Mevy’s Old Garden Roses
You could say Mevaline Bullock grew into the flower shop business. Her Aunt Iva McRaney’s shop was just behind the house she and her husband have called home for the past 35 years. Bullock helped out there retiring from her job as nutritionist at the 5-County Health Department after her aunt had a stroke and continued the business after her aunt’s death.
However, her interest in antique roses came along because of an outdoor wedding in 2004. Azaleas and other plants were faithful bloomers in her lush yard but she wanted roses blooming for the wedding and had two years to accomplish it.
Actually, she states two ladies from Sumrall turned her on to antique roses. She bought some, liked them, started buying more and after 10 years began propagating and marketing them from her own plants.
“I never liked raising roses before because they were always so hard to raise but that was before I found the old roses that are not nearly as finicky. You don’t have to spray or fuss over them. A hybrid only holds out for about 7-8 years and you have to spray often and cut back to the 4th or 5th leaf and stuff like that. Not the old garden roses. They just live and bloom and you only trim when they get in your way or you want some cuttings.”
Old garden roses can be single or multi-petal, climbers or not, fragrant or not, rebloomers or not. Like a day lily they need 6-7 hours of sun and if you dead head they will produce more blooms, but Bullock states she just lets them do their own thing. The over 90 varieties that are thriving in Bullocks extended garden are proof what she is doing works. She is a walking rose encyclopedia but those varieties she is not as familiar with she has her handy dandy notebook with all the pertinent information.
Bullock’s roses are all on their own root with none grafted. She does not use any sprays and they bloom to perfection with little care. Most she speaks of lovingly in the female gender but has one she states is referred to as a “he” because of its tough masculine nature.
Bullock states we have Michael Shoup and Felder Rushing to thank for bringing back the old roses. Hybrids were in at the time and the old roses were getting scarce. Shoup and Rushing traveled through Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi stopping by old home places armed with pruners in their back pockets and sniping cuttings with permission, of course, intent on bringing back the old garden roses by propagation and they were very successful. Rushing has been a guest speaker at the 20th Century Club of Prentiss.
In the past Bullock has shown her roses in several venues including the Spring Garden Show in Laurel, the Extension Garden Show in Crystal Springs and Spring and Fall Master Gardeners Show in Hattiesburg but has been taking a rest from those.
Bullock has her antique rose plants to sell at her shop as well as Memory Trees of various varieties and lovely silk arrangements. And, if you just want eye candy all you have to do is amble around the grounds to find tranquility and peace with nature among the roses, irises, lilies and other hardy plants. For more information on what her shop offers call Mevaline Bullock at 601-943-6989.