Our Story

DerRosenmeister-Renate Lee and Grandma

Our Story

Der Rosenmeister is the story of a hobby run amok!

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.

My wife, Renate, was born in Germany. In 1997, we went to visit her relatives in her hometown, Thaleischweiler.  They showed us the local sites, including the rose garden in nearby 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 over thirty years. I retired from a 40+ year career in special education and staff training at the end of June 2017 and am now able to devote more time to my other passions. These include: bonsai, all things horticulture, old school/unconventional physical training, and genealogy.

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. She is a Master Gardener with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County. She is also a Hospicare volunteer and sings in their Threshold Choir.