Rose Enthusiast Has Red, Pink, Yellow, Purple Thumb

April 27, 2012 by Julie Montanaro

Ribbons have already been pinned on the winners of the Thomasville Rose Show.

The city's love affair with these beautiful blossoms dates back more than a century. And it may surprise you to know that one of its most prolific "rosarians" is a transplant.

"This is a hybrid tea. This particular bush will get very very big and the roses will get very large on it."

Joanne Maxheimer might be the "real" rose queen. 100 rose bushes of every shape and size thrive in her backyard.

"And what is this called?"

"Lady of the dawn."

"This gives me lots of pleasure. I like to putz in the dirt."

She claims it's just a hobby.

"I probably spend eight to ten hours a week just with the small ones that I have right now on the weekends," Maxheimer said with a shrug.

Joanne enters the Thomasville Rose Show every year and judges it too.

She has all but abandoned the potent fungicides and pesticides for more natural nurturing.

"I refer to them as she, yes," she said as gave us a tour of her backyard rose beds.

She's convinced anyone can do this with a combination of southern soil, sweet sunshine and a little TLC.

"I think it's the climate that we have. We can enjoy them all the way through December. There's been many a Christmas I've come out and cut roses from my garden."

"This is called "Otta the Blue" and if you smell it, it has fabulous fragrance to it."

"Oh my gosh."

"Mr. Lincoln is another one that has fragrance, uh, Double Delight has fragrance and that's what I like."

She followed her nose here from South Florida nine years ago.

"I think we find it rather ironic that we're in the City of Roses because I've had them my entire life. To wind up in the City of Roses, it's amazing, and I really think it's a Godsend that we were meant to come up here and just do our thing."

Joanne's winning roses - and those entered by dozens more exhibitors - are on display at the Thomasville Rose Show.

The highest award you can win at the Thomasville Rose show is "queen of show."

This year the queen of show is a Lynn Anderson rose grown by Donna Harrell of Poulan, Georgia.

The Thomasville Rose Show continues Saturday from 10am to 5pm.