Storage Good and Bad

Storage, Good and Bad
Show supplies storage, in my experience, has always been a critical need of our rose society. When I first joined the rose society in 1983, our show supplies were stored in the old Grand Rapids Public Museum Annex at Sheldon Ave. S.E., where our monthly meeting were held at that time. Later when the new Grand Rapids Museum was preparing to open, we could no longer meet there, but we did continue to store supplies there until a year or two later when the old building was closed. It was then necessary to rent commercial storage for a few months
When Dave Datema Jr., grounds keeper supervisor at the Christian Reformed Recreation Center, and our Son-In Law at that time, heard about our need of storage space, he made me a proposal. They had an old building on the property at 36th St. S.E. (a chicken coop) that we could use for equipment storage. They would provide this service, in return for my planting a rose garden at their Senior Center, or Golf House. Since I had the time to plant the garden, it must have been about 1994 and I was retired from my jobs. I purchased a dozen or more inexpensive roses and planted them in a space behind the Senior Center, and along the rear patio near the center. The garden spot was not ideal (poor drainage), but it turned out to be more lasting than the Chicken coop. The coop was accessible from a driveway off 36th St., behind the barn, and down a grassy hill. We worried about getting back up the grassy hill in rainy conditions, but that was never a problem. We did get some punctured tires however.
The problem with the coop was its condition. The window openings were loosely boarded up and the roof was leaky. The winter snow would drift in through the cracks, and fall in the boxes. With warm weather the snow would melt, damaging the cardboard boxes, and over time, the wooden boxes and equipment. Also the roof, not perfect from the first, over the years became a virtual sieve.
When we moved our rose show site from Breton Village Mall to Meijer Gardens in 2002, storage at the Gardens became available, and we moved our supplies to safer storage at the Gardens.
When the rose society discontinued the use of the chicken coop, I continued to do Spring and Fall rose care for the garden at the Rec. Center. As a tack-on to my commercial spraying work in town, I also sprayed the Rec. Center garden with left over spray.
I did not mind the spraying, but I seemed to be the only person charged with controlling the weeds, at least it seemed that way. This past summer was one with some heavy rains. Sometimes the rose bushes were standing in water or mud. By August the plants were largely defoliated. Since this is a golf course, Japanese beetles are a serious problem, but this year black spot was too. When I made my last spray trip there in mid-September, I officially resigned my commission as rose garden caretaker. The fact that that week was the week of my 81st birthday, gave me the perfect excuse to call it quits. I suggested they might try planting begonias.
We better appreciate the storage space that Julie Franke has made available to us the last 3 or 4 years. When we were asked by Meijer Gardens to vacate the garage space allocated to us for storage in 2002 at Miejer Gardens, because they needed the space, Julie Franke open up some space for us in the warehouse for Julie’s Education Department. We better be thankful for it. W.B.


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