A Rose Grower's Secrets

Take a stroll through this Master Gardener's rose garden on Cape Cod and get insider tips on growing beautiful roses.

Reposted from HGTV Gardens

by Melissa Caughey

Irwin and Cindy Ehrenreich are passionate about roses. In fact, to pay a visit to their home and gardens is nothing short of inspiring. Nestled on a bend on Cape Cod's historic Route 6A is a beautiful homestead that the couple has lovingly returned to its glory since it was first built in the 1600s. Just as lovely as the inside of the house are their outside gardens comprised almost entirely of roses. These gardens contain over 600 different varieties. As you wander the grass paths, your senses are filled with color, fragrance and fascination with so many different varieties of roses. However it wasn't always this way.

The Ehrenreich's journey started eighteen years ago when the couple had an unexpected catastrophic event that forced them down a different occupational path. Little did they know that their new path was paved with roses. It first started with miniature roses and over time has bloomed into a full-time consultation business. Over the past eighteen years, the Ehrenreichs have immersed themselves in learning all that they can about roses. Irwin even worked at a local garden center for years on the Cape. His expertise was roses. During this time, he was given the nickname, The Rose Man. That nickname is still with him today. When the Ehrenreichs are not tending to others' rose gardens or their own, they attend rose shows, seek out new varieties, and also lecture at numerous venues around New England.

Though roses can be a bit intimidating for many gardeners, I was lucky enough to learn some rose keeping basics as well as some of The Rose Man's secrets.

A Rose-Y Outlook

Reposted from CapeCod Magazine
Click on images for a larger version

Postmedical career in full bloom

Reposted form The Boston Globe

Surgeon lost finger, reinvented himself as Rose Man

The Rose Man - Irwin Ehrenreich - owns a nursery with his wife, Cindy Ehrenreich, in Carver. After an accident ended his days as a surgeon, he developed an intense interest in growing roses. (John Tlumacki/ Globe Staff)

By Michael Paulson

Globe Staff / July 23, 2009

CARVER - Irwin Ehrenreich's medical career ended in the whirl of a table saw.

He picked up his two severed fingers, placed them on ice in a Ziploc bag, and brought them to the hospital. But only one finger could be reattached. His days as a surgeon were over.

A year later, the nine-fingered Rose Man was born. Cindy Ehrenreich, Irwin's wife, wanted something to help him move forward and suggested the couple check out a rose festival in Barnstable Village. He came home with a miniature rose bush and a curiosity about the thorny perennial that turned into a fascination. "I needed something to take over for what was missing, and roses was it," Ehrenreich said. On a sunny Wednesday, Irwin Ehrenreich, with a black-and-gray ponytail peeking out from under a baseball cap, is down by a large pond, rebuilding a yellow brick road.

In front of him is a sprawling sea of rose bushes, 650 varieties in all, from the formal but vulnerable English climbers to the harder-to-kill "Easy Elegance" blooms, around a large greenhouse and a decaying 1918 baggage car he is renovating as an office.

Behind him, across the pond, are the Ferris wheel and trains of Edaville USA, a popular children's attraction.

And beneath him is a path of paver bricks, colored yellow with striping paint, but shifting underfoot in the sand. That won't do, not when he's envisioning crowds of visitors walking through his strange mingling of Munchkinland and mulch, where the lollipop swirl of bricks is punctuated by flower stakes topped with statues of the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, and Scarecrow, where there are rose bushes named the Judy Garland floribunda, the Yellow Brick Road shrub, and the Over the Rainbow miniature, and, where, of course, there's Toto, too, in the form of a small statue in the center with a little white marker that reads, "Toto - Cairn Terrier."

It's a bit of a strange garden path, but it's been a bit of a strange journey for Ehrenreich, aka the Rose Man, who grew up in an Orthodox Jewish home in Brooklyn and, after a brief stint as a rock musician, had a successful career as an otolaryngological surgeon until the accident in his woodshop. Now Ehrenreich and his wife run The Rose Man Nursery & Emporium, and when business is slow, which is often, Irwin is out in the narrow stretch of land inside the circular railroad track, constructing a 240-foot-long series of rose gardens along the narrow shoreline, each garden room featuring roses of a particular hue or type, and with a distinct design theme.

Ehrenreich, 58, is a long way from home.

