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Mary Daniels knows the secret to growing beautiful roses isn’t found in expensive plant foods, a special potting soil mixture and a watering schedule. It’s found in the sound of her voice. “You talk to ‘em,” Daniels said of the large, Mother of Pearl roses that are in full bloom by the front porch of her John Everall Road home. “You let them know how much you love them,” she said. “That’s the only secret I have.” And from the look of the massive red flowers, that message is coming through loud and clear. The roses are even drawing the attention of motorists who pass by Daniels’ home. “I had two people stop by today (Wednesday) and ask me if they are real,” a beaming Daniels said. “I just tell them they sure are.” The two Mother of Pearl rose bushes were a 2004 Mother’s Day gift from her children, Yvonne, Scott and Todd. She said this isn’t the first spring they have bloomed (they usually bloom in April, July and November). But Daniels said this is the first time her roses have created such a stir. The blooms are so large that they are tipping the tops of the stems toward the ground. “They’ve never grown this big before,” she said, as she affectionately rubbed one of the rose leaves with her thumb. “And I’m really enjoying them. Everyone is amazed that they have gotten this big, especially with the cold weather we’ve been having.” While skeptics might not buy into talking to plants, Daniels does. She said it’s something she learned from her grandmother. It’s not a thorny subject for the 67-year-old grandmother. “They can tell when you love them,” she said while grinning. “They can sense it.” Daniels said she’s already told her children that when she dies, all she wants placed in her casket is a single rose. However, she hopes that’s not going to be any time soon. “I’m just an old Tennessee girl who enjoys working in the yard,” she said. “I talk to my flowers, whistle at the birds and just enjoy life. “I love my roses,” she said. – Contact features editor Greg Summers at 283-1156.