My grandmother, Sadie Wheat, loved growing roses. When she died, I got a cutting of one of her favorite roses, a once blooming rambler, Dr. Van Fleet. It was while trying to identify it that I got hooked on roses.
In 1997, we went to visit Renate’s relatives in Germany, who showed us the local sites, including the rose garden in Zweibrucken. Renate’s aunt, Roswitha, impressed with my ability to identify roses, nicknamed me “Der Rosenmeister.” Years later, we decided to give that name to our nursery.
Der Rosenmeister officially began in April 2002 in the backyard of our home in downtown Ithaca. Needing more room to grow, we moved to our current location in 2003 on three acres of land overlooking the Inlet Valley and the city of Ithaca in the Finger Lakes of New York State.
I have been gardening since I was a young boy and growing roses for the past thirty years. During the school year, I had been a teacher and staff trainer for the Ithaca City School District, but am retiring at the end of June 2017.
I am a Consulting Rosarian for the American Rose Society and a member of the NY State Nursery & Landscape Association.
My wife, Renate Schmitt, a fantastic cook, and avid vegetable gardener, helps manage every aspect of the business along with me.