He was raised in Borough Park, in an observant family that traces its ancestry to the Belzer Rabbi, a famous Hasidic spiritual leader. He says that seeing the Beatles on "The Ed Sullivan Show" led him to drift away from orthodoxy as an adolescent. After high school, he took several years off to play the bass guitar and keyboard in a series of rock bands.

Ehrenreich went back to school in 1973, studying chemistry at Brooklyn College, and then attending New York University medical school, and, after a year in Jerusalem, launching a career in ear, nose, and throat work.

"I really liked surgery - I liked the head and neck anatomy, because I thought it was complex and interesting," he said. After getting married and starting a family, Ehrenreich moved to Connecticut, and in 1993, to Cape Cod, which the family discovered after swapping a timeshare unit for a week in Mashpee.

The family bought a captain's house that had been built in 1690, and spent years renovating it; it was while working on the house in his shop in the basement that Ehrenreich chopped off the second and middle fingers of his left hand in 1996.

"I was just daydreaming," he says, by way of explanation.

He spent a week at Massachusetts General Hospital, where both fingers were reattached, but the middle finger turned blue a week later and had to be removed. Ehrenreich, who is left-handed, lost enough dexterity that microsurgery was no longer possible.

He also did a lot of work with children, and worried that they would be frightened by the sight of his four-fingered hand.

So Ehrenreich essentially retired. But living on disability didn't suit him, either emotionally or financially, with three children and a large mortgage. Gardening was not his thing - his only previous attempt at growing roses ended in the mandibles of some Japanese beetles. But that day at the Barnstable rose show piqued his interest, and he found himself attending meetings of the Seaside Rosarians, and then reading up on the history and cultivation of roses. He took a job in a garden store, where he was given the nickname Rose Man. He started a garden in his yard that grew to 500 roses. He lectured on roses, consulted on gardens, and became a familiar presence at meetings of rose clubs.

"The first time I ever saw him, it was at a lobster fest down on the Cape after the Yankee District rose show. He brought out his electric piano and began to sing stuff he used to play in his band," said Marci Martin, president of the Connecticut Rose Society and the rosarian at Elizabeth Park, in Hartford, which claims to be the nation's oldest municipal rose garden. "He used to play guitar, but he can't because of his lost fingers, so he sits there and pounds on the piano."

After five years of working in the garden store, Ehrenreich started a business selling roses from his yard, which he did until the Barnstable Conservation Commission said his rose beds were illegally disturbing a wetland.

So last year, Irwin and Cindy moved their business to Carver, leasing land from a gardening client who owns Edaville.

Ehrenreich has a hard time putting into words why he loves the rose, which is prone to black spot and mildew and dying over the winter.

"I loved the beauty, the variety, the history, and it's also challenging," he said. "The more I got into it, the more I wanted to get into it."

He brightens when he talks about the elegance of the Crown Princess Margareta, an apricot-colored shrub rose, and the delicacy of Teasing Georgia, a yellow English bush.

He also notes, with satisfaction, that one of his least favorite roses, a pink shrub called the Auguste Renoir, is no longer in the catalog.

He says he used to enjoy hearing about other doctors' challenging medical cases; now, he finds himself tuning out when the medical storytelling begins. Most of the couple's friends now are rose-lovers.

"After a while, it became an obsession," he admits. "I couldn't wait for another winter to end, so I could get out there pruning."

Michael Paulson can be reached at mpaulson@globe.com.

© Copyright 2009 Globe Newspaper Company.

Secrets of a Rose Lover

Reposted from the Country Garden Magazine Spring 2008

Starting over takes faith. And when the future is in roses, it takes a belief that these plants—with their challenging reputation—are worthy of the effort. But when Irwin Ehrenreich, a former ear, nose, and throat surgeon, injured his hand with a table saw in 1996 while renovating his home in Barnstable, Massachusetts, the injury forced Irwin to retire and left a void in his life. His wife, Cindy, thought learning how to tend roses may help him find a new passion.
"Cindy wanted me to start a rose garden," Irwin says. "She talked me into going to a rose society meeting. They sent me home with a miniature rose."
Never having grown roses before, Irwin set out to investigate the plants. The roses intrigued him. During the next several years, Irwin and Cindy learned as much as they could about the colorful, fragrant, history-rich plants. "As a surgeon I was constantly reading," Irwin says. "I'm still reading—I'm just reading about roses now."

