Love Planted A Rose

Floribunda Rose Garden in Bloom

“Love planted a rose and the world turned sweet “

Katherine Lee Bates

Floribunda Rose Garden in Bloom
Floribunda Rose Garden in Bloom

June was declared National Rose Month by Ronald Reagan in 1986. Don Ballin, past president of the Northeastern Illinois Rose Society was the President of the American Rose Society at the time.  I was a member of the Northeastern Illinois Rose Society then. We were all so honored to play a small role in that historic moment when the rose was named the national flower and Don was there with the President. Pictured below with President Reagan is Don Ballin (far right) when he signed the legislation.

Heirloom with Raindrops
Heirloom with Raindrops

Across the nation there are rose shows and gardens open that you can take your family and enjoy the beauty of the first bloom all through the month of June and of course the entire summer.  I encourage you to go to the gardens across the country. Here’s just a few of the blooms that are spectacular in the garden this week. It’s been a cool & wet spring in S. Central Illinois but it is still a breathtaking first cycle of bloom.

PR Web even Lists 12 Fun Facts about roses

Did you know 85% of American say the rose is their favorite flower?

 

Playboy Tickling Our Fancy
Playboy Tickling Our Fancy

In 1985, the United States Senate passed a resolution asking the president to declare the rose as the national floral emblem. On November 20th, 1986, then president Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation certifying the rose as the national flower in a ceremony at the White House Rose Garden. The National Rose Garden is committed to honoring this national symbol as a reflection of our broader landscape.

To read the declarations in full, please view below:

President Ronald Reagan signing Proclamation 5574, November 20, 1986 (Image: American Rose Society)

 
UNITED STATES SENATE RESOLUTION
The flower commonly known as the rose is designated and adopted as the national floral emblem of the United States of America, and the President of the United States is authorized and requested to declare such fact by proclamation.
Title 36, Chapter 10, §187
United States Code
 
Proclamation No. 5574. The Rose Proclaimed the National
Floral Emblem of the United States of AmericaProc. No. 5574. Nov. 20, 1986, 51 F.R. 42197, provided:

Americans have always loved the flowers with which God decorates our land. More often than any other flower, we hold the rose dear as the symbol of life and love and devotion, of beauty and eternity. For the love of man and woman, for the love of mankind and God, for the love of country, Americans who would speak the language of the heart do so with a rose.

We see proofs of this everywhere. The study of fossils reveals that the rose has existed in America for age upon age. We have always cultivated roses in our gardens. Our first President, George Washington, bred roses, and a variety he named after his mother is still grown today. The White House itself boasts a beautiful Rose Garden. We grow roses in all our fifty States. We find roses throughout our art, music, and literature. We decorate our celebrations and parades with roses. Most of all, we present roses to those we love, and we lavish them on our altars, our civil shrines, and the final resting places of our honored dead.

The American people have long held a special place in their hearts for roses. Let us continue to cherish them, to honor the love and devotion they represent, and to bestow them on all we love just as God has bestowed them on us.

The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 159 [Pub.L. 99.449, Oct. 7, 1986, 100 Stat. 1128, which enacted this section], has designated the rose as the National Floral Emblem of the United States and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation declaring this fact.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, RONALD REAGAN, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the rose as the National Floral Emblem of the United States of America.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of November, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eleventh.

RONALD REAGAN

Roses for Veterans Long Forgotten

Memorial Day, photo Weeks Roses
Memorial Day, photo Weeks Roses
Memorial Day, photo Weeks Roses

Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, began after the American Civil War to commemorate Union and Confederate Soldiers who died in the Civil War. By the 20th century Memorial Day now honors all Americans who have died during military service.

 

The Natchez Trace Parkway | Highway 61

 

The Natchez Trace is a mysterious meandering trail along the mighty Mississippi River. Vicksburg, Mississippi is 20-30 NE of the Natchez Trace on Highway 61. Vicksburg is the home of Vicksburg National Military Park. Vicksburg was at the heart of the historic Vicksburg Campaign during the Civil War that raged from Dec. 29, 1862 – July 4, 1863 where almost 20,000 soldiers lost their lives.

 

Blues legend Edgar Winters captures the tragic irony of the road to Vicksburg in his song  Highway 61.

 

Some Lyrics from Highway 61

“Oh God said to Abraham, “Kill me a son”
Abe says, “Man, you must be puttin’ me on”
God say, “No.” Abe say, “What?”
God say, “You can do what you want Abe, but
The next time you see me comin’ you better run”
Well Abe says, “Where do you want this killin’ done?”
God says. “Out on Highway 61”.

Battle of Vicksburg
Battle of Vicksburg

Road Trip to Natchez, Mississippi

 

A few summers ago my husband and I decided to take a road trip along the Natchez Trace, stopping in Vicksburg, then go on to Natchez and Biloxi Mississippi. I had no idea how profoundly this trip would affect both my husband and I. Our first stop was at the Cedar Grove Mansion in Vicksburg, now a Bed & Breakfast along the Mississippi River.  A cannonball from the Civil War is still lodged in the wall from the battles raging along the Mississippi River. You can touch it, you can see the Mississippi river and imagine the ship firing the cannon and shattering the wood, lodging there, where it rests today.

 

Vicksburg National Military Park

 

The next day we went on to the Vicksburg National Military Park. This is the cemetery where Union soldiers are buried from the Vicksburg Campaign during the Civil War. The sheer numbers that I put on this page cannot impact you like a visit to this place where so many lost their lives. My husband and I went on this trip in the fall. The only other visitors we encountered were a few European couples. It was as if we had the entire place to ourselves. We actually toured the USS Cairo, a Union ship that two Confederate soldiers managed to sink. It was at the floor of the Mississippi for years. It has been raised and restored. We were the only people touring the boat, and it is magnificent.

