The Rewards of Service

Sherlock Holmes

"This rose is an extra..."

The Rewards of Service

By Robert B. Martin, Jr.

Shortly after planting my first rose garden in 1971, I began to discover something unique and remarkable about roses. Left to their own devices my roses were quite beautiful.  But when I started to do some things they got better. Not just a little better, but a lot better.  And in every case the return was a multiple of the additional effort. This went on for year after year. Today, after 43 years of growing roses, it continues – not only in growing roses but also with rose societies, whether at the local, district or national level. The more I have put into rose societies, the more I have received in return, in knowledge, joy and, most of all, in the friendship of the many people I have met whose bond is a shared interest in the Rose.

The Rose is the most beautiful flower in God's creation, a gift that has been generously given to us. But it is not in the “getting” that we receive but in the giving. By giving to roses, we receive from them. As it says in the scriptures of my faith, “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” Mosiah 2:17

Those of my generation recall well John F. Kennedy’s famous remarks at his 1961 inaugural, “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” Less known, but similar remarks were made by Warren G. Harding at the Republican National Convention in 1916, There, the Ohio Senator said: "We must have a citizenship less concerned about what the government can do for it, and more anxious about what it can do for the nation.”

Let us apply similar thoughts to the American Rose Society. Ask not what the American Rose Society can do for you – ask what you can for the American Rose Society. What we need is a membership less concerned about what the Society can do for it and more anxious about what it can do for roses and those who would grow them in their gardens.

As Sherlock Holmes said to Dr. Watson: “Our highest assurance of the existence of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are all really necessary for our existence in the first place. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its colour are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only goodness which brings extras, and so I say again, that we have much to hope for in the flowers.” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Naval Treaty”

The American Rose Society is our hope for the Rose and I would like to continue my service to the Rose by becoming its next Vice-President.