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Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Friday, June 7, 2013

A rose by any other name still lovely in the rain

Even a  rainy day is pretty wonderful in the Mooreland rose garden where I spent part of a rainy Thursday researching a story about it that will run Monday. It's no surprise to learn that roses are related to strawberries, another wonderful spring treat around here.

The garden was designed more than a hundred years ago as part of the Mooreland estate, home of Edward Moore, transportation scion who helped to create the late great interurban railroad. Back in that time folks from Mentor and Painesville had only to hop on a passing streetcar to get to Willoughby or Cleveland. The stop used by Moore himself is no more, but its location today is on Mentor Avenue near the western entrance to the Great Lakes Mall. That's how big the Moore estate was back then. Mooreland is today on the campus of Lakeland Community College, most easily reached from Garfield Road just beyond the freeway overpass in Mentor. It's surrounded by eight acres, most of them gardens, and is itself a public garden that's open to the public when there's not a wedding or other event taking place.

In my travels I've found roses growing far above the Arctic Circle in Tromso, Norway  and seen boxes of them stacked 10 deep on the tarmac at the airport in Quito, Ecuador, where the sunny high altitude climate is spring-like year round and rose growing is an economic force. Most roses found today at florists likely originated in Ecuador.

Perhaps you've noticed, as I have, that today's roses don't have the fragrance of older roses. That's because the wonderful scent has been largely bred out of them in exchange, I suppose, for longevity and hardiness.

 But even in the rain the scent of Mooreland's rose garden wafts out to the approaching visitor to hint at what's to come. That's because the garden club volunteers have sought to use mostly heritage roses in the restored garden, which replicates even the colors popular when the Moores lived there. Heritage ross are those in existence before the 1860s when hybridizing began in earnest.

Gardener Lori Roy will give a luncheon program on June 18 framed around the Mooreland rose garden. That's what my upcoming story is about. Catch it if you can. 

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