Nobody was ever sure exactly where the rose gardener had come from. He would declare, if questioned on his art, that he had been growing and tending roses since he was old enough to walk. He would also declare, when questioned on his accent, that he had once been a gypsy prince and went into hiding in this barbaric foreign country when he was wrongly blamed for the murder of his father, who had actually died, as he related to anybody who would listen, by greedily feasting on a dish of poisoned apricots.
Somehow it was passed along to him that gypsies were rovers and so couldn't have gardens, and so his story changed to having been a prince of a land with a name so long he couldn't remember it. There were forests and wars and oceans to be fought, but he was taken captive by pirates and swam ashore when their entire ship fell victim to a terrible plague (this part took a consecutively longer amount of time to tell), and had been wandering the earth ever since, looking for a rose garden to call his kingdom. Roses were the only flower that grew in his kingdom, with a name so long he could not now remember it.
A young page once suggested with unpardonable insolence that perhaps the old man's accent was nothing but a speech impediment, but nobody listened to him either.