Thursday, October 30, 2014

Missing Joan

Unknown Pink Roses, Normandy American Cemetery, France

I've been away for a couple of weeks. While I was out of the country, Joan Franson, a long time well respected gardener and master consulting rosarian passed away.  Joan was 82, a very young 82.  To coin Lou Grant in describing Mary Tyler Moore (TV show titled the same name) in one of the early episodes of the 1970s...she had "spunk."  Joan had spunk.

I met Joan and was introduced to all things roses at the first Denver Rose Society meeting I attended several years ago. It was a fall meeting and she gave a "beginner friendly" thorough and very helpful talk on putting your roses to bed, no visual PowerPoint needed by Joan. She was knowledgeable and immensely captivating to listen to, so much so that she could describe rose care A - Z to a tea (pun intended). Best of all, she had a sense of humor which was spot on and sprinkled throughout all her talks. And my, did she know how to grow healthy and beautiful roses. Joan even had a secret soil weapon - mixing in expanded shale to break up clay soils and conserve water. She recommended that everyone use it, and not just for rose beds.  Joan believed in it so much that a handful of area garden retailers started selling expanded shale, she even put them in touch with wholesale companies that packaged it. The Denver Post wrote an article bout it - Denver Post Garden Helper  Additional information - Got Clay?

Unfortunately I wasn't in Denver so missed Joan's memorial service on the 28th of October.  I was told that a handful of friends shared their memories of Joan and countless other gardeners, friends and professionals attended (200+).  Those who talked about Joan represented areas of her main interests and loves - gardening with a special fondness for roses and native plants, the Colorado Garden and Home show (she served over 20 years on their board), parliamentary procedure and shar-pei dogs.  The common theme was Joan's tireless commitment to serving and participating, plus her expertise on the subject, clever wit, and sometimes sharp tongue she always had close at hand. 

Photo by Scott Dressel-Martin
Joan will be missed. Collectively we'll experience more than missing her, we'll feel Joan's absence from being part of our lives and the organizations she loved so much and supported. We'll miss her friendship, her life in the room.  If we could name a rose after Joan Franson, it would have it all - continuous bloom ('Golden Wings'), pretty blooms ('Robusta'), extremely hardy ('Rosa glauca'), and a must have in every garden ('Carefree Delight').

"All that live must die, passing through nature to eternity."   
William Shakespeare

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