Above 'Jeanne Lajoie' climbs an obelisk. Right
Attached to the back of their house, Cindy and
Irwin Ehrenreich's garden room is a place for
potting plants and storing baskets, pottery, and
tools. Opposite Clipped from the garden, this
bouquet combines 'Teasing Georgia', 'Graham
Thomas', 'Sally Holmes', and Rosa multiflora.

Soon their lawn began to shrink. "I don't design my rose beds," Irwin says. "I design a series of flowing paths." He uses white spray paint to mark the edges of garden paths and then excavates the soil on either side of the paths. The resulting narrow strips of grass flow like streams through the garden, revealing new beds of bloom-laden roses with every turn.
"I used to have a little bit of everything in the garden—annuals, perennials, and roses," Irwin says. That changed when he began to run out of space for new roses. "Once there was a garden group visiting and I gave everyone a shovel. I told them to dig up all the perennials. They did, and now I only have roses."
Irwin and Cindy now grow about 500 roses. "Sometimes garden books mention the 'shrinking lawn syndrome' where grass is constantly removed to make way for gardens. We have shrinking lawn syndrome," Irwin says. Irwin and Cindy's rose garden covers about a quarter of their 2-acre property. Dubbed "The Rose Man" while working at a local nursery several years ago, Irwin has covered the street-side fence, the front of the house, and nearly every bit of soil in the front yard with roses.

Above Cindy and Irwin look over roses in their nursery. They specialize in
growing the best roses, including ones that are lesser known, available to
local gardeners. Top right 'Teasing Georgia' and 'Sweet Juliet' nearly mask the
sign in front of Cindy and Irwin's home that reads "Sturgis Homestead 1690."
Bottom right 'Red Eden' grows behind one of the birdhouses Cindy collects.

The area not consumed by rose beds is occupied by The Rose Man nursery, Irwin and Cindy's rose business, which is in the process of moving to a new home in nearby Carver. The new location opens in April and will include a 1-acre display garden; a shop loaded with rose supplies, rose-theme crafts and antiques; and the couple's favorite 500 or so varieties of roses available for purchase.
Irwin has come a long way since the day he came home with one miniature rose, and he's happy to share his knowledge. "I always tell gardeners that roses are not as difficult to grow as they think. There is a lot of misinformation out there. I work to teach people the right way to care for roses." Irwin has condensed his care tips into a pamphlet called "The Rose Man's Secrets," which goes home with every rose sold at the nursery. He shared many of his tips with us—see "Rose Care Simplified"

Above A sea of rose color explodes during the last two weeks of June. Irwin
and Cindy observe a lesser display of flowers late into fall. Right 'Royal
Sunset' scrambles over a fence. A passionate woodworker, Irwin built all of
the arbors, fences, and trellises in the landscape.
garden at a glance
SIZE ½ acre
AGE 11 years
The mild Cape Cod climate
is exceptional for growing
roses. Occasionally, brutally
cold winters strike the area,
causing plant death, but such
conditions are rare.

A frequent public speaker about roses and a Consulting Rosarian with the American Rose Society, Irwin is a regional source for rose growers. "People are constantly calling, e-mailing, and stopping by with questions. We are the place where people come with their rose problems," he says. Irwin diagnoses the problem and offers a prescription—often in the form of fertilizer and proper maintenance strategies for avoiding disease. In a way, Irwin continues to practice medicine—but now his patients are roses.

Rose Care Simplified
Grow healthy roses by following Irwin Ehrenreich's tips.
  • Plant new roses spring through fall. Select varieties that suit your schedule. Hardy, disease-resistant shrub roses require the least care.
  • Plant smart. Many roses are a combination of two plants—the top half is one variety grafted onto the root stock of another. The two meet at a swollen area called the bud union. In Zones 7 and below, bury the bud union at least 2 inches below the soil.
  • Prune when forsythia bloom. Remove weak or damaged canes and branches that are rubbing.
  • Provide water as needed. Roses thrive in moist, well-drained soil. When rain is scarce, water deeply once a week. Deliver water directly to the base of the plant to avoid getting the foliage wet.
  • Feed plants once a month from late spring to late summer.
  • Spray fungicides regularly to help prevent disease.
  • Deadhead plants throughout the season for repeated blooming.
  • Stop deadheading in October. Transition plants into winter dormancy by letting rose hips form.
  • After Thanksgiving, remove clinging leaves. Spray plants with lime-sulfur oil. Set a 12-inch-tall mound of mulch around each plant's base for insulation.

