He Must Have Been A Gardener That Cared A Lot
Jos Roozen Planted Seeds In The County That Will Forever Grow Among The Next Generation of Garden Whisperers
By Master Gardener Dianne Peters-Nickerson // Sankofa Farm & Nursery
Jos Roozen truly planted the seeds.
In Prince George's County and across the DMV there are several garden centers or nurseries to browse and/or shop. Their selection of garden and houseplants is impressive. But 8005 Allentown Road, Fort Washington, Roozen’s Nursery, is known as the destination of infinite wisdom and knowledge in nursery circles. Founder and owner Jos Roozen’s knowledge concerning his inventory, every plant, flower, tree, birds, soil, fertilizer, repellents, mulch, fish and more was because he was in love with his work. He could answer questions regarding plants that were not in his inventory and be spot on with accurate information and advice.
Yes, Roozen had years of practical experience in addition to formal education and he was able to meld that with his natural ability with all things green. Other nurseries would often give the "text book" solutions but not understand the real problem garden lovers like me were having. This could never be said about Jos Roozen. Jos could tell what the real problem and solution were over the phone on his radio show, "Radio Garden Sense," or in person if you brought the plant into the store. He was more than a walking encyclopedia of gardening. He was gardening---the earth, the birds, nature. You knew he loved the field he chose as his life's work.
I became a customer in 1995 as a resident of the county. I enjoyed hearing Jos give advice to customers regarding what products to use and why use that product over other known brands as I waited my turn to ask questions. Often I would just linger in the store or greenhouse area to hear advice he was giving others then, in turn, buy the product, flower or plant he suggested. He never steered me wrong. If I wanted to buy a certain plant, he might have said, “you can buy that one if you like it, but this one will bud longer or do better in this humidity,” or tell of some other trait that would make me revisit my choice. He never tried to sell me something just to make a sale or to get rid of it. He was honest in his dealings with me.
I really enjoyed talking with him because he really loved gardens and nature. Seldom was he annoyed about a "stupid question" but would answer with humor and tact. His advice regarding fertilizers for garden, shrubs and trees, lawn, houseplants and garden pest that had attacked a tree was always the solution I needed. I have "golf course" looking grass because he recommended Lawn Trust. Jos would tell me how to apply what he sold me. I didn't leave his shop without full instructions on how to do it correctly. Jos was very thorough and very specific with his direction: If something didn't turn out right, it was more likely because I didn't follow his instructions.
In thinking back over the last few weeks of listening to Radio Garden Sense, I called in and asked how to get my three Amaryllis that I purchased from him in 2016 to bloom again. He asked me some basic questions that I sheepishly answered. I hadn't followed his initial instructions. But nonetheless, he told me how to get them to bloom again. About a month later, I had beautiful pink and white flowers from one of them and the other two were leafing out strong. He even told me the problem with my ZZ plants from a general description of what was happening to them and gave me the solution.
Wisdom, knowledge and caring about his calling in life has made Jos a GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) in this field in our area. He was a champion in the nursery industry throughout the world, and beloved by his community, his customers and people in general.
Jos Roozen died February 8 at age 70. We thank you, Jos. We love you and miss you. May you rest in peace.