that he got into growing roses to find solace in his life after his mother died.

“My mom grew roses and she taught me a lot,” he said. “Her mother grew roses (and) her mother grew roses and I can trace it back to her mother—three or four generations back of rose growers and that’s back in the mid 1800s. So, we have a family lineage of rose growers.”

VanCleave discussed important aspects of growing roses, including the amount of sunshine the growing location receives, drainage, the quality of the soil and the amount of time one has to dedicate to the garden.

“Your garden is an investment in your home and in your life and it’s important to know what you have,” he said.

Those in attendance had the opportunity to ask questions during the presentation and VanCleave invited an audience member to join him in demonstrating the pruning process.

“Three things you need to remember when you prune your roses: you’re looking to remove anything dead, anything damaged and anything diseased,” he said.

Those interested in learning more about rose care or VanCleave’s experiences as The Redneck Rosarian may visit his website at