Read about the Rose Man Inside

Primetime Capecod:
Click on image to enlarge

Roses to the Rescue:
Reposted from The Register - June 8, 2006


By Stephanie Foster

Ten years ago, Irwin Ehrenreich was a happily married surgeon with a loving wife Cindy, three kids and a budding career. He had just become a partner at Hyannis Ear, Nose and Throat. In his spare time he restored the 300 year old colonial house in Barnstable he lived in. He built new walls and she stenciled them. Life was good.

But on one April day in 1996, his mind drifted away from the table saw he was using and he severed two fingers from his left hand. Cape Cod Hospital sent him to Mass General where they attempted to reattach the fingers.

"Only one survived with minimal use", he says holding his four-fingered hand out. He is upbeat about his loss now but it was no smiling matter when his career as a surgeon crashed and burned. "I couldn't hold an instrument" he says. Retired at 45, Irwin became depressed. "My mother and sister suggested doing medical reports or insurance related to medicine. But all I loved was surgery. If I couldn't do that, I didn't want to do anything else.

Cindy came to the rescue. She wanted him to grow roses and dragged him to the Seaside Rosarians rose show. He was impressed and became a member. "I received a miniature rose bush as a gift when I joined. Then I bought the book eRoses for Dummies' and read it twice. I came out of a field where I was very obsessive. I was constantly reading, taking courses and going to conventions. I attacked roses in the same way and started reading everything I could find."

Cindy fanned the flame of his new ardor. "He started building trellises, arbors and put up a white fence. He wanted red roses against a white fence. I said why not apricot? There is so much more out there than the typical red rose," she says.

Five years after Irwin had 200 roses and was president of the Seaside Rosarians. Later the group merged with the Lower Cape Rose Society and he is now vice president.

Along the way he encountered master gardener and author C.L. Fornari. "I walked into Country Garden and saw that she did consultations. She came to my garden to tell me where to put perennials." As they talked she realized that he was a rose expert and suggested to the manager at Country Garden that he take care of the rose section.

"I did it for five years. I got to know a lot more. I also met the sales reps from growers in California." Knowledge that would come in handy later. Fornari also suggested that he become a Master Gardener. He did. "Then she told me the Cape needed a rose nursery and suggested that I open a place. She inspired me."

Last year Irwin opened his own nursery offering unusual stock that most garden centers don't carry. Customers can see the plants growing in his display gardens and then buy from his inventory of 3000 plants. For people who don't have the time to tend to their own gardens, he offers rose care, consultations, weekly spraying and fertilizing.

Now in their second season, husband and wife work together. "I draw the sketches and Cindy picks the roses. We planted 100 roses at an old Victorian home and coordinated them with the colors of the house."

Last year, they attended the Hyannis Farmer's Market on Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. (opens June 14) and will return this year with both roses and Cindy's rose photographs. The Barnstable Fair was also a good venue for them and this year, he has agreed to plant a demonstration garden there to go with the master gardener's vegetable garden.

He's also added rose lectures to his agenda, and once a month he gives "The Rose Report" on Fornari's gardening show on 95 WXTK radio. "It created a whole new life for me. I don't miss medicine. I'm glad I didn't do any of those other things. I bump into doctors I know and they tell me how miserable they are. They have stress, pressures, and problems with insurance reimbursements."

Irwin eventually abandoned the world of perennials entirely. "I find them more work. Each one needs different care. Roses are basically all the same in terms of care. If you can take care of one rose you can take care of any rose. Next to roses, perennials are like weeds" he says, with a smile.

Why do the Ehrenreichs love roses? "They offer five months of bloom, variety, color, fragrance and it's the challenge. I've learned how to do it right. So it's easy for me."

Cindy adds, "Some people say they just aren't lucky with roses but it has nothing to do with luck. You have to know what to do."

Reposted from the Carver Reporter

Rose Man offers free garden tours

By Bobbi Sistrunk

Thu Jul 09, 2009, 11:02 AM EDT


If you're a fan of fresh air, beautiful scenery and roses, The Rose Man Nursery in South Carver is the perfect place for you to visit this summer.

Owners Erwin and Cindy Ehrenreich set down roots, literally, in Carver just over a year ago when they opened the nursery on the grounds of Edaville U.S.A.

