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April 15, 2003
Thomasville- Don't tell David Leach his life is bed of roses, and certainly don't tell him that in mid-April.
He has a huge rose show to get ready for. "I'll try to have everything exactly where it should be on the Rose Show day, but it's tricky," David said.
He has seven thousand independent rose bushes to persuade to look their best for the yearly rose festival. But he's confident. "Looks like we're going to do pretty good this year."
Rose beds dot the City of Thomasville, a little one here, a little one there. They all need the same attention as those in the official Rose Garden. "The rose does all the work. All we do is give it all the implements," David said.
He dearly loves roses, and has been growing them for the past 30 years. He doesn't look after them by himself, but assembled a crew of gentle craftsmen who do most of the work. They make sure each rose gets plenty of water, gets protected from insects like aphids, that try to literally suck the life out of the plant, until they get blasted with pesticides. The roses also get dressed with new pine straw.
His crew works almost non-stop, David does most of the worrying. He wants every rose bush to bloom within a three to five day period, for the annual Rose Show.
The closer the show gets, the more he worries. "He's real short tempered. He has a lot on his mind," says his wife, Lynn. And he knows it.
He's thinking about the city's roses for 360 days out of the year, trying to have each one look its best for thousands of people to see during rose festival gets to him.
Then, the stress leaves. "Sunday after the Rose Show, it's over."
Leach promised people, not one, but hundreds of rose gardens, and where he wants people to stop and see the roses.
The 82nd annual Thomasville Rose Show and Festival starts Friday, April 25th.