GreenTree's farm customers are one-of-a-kind in many ways, growing different plant varieties, using varying growing practices and dealing with a range of topography. We work to support all of our agricultural customers, catering to their needs and eliminating the time consuming process of making soil themselves. Visiting with GreenTree’s farmers this season helped us learn how we can continue to be a great partner, while also hearing the unique stories that accompany every farm.
Leon Ginenthal has been growing roses for 30 years, and 12 years ago he built Der Rosenmeister Nursery across what was once a hilly hay field. Leon grows many varieties of roses, both new and old, and starts them all in a specialty blend of GreenTree soil. His rose-selling season lasts from May to July 4th.
Each year, Leon sells his beautiful bounty at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Spring Plant Sale and his nursery in Ithaca. An annual open house is held the Friday before Father’s Day at the nursery. Fathers' day weekend, falling in mid-June, is the most spectacular time of year to see the roses at Der Rosenmeister. Over 200 people attended the open house in 2015.
Other events occur throughout the year as well, both at the nursery and other venues in Central New York, including the beautiful Mohunk Mountain House, where the gardens are full of Leon’s roses. A full, up-to-date list can be found here.
Since Leon began growing in our blend, he says, “the plants are bigger than ever.” The canes of the plants are tall and the roots in each 3-gallon pot are incredible. The roses don’t need to be watered as frequently, “the soil doesn’t compact,” and no fertilizer is needed before the roses are sold.
Roses are budded, not grafted, Leon explained to us. While Leon propagates older varieties of roses himself, many newer types are patented and Der Rosenmeister Nursery is not large enough to bud them. Instead, these varieties are sourced from a grower in Canada and then flourish here in Ithaca. All of the rose varieties sold at the nursery are listed here.
Visitors would never know the terraced, rose-covered lawn at Der Rosenmeister hasn’t always looked like it does now. The beautiful spot nestled above the city of Ithaca has seen numerous events and special occasions, including an engagement under the solar panels.
In addition to working for the Ithaca City School District, Leon also grows bonsai trees and raises white pigeons for release at local events. It is evident across the terraces of Der Rosenmeister Nursery that he also has a passion for re-purposing old treasures. The bricks of his patio were once part of State Street in Ithaca and the clay tiles on the roofs of his gazebos are over 100 years old. One pergola, now draped with roses, was fashioned from the original pheasant gates at Cornell University. A similar structure was created using gates from the Irish exposition at the New York World Fair.