“For several years, the Rose Lawn Arts ... Festival committee members tossed the idea of hosting a spring event on our grounds during the prime blooming dates of our prolific, cascading roses,” said Jane Drew, director of Rose Lawn Museum. “We even entertained the idea of calling this year’s May Market ‘Coming Up Roses.’
“After further thought, we [decided] to simply host a fun-filled market, display local crafts, arts and talent, and celebrate this time of year by showcasing our rose gardens. The house, smokehouse, carriage house, school house and gates surrounding our property are spectacularly surrounded by 235 of the variety of heritage roses that once graced this property while under the care of Laura Jones and her husband, renowned evangelist Sam Jones.”
Operated by Bartow County government as a house museum, the Rev. Samuel Porter Jones’ former residence at 224 W. Cherokee Ave. features the belongings of the late Methodist evangelist’s family and teacher, Rebecca Felton. While his ministry started small — preaching at various churches and open-air tabernacles surrounding Cartersville — Jones gained notoriety during the late 1800s. He drew thousands to revivals at the Union Gospel Tabernacle, now known as Ryman Auditorium — a venue in Nashville, Tenn., that was built in his honor.
“In 2005, Bartow County Master Gardeners partnered with us and helped re-establish our historic gardens,” Drew said. “It has been said by Cobb County Master Gardener and leading Rosarian Dr. Bruce Gillette, that we probably have the largest collection of period roses in the Southeast.
“We will have roses for sale that were propagated from our present ones. Amazingly, at this year’s May Market some roses can be purchased that were rooted from the original sweetheart rose, Cecille Brunner — Laura’s signature rose. According to Jones family members, this particular bush left the property for 80 years. Several years ago, we were able to regain ownership and replant it on the property. Master Gardeners will also have other plants for sale and will be on site to answer gardening questions.”
For the Bartow County Master Gardeners, tending to the heritage roses that will be for sale Saturday has been an involved yet rewarding endeavor.
“We’re going to have 40 [roses] available for the sale,” Bartow County Master Gardener Kate Posey said. “Initially they were cuttings that North Metro Tech had done with their students and had kept [them] over at North Metro Tech. ... We transplanted all of them, made sure they all had their proper names on. And, of course, some of them had lost their names, so now we’re at the point where we have to wait until they bloom and identify them by their flower.
“These are all heritage roses that would have been available to Mrs. Jones at the turn of the century, so from the 1900s. These are very early roses. ... They’re so dissimilar from what the hybrid teas nowadays [are because] they require less fertilizer, less spraying, less everything, because they’re very, very hardy. They tend to bloom their first major blush in the spring. ... They have a wonderful fragrance and aroma. They’re just absolutely wonderful. And then they bloom sporadically after that.”
Along with the plant sale, the event also will offer handmade arts and crafts, food, garden products and live entertainment.
According to the May Market news release, “A full day of entertainment is planned with two special performances by Scarlet Wool at 2:10 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Winners of the 2013 Atlanta Fest talent search, Scarlet Wool formerly known as Purely Acoustic is made up of three sisters from Northwest [Georgia], Tabby, Erin and Hannah Fleenor. They were given the opportunity to learn to play musical instruments as children when their grandfather began building acoustic instruments after retiring from a career in the U.S. Navy. They spent the next ten years preparing to minister through elements of Bluegrass, Folk, and Contemporary music.
“The entertainment will begin with dance and tumbling performances by Cartersville Gymnastics, Cartersville City Ballet, and Kerry’s School of Dance. The reigning Cartersville High School Idol Asia Tennelle will take the stage at 11 a.m. The Ryan Carri Trio performs at 1:10 p.m. Afternoon performances will be rounded out by Fusion Dance Company and Steps of Faith.”
Presented by Bartow County government, the festival will be sponsored by Cartersville-Bartow County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Century Bank and Wynn Buick GMC.
While there is no admission cost for the festival, patrons will be able to partake in guided tours for $5 of the 18-room Victorian structure and the recently restored Rose Lawn Carriage House.
“Presently, our fall festival is so well-received by our community, we thought that after a cold, wet winter and spring, it might be nice to have something to look forward [to]; in essence, a new springtime tradition in Cartersville and Bartow County,” Drew said. “For sure, we hope to make this year’s May Market an annual event. As of today, we have 70 vendors and artists. We may add a few more before Saturday, especially if their product will enhance our show.
“This year’s market will be about the size of the festival that was held here when I took over as director 11 years ago. Our slogan that we are promoting states, ‘plant sales, farm to table food.’ We definitely have new vendors/artists that fall into that category. Next year, we hope to add even more market specialty products.”
For more information about the May Market or Rose Lawn Museum, visit www.roselawnmuseum.com or call 770-387-5162.