Profile of Tom Conklin '63's Second Career: Rose Farmer

Excerpted from Southern Michigan's Second Wave:

Approaching Walnut Hill Farm, about two miles south of Bangor at 43148 County Road 681, the eye goes first to the walnut tree. It's huge. About 200 feet across in limb span, in fact, and at a height that speaks of more than one century rooted in this land.

Then, turning into the drive between two houses, it is the roses that overtake the senses. Not just hundreds of them -- thousands. Joyce Latta and Tom Conklin, business as well as marital partners, grow about 1,500 roses in the soil of Walnut Hill Farm, and another 1,500 or so still in pots, ready for sale.

Conklin and Latta sit down in the shade near their herb garden (they grow more than roses on these 310 acres) and sip black current iced tea as they talk about their love of the flowers they grow and sell.

Conklin, born in Chicago, is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Chicago Law School -- a lawyer by degree, but with a heart full of blooms. He is an American Rose Society rosarian and a national rose judge.

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