Each morning, before the customers arrive and before the busyness of the day ramps up, you can find Rosarium owner and operator, Carol Newcomb, visiting with her old friends. These friends can’t necessarily talk, but they can communicate, in how they blossom and respond to Carol’s nurture and care. They’ll range from hellebores to peonies to roses or for a special couple of weeks in mid-late spring, the golden Laburnum arch. Wandering in her bathrobe with a cup of coffee in hand, Carol delights in the seasonal nature of catching up with these beloved pals, the fruits of her labor and expertise.
Carol grew up with a bit of a green thumb. Raised on a farm north of Spokane, Carol has fond memories of harvesting vegetables from the garden with her dad and enjoying her mom’s vibrant California poppies. And during the insurance years, she also ardently tended to her own home garden, not necessarily anticipating a career shift was in her future. Simply put, Carol loved being in the dirt and caring for her various plants, particularly delphiniums at the time, which she endearingly calls “her first love.” (Roses would be next!)
The path to what is now the Rosarium Garden Center wasn’t necessarily straightforward for Carol. After a career in the insurance industry, Carol wanted to pursue what she was truly passionate about. So she picked up to attend courses at Spokane Community College. Carol loved learning and dove into all sorts of courses about plants and gardening, as well as welding, mechanics, and agriculture.
While Carol carefully studied her landscapes and learned about diverse vegetation and how to best care for it, she also found her newfound “friends” caring for her. There is much wisdom to be found in the waiting, the trial and error, the joy from a new blossom. Carol finds herself in partnership with the whimsical rhythms of nature, knowing that these plants have as much to teach her as she can offer care to them.
“Gardening is getting back to nature and getting in the soil,” Carol said. “Whether it’s a rose or a dahlia or whatever flower you’re growing, it speaks to our human experience. Maybe we don’t give enough credit to gardening for how much it does speak to our soul.”
Toward the end of her years at SCC, a former instructor approached Carol about a new opportunity to take over what was called the Northland Rosarium at the time. This invitation sparked Carol’s entrepreneurial spirit and immediately incorporated a wide array of the diverse skills she had acquired in her coursework. Not too long after, Carol and her husband, Terry, would acquire the Rosarium, making it not only a viable, full-time, family business, but also a home.
Today, the Newcombs maintain a thriving property at the Rosarium, where Carol has built a 2.5-acre exemplary display garden of a wondrous variety of flowers and plants, including the Rosarium’s crown jewel: own-root roses. Moreover, Carol seeks to offer a sanctuary for those looking to experience the therapeutic nature of gardening or the pure joy of natural beauty away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
“What we’ve tried to create at the Rosarium is a space for people to come,” Carol said. “I see them with their journals, sitting on our garden benches, or just wandering, people will be there for a couple of hours sometimes. It’s a little place of tranquility, it’s a place where they can get away from the world, have some peace and quiet. Gardening is… well, maybe we take it too lightly. Maybe there is more importance to it than we think.”