Tempe couple creates a floral paradise - East Valley Tribune: At Home

Tempe couple creates a floral paradise

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Posted: Friday, April 27, 2007 2:29 pm | Updated: 8:02 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Romance abounds in Mike and Cindy Jepsen’s garden. The sweet scent of the flowers lingers from afar, beckoning visitors entering the patio to walk across the lush green lawn and gaze at its splendor.

Romance abounds in Mike and Cindy Jepsen’s garden.

The sweet scent of the flowers lingers from afar, beckoning visitors entering the patio to walk across the lush green lawn and gaze at its splendor.

Several hundred roses have bloomed in the backyard of the couple’s Tempe home (photos). Planted neatly in large terra cotta pots and in rows of raised beds, there are seemingly countless varieties: Singles. Miniatures. Hybrids — in a rainbow of hues.

“This is my favorite time of year. All the foliage is brand new. It’s like a rebirth,” says Cindy Jepsen, 50, standing in the yard with husband Mike, 58, looking at the fruits of their labor. The yard erupted in color in mid-April, the first blooming cycle of the year.

“There’s always something in color here, except when I prune in January,” says Mike Jepsen, describing caring for their quarter-acre lot as an obsession he enjoys.

It was the couple’s passion for roses that brought them together. Mike, a farm consultant, met Cindy, who works with students with disabilities, at a Mesa-East Valley Rose Society meeting seven years ago. They married in November 2003.

Their marriage led to a merger of their floral collection. Cindy, who had been living in their yellow ranch-style home prior to their marriage, started planting roses before Mike moved in. With the help of her neighbor, a fellow member of the Mesa-East Valley Rose Society, she started with about 20.

“When Mike moved in he brought 200 potted roses,” says Cindy, of her husband’s longtime pastime.

The two recited their wedding vows in their backyard, surrounded by the beauty of their new, elaborate rose garden. Their Airedale terrier, Lucy, adorned with a collar of roses, was their flower dog.

The garden, filled with these ancient symbols of love and beauty, was a fitting place for the reception.

“We got married in that spot right there,” says Mike, walking over to a shaded area just behind a green sign in the ground, that quotes, in gold lettering, poet Robert Browning: “Grow old along with me. The best is yet to be.”

The rose garden proved to be the perfect setting for Cindy and Mike Jepsen’s 2003 wedding. In addition to the outdoor homegrown floral display, the couple’s friends from the Mesa East Valley Rose Society provided roses for Cindy’s bouquet and the wedding decorations. The Jepsens, shown at top admiring their Cajun Moon roses, say they enjoy strolling in their yard on weekday evenings. “It’s an enjoyable place to be,” says Cindy Jepsen.

The Jepsen garden has grown to 900 square feet over the years.

“They (the roses) are packed in pretty tight,” says Mike, adding they’ve reached a point where they need to take roses out to make space to add anything new. The couple will often auction roses off at the rose society so others can enjoy them.

When it comes to style, the couple admits they have different preferences.

“I like singles and unusual looking roses,” says Cindy. “Mike likes miniatures and hybrids and roses that exhibit well.”

But that doesn’t mean the two can’t find a compromise.

Cindy presented Mike with a gift of green roses to plant as a holiday gift two winters ago.

“He once said at a rose show he would never put green roses in his garden,” says Cindy, reporting the roses, which have a prime spot in the yard, are starting to grow on her husband, who has been doing most of the garden tending while she pursues her master’s degree in educational technology at ASU.

“It isn’t as much work as you think,” says Mike, who typically spends about 15 to 20 minutes a day working in the yard.

Cindy says their garden paradise holds extra meaning to them because it’s a project they do together.

“We like to get a glass of wine at the end of the day and walk through the garden,” she says. “It’s an enjoyable place to be.”

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