Growing roses for the community

BISMARCK, N.D. - Oscar Rueb is a rose among thorns. The 85-year-old Bismarck man has been working to spread joy for decades in the community.

Rueb's love of roses stems across decades.

“The roses are the queen of the program and once I saw the beauty of how they opened up I couldn't resist,” Rueb said.

Rueb's bushes started budding about 50 years ago in the backyard of his Bismarck home.

“This is my sanctuary and it's peaceful, and early in the morning to be out to work in the roses when the fragrance is overwhelming, it's like dying and going to heaven,” Rueb said.

Each winter he would add five to 10 new varieties, eventually getting up to 140 different types of roses. Now, he has close to 50 variations.

Oscar says in 50 years of growing roses this one, the Pope John Paul rose is his favorite one

“The smell the fragrance is second to none, that's wonderful,” Rueb said.

But what to do with all these roses? Rueb started giving them away.

“Everybody has problems and when you can bring a little joy and lighten their burden, which I didn't know when I started, when you do that, it lightens your own burden,” Rueb said.

To hospitals, widows, nursing homes, churches and more.

“It's such a little thing but it brings joy and happiness and I probably receive the greatest blessing of the whole works,” Rueb said.

Through rose colored gifts, Rueb brightens the lives of people with every stem he gives away.

Rueb says he's not sure if he'll continue growing the roses after this year because it's so difficult for him to get up and down, but may save a few plants for next year.