But faced with a large open space devoid of conditions conducive to growing roses, the couple was starting from scratch to create what they had envisioned: a workable, attractive rose garden that folks visiting from Carver to California could enjoy. Since they first put shovel to earth, they have been hard at work transforming the edge of a pond in Edaville's cranberry country into a winding collection of garden "rooms" filled with bright, soft and wonderfully scented roses. They began by preparing the soil, siting the gardens and then planting dozens of different varieties of rose bushes on the property.

Each room has its own color scheme. One is white, another red. Shades of orange dress another, while pinks burst forth in pleasurable feminine shades in yet another room. There is a lavender room filled with lovely purple roses of all shades and varieties. But the highlight of the gardens is the recently completed yellow room.

Erwin and Cindy have transformed this space into a trip through Oz. Visitors can follow a winding yellow brick road through dozens of rose bushes in shades of yellow that seem too brilliant to be real. Others are soft pastel yellow; all are stunning. To carry the Oz theme, the Ehrenreichs have placed a scarecrow, a witch and even "Toto" in this garden.

The nursery has gone all organic this year in an effort to help preserve the environment.

"Although the roses thrived with traditional methods, we decided to go organic this year." Erwin said. "We picked the worst possible year to do this because it rained almost every day in June. Organic just didn't work as well as the chemicals we used in the past."

But they are not giving up. As the season progresses, Erwin said he is already seeing differences in the garden. "We've been thinking about this for years," he said. "Mainly because we, as gardeners, have been polluting the environment for years. A lot of people we know have switched and gotten rid of the chemicals."

"There have been reports of beehive collapse syndrome being linked to Imidacloprid, a chemical that was in the grub killer we used, and the insecticide," he added. "Growers bring beehives here for the cranberry bogs, and we didn't want to be contributing to the beehive collapse syndrome. Also, we have birdhouses and feeders all over the garden. I didn't want to be spray toxic things on the roses in such close proximity to the birds. Now they are taking over for the insecticides and eating a lot of the insects."

He said going all organic has other benefits as well.

"Now we can show our customers which roses are really disease resistant, because if you spray fungicides, you really don't know which are the really resistant ones. Once we stopped using them, we were able to see which are naturally resistant to black spot and powdery mildew."

An added feature at the nursery this summer is the guided walking tours of the gardens Mondays and Thursdays from 2 to 4 p.m. They are open to the public free of charge.

"We walk around the garden with people and tell them how it was built and answer any questions they may have," Erwin said. "The highlight of the garden is the Yellow Brick Road. I've had parents come over and tell me their children saw it from the Edaville train that passes right by us and they just had to see it."

"It's such a whimsical garden; you've got to be impressed by all the different colored rooms," Lower Cape Rose Society Past President Oz Osborn said as he stood in the yellow room. "The mix of shrub and tree roses, mimis and tea roses; he's working everything into each room. You don't know what you'll see next. Each little corner jumps out at you. As you leave this little land of Oz, you don't realize how this all works in together until the next time you visit."

The newly completed 42x70 greenhouse opened in the spring and in summer serves as the gift shop and workspace for the Ehrenreichs. Come fall, some of the roses will be taken in, but most will remain outside to allow them to go dormant over the winter.

"In February we will start potting them up in the greenhouse and then we begin moving them outside for sale again," Erwin said.

Inside the gift shop, customers will find rose-related gifts and gardening supplies including trellises and some rose-specific tools Erwin invented himself. Rose journals handcrafted by Cindy, jewelry made from real roses, photos suitable for framing and, of course rose, scented soaps are all available for sale. A large community bulletin board area is chock full of rosy information, catalogs and ideas for planting.

Fast becoming a destination point for rosarians from all over the country, visiting The Rose Man is one thing that should be on everyone's to-do list.

April 1, 2007

The bloom is off the rose as the microsurgeon encounters a thorn


If you ask Irwin Ehrenreich what he loves about roses he will tell you "everything" and then proceed to tell you the many reasons until he is breathless.

"I think they are just the nicest plant, not just the flowers, but the plant, thorns and all. I like that there are so many colors and varieties or roses - tens of thousands of roses - and that they have such a long blooming period. Nothing blooms as long as a rose. And then there is the fragrance."

He can mark history with the flowers - from Cleopatra's room filled with the petals to welcome Marc Anthony, to the 15th century War of the Roses, to the story of Napoleon's wife, the Empress Josephine, who vowed to collect every variety in the world.

