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Master Rosarian Cares for 465 Rose Bushes
Spring has sprung and gardeners are pruning, digging and planting their favorite flowers.
One of the most popular is the rose, and a 40-year rose gardener is sharing his passion for the national flower of the United States.
"The rose to me is the most beautiful flower in the world," said master rosarian Dan Keil.
Keil has 465 rose bushes planted in his backyard in Decatur.
"I can remember my dad getting roses and planting them, and it kind of stuck with me," Keil said.
Keil has been growing roses for 40 years, and is a master rosarian with the American Rose Society.
"That means I've been growing roses for a long time," Keil said.
So Keil knows exactly when it's time to prune his roses.
"Usually they say when the forsythia's in bloom, it's the time to prune roses, and the forsythia is in bloom," Keil said.
"If you make a cut and it has any brown like that at all, that won't support your growth at all, and what you're looking for is that white creamy growth in the middle," Keil said.
Keil will share his knowledge and passion for roses with others at the Earth-Kind Rose Program and Rose Pruning workshop at Springfield's Washington Park Botanical Garden.
"A seminar and then we'll come down here and show people how to take care of them, how to cut them back, and the process that goes into and how much work there is," said Chad Scaife, General Manager of the Botanical Garden.
The Washington Park rose garden is a big attraction for visitors each summer.
"We have over 3,000 roses and it was started in about 1962," Keil said.
A lot of hard work goes into making sure the rosebushes are in tip top shape for summer.
"They just got uncovered and we're going back over them and re-cutting them again. We cut all the dead out of them from the winter and it was a hard winter," Scaife said.
Something Keil knows all too well. He's forced to cut most of his roses down to the ground.
"All the roses you thought wouldn't get froze down to the ground, got froze down to the ground," Keil said.
Cutting off the dead parts of the plant will help the rosebushes grow healthy.
"All of the sunlight can get to the crown of that plant now, and I'm going to fertilize them, and these bushes are going to just jump right out of the ground," Keil said.
The rosebushes will start blooming in June and will continue all summer long.
"Roses will bloom intermittently all season long. In fact, I had roses blooming in November last year," said Keil.
Which means that much more time for Keil to enjoy his favorite flower.
"Not much compares to a rose as far as beauty, and then you get a rose with fragrance to it, well then you can't beat it anyway," Keil said.