By Sue Botos
Shakespeare may have written, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” But when it comes to tough northern Ohio winters, a rose by the name of Canadian Explorer will outlast one called Showbiz.
“They needed heavy mulch. It’s little wonder there were only seven left,” said Greg Cada, recalling his first view of Rocky River’s Rose Point, the scenic sliver of land off of Kensington Oval with a Lake Erie view that is a popular spot for residents to view summer sunsets. Now bordered by about 50 hearty rose bushes, which on this June day covered the split rail fence with pink and red blooms, Rose Point has already been named one of this year’s first Bright Spots by the Rocky River Beautification Committee.
But while the view has always been spectacular, the plantings, according to Cada, have not always been as attractive.
“One day in about 2008, my wife was riding her bike and she noticed the area and looked it up on a city map,” said Cada, who has lived in the Lake Road area since 1984. He added that his wife, Karen, saw that the locale was called “Rose Point.” Further inspection revealed a few rose bushes marking the position of an old fence and competing for space with ground cover, which trailed down the slope to the lake.
Deciding to make Rose Point more worthy of its name, the Cadas contacted Lori Inks, president of the Beachcliff One Homeowners Association , which owns the land, but allows use by the public. The association also owns Oakwood Beach and the triangle of land at Beachcliff Boulevard and Kensington Road.
In a phone interview Inks, a lifetime Rocky River resident, said that the original rose bushes, about 200 in total, were planted in the 1970s. As time and weather took their toll, the plants gradually succumbed until only seven were left.
“They came to me and I helped,” said Inks, an avid gardener herself. She said that the association paid for the roses and she helped the Cadas with the planting. She said it took about a year to get all of the plants in place, and a few “spares” are being tended to in her garden.
Cada, a former attorney, now a master gardener coordinator for The Ohio State University Extension Cleveland office, noted that after three years of growth, the roses have done well, despite a sewer project in the area that stunted a few plants. He added that while the city mows the lawn and does other upkeep, pampering of the roses is done solely by a small team of volunteers.
“My mom had me gardening when I was little,” Cada recalled, as he adjusted a few stems or “canes.” He further explained that the plants must be trained to grow around the fence by tying them with twine. “We’ve been so eager (for the plants to take root). Now we’re getting to the stage when we have to change the mindset and do some thinning,” Cada added. While he said he prefers the specimen look for gardens, Karen, also a master gardener, goes for the “cottage garden,” or a more unstructured look.
But there is another ingredient to the recipe for success at Rose Point, and Inks calls her “the secret gardener.”
“She comes on Sunday mornings and does weeding (and other upkeep). It’s very therapeutic for her,” said Inks of the woman who lives close by, but prefers to remain anonymous.
According to Inks, the time and effort put into the project has been worth it, and she hopes that other small pockets of land throughout the city can be spruced up as well. “It’s a small price to pay for the beauty we have received. You can really make a difference if you try,” she stated.