"That is my favorite," he said, telling me how her quest for roses took precedence over the French Revolution. "The British ships would open the blockade and allow ships carrying roses to Josephine to pass through."

Josephine's passion for the flower mirrors Irwin's, which has overwhelmed his world in the past decade; but that hasn't always been the case. There was a time in Irwin's life when a rose was just a rose.

Eleven years ago Irwin was doing some amateur carpentry repair to the historic 300-year-old home he shares with his wife, Cindy, and their three sons when a tragic accident dramatically altered the course of his life.

Cutting wood on a table saw, he admits he was daydreaming when his left hand drifted into the blade, severing two fingers.

"I grabbed the fingers and threw them in a bag of ice," he said, recalling there wasn't a lot of blood or pain initially, just a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach with the instant realization his career was over.

Dr. Irwin Ehrenreich had been practicing medicine as a left-handed microsurgeon specializing in the ear, nose and throat for more than 10 years.

He had a choice to close the wounds and sacrifice the fingers or attempt to reattach them surgically. Either way, Irwin said, there was no turning back to his career. "I knew it was over."

Doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital successfully reattached one of the two fingers.

It was a devastating blow, but a year later Cindy encouraged him to attend his first rose show and introduced him to what would become his new life's work.

It is how he became known as the rose man of Barnstable.

He joined a local rose society and began to read anything and everything he could about growing, nurturing and breeding the plants. Within three years he was president of the Seaside Rosarians and is now president of the Lower Cape Rose Society. He consults and lectures on roses and has become such a noted authority, he was called upon to make the opening remarks at a recent rose convention of the Yankee District Rose Society in Newport, R.I.

Two years ago he won approval from the town of Barnstable to develop the property surrounding his home, the 1690 Sturgis Homestead in Barnstable Village, into a nursery to sell the plants. In season it is an amazing display of color and fragrance wafting over Route 6A, from blooming flowers of every imaginable variety barely contained by a whitewashed picket fence.

Last week the bare plants held nothing but promise and thorns, but small green labels identified them. There was an English rose called Gertrude Jekyll and another named for Tess of the d'Urbervilles, a floribunda called Simply Marvelous! and a hybrid tea named in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales.

"I walk around my garden and tend to them, care for them and prune them. They are like my patients. I put a lot of energy into being a surgeon, and I took all that energy and put it into my roses," he said.

He admits to being obsessive about his roses in much the same way he obsessed about medicine.

"But medicine was very stressful, and this is enjoyable," he said, and it filled a great void in his life. "I wanted to be committed to something really tough and challenging and to master it. Anyone can grow tulips and pansies; these are roses."

Last week Irwin and Cindy donned garden gloves and their matching brown canvas aprons to begin potting more than 4,000 plants in their basement potting shed. Delivered in giant cardboard crates that now fill the driveway, the young plants soak overnight in a pool of water.

"It's a real mom-and-pop operation," he said, "I bring in the plants, prune the roots and Cindy plants them in a 3-gallon pot."

This spring, however, they do this knowing the future of the nursery is uncertain.

To meet the overwhelming demand for roses this season, Irwin went to the back of his 2-acre lot on the far side of a small pond in the center of his yard and cut some trees and cleared some brush to accommodate more plants. He had unwittingly violated a law, bringing out a conservation agent.

When he learned what he had done, Irwin dreaded a fine and citation but never imagined he would be ordered to remove all of the raised-bed flower boxes he built to accommodate the plants. Without them the nursery would just be a mud bath, and certainly no place to sell roses.

The Ehrenreichs don't want to start a new war of the roses, but are seeking to appeal the decision, issued based on the proximity of the raised-bed boxes to wetlands. A hearing is scheduled for April 17.

The future of the nursery and their livelihood will depend on the outcome.

"It couldn't have come at a worse time," said Irwin, who regrets his ignorance of the law, but hopes he doesn't have to pay the ultimate price. "If I can't sell these roses, I can't pay for them."

He is hopeful the town will consider an agricultural exemption to allow the nursery to continue.

After all, as with Josephine's parting of the British blockade, roses are special.

Paula Peters, a former Cape Cod Times staff writer, lives in Mashpee. She can be reached at paula@wampworx.com. Village to Village runs on the first and third Sunday of each month.

(Published: April 1, 2007)