 

Honoring Union and Confederate War Dead

 

The Vicksburg Military Park is now the permanent resting place of 17,000 Union Soldiers that died during the Vicksburg campaign and include some of the Union soldiers that died in the area including Millikan’s Bud, Champion’s Hill, Baker’s Creek, and Big Bend River.

 

Union Soldiers Vicksburg Campaign War Dead Union

10,142

Confederate Soldiers Vicksburg Campaign War Dead

9091

 

Did you know that only two confederate soldiers were laid to rest accidentally in the Vicksburg Military Park? Approximately 1600 Confederate soldiers are buried in the Vicksburg City Cemetery. Families took the remaining bodies of other confederate soldiers home to be buried. It just never occurred to me that Confederate soldiers would not be buried in the cemetery of the commemorative battleground where they lost their lives. Visiting Vicksburg will take you back in time like no book could ever do.

 

Illinois State Monument Vicksburg
Illinois State Monument Vicksburg

The Illinois State Monument

 

There is a rotunda with 36,325 names of Illinois soldiers inscribed on the walls at the Vicksburg National Military Park. That’s just the names of soldiers from one state fighting in the Battle of Vicksburg.  We could scarcely take this in. It’s something one needs to experience in person. It will bring you to your knees.

Memorial Day 2013
Memorial Day 2013

I am profoundly moved that the first rose to bloom this Memorial day in my S. Central Illinois rose garden is a hybrid tea called Memorial Day. I dedicate the first bloom of

Memorial Day to 36,325 Illinois soldiers whose names are inscribed on the walls of the Illinois State Memorial at the Vicksburg National Military Park.

Let Freedom Ring photo by Dr. Tommy Cairns
Let Freedom Ring photo by Dr. Tommy Cairns

Let Freedom Ring

I would like to dedicate this picture kindly sent to me by Dr. Tommy Cairns of Let Freedom Ring to all the Veterans who have given their lives for our freedom.

Veterans Honor photo by Dr. Tommy Cairns
Veterans Honor photo by Dr. Tommy Cairns

Veterans Honor

 

Veterans Honor is for all the war dead that have given their lives for freedom.

We humbly thank all the families of the war dead for their supreme sacrifice of their loved ones as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sensible Rosarian

Sunsprite in the Floribunda Garden Phase One

A funny thing happened on my way to plant the next rose garden.

 

Sunsprite in the Floribunda Garden Phase One
Sunsprite in the Floribunda Garden Phase One

I planted a vegetable garden. Thank-you Doomsday Preppers. If you haven’t watched that show, tune in. I fully expected the participants to be loony tunes. Well, they aren’t. Many preppers are really smart, talented people. Preppers want to be ready should a disaster occur.  And they think a disaster of some sort may be imminent. Ok maybe some of them are a little over the top. But, one lady in particular thinks we will have some sort of weather disaster. She can grow her own food, preserve it for 100 years, raise all her own farm animals, spin cotton into fabric, sew all her own clothes, oh and she is a bee-keeper, and a mid-wife, etc. In other words when you hear the over-used word “sustainable” believe me this lady can do everything. And she teaches the entire community how to be entirely self-sufficient. Follow my thinking here?

 

Floribunda Rose Garden Phase One
Floribunda Rose Garden Phase One

You Can Eat Roses Can’t You?

 

Maybe not. Let me explain. I have custom drapes, and cosmetics in my extra storage bins, not rice and dry rations should we, say have a little extended power outage. So I will be able to powder my nose and wrap up in a curtain to keep warm. Its 14 miles to Wal-Mart and they don’t even keep the shelves stocked. They run out of catsup and don’t know what lox are. If you read Oui Theory Run Aground you can’t find a fresh fish outside of a pond for 60 miles here. That’s why I have to bring fish home from the catfish pond in a cooler and have become a humane kill catfish slaughterhouse. Here’s where we are going with the conversation. I used to be a gentrified urban farmer with over 200 roses. One could buy every sort of food from anywhere in the world within a 2 mile radius.  Put lots of emphasis on the words “used to be.” I promised to write about the transition from urban gardener to country rosarian. I never knew part of the process would be to see just a little frivolity in growing 100’s of roses in the middle of corn & soy bean country.

 

 

Decking around elevated rose garden phase two
Decking around elevated rose garden phase two

Enough waxing philosophically. 

 

I haven’t completely lost my mind. I just took a detour. I planted the third stage of the country rose garden as a vegetable garden. Here are the vegetables I planted. Let’s call it the salsa garden. You cannot imagine how virtuous I feel about this vegetable garden. I hover over it waiting for the seeds to germinate.  I might add, Big Daddy informed me he would do the vegetable garden and I could take care of the roses. I thought I did take care of the roses. However, I was in for a shock when he explained he digs the hole, takes care of watering systems, hauls all my organic soil amendments, and prepares the new beds. However, he did not plant “his” vegetable garden, I planted the vegetable garden while he tinkered around with, you guessed it, fishing stuff.

 

 

 

Rose Garden Expansion Project Phase Four
Rose Garden Expansion Project Phase Four

Salsa garden

 

Tomatoes

Jalapenos

Green Peppers

Red Peppers

Cantaloupe

Green Beans

Radishes

Green/Yellow Squash

Leaf lettuce

 

First Bloom Photos

 

Not to worry. I will be posting pictures of these roses all through the season. I also put in a hedge of Nevada, Hybrid Moyesii (HMoy) that will get 6-7 feet tall behind the little Red Barn, and two Pierre de Ronsard, LCI to fill the arbor that is an entry to our property. And here’s the list of roses that I received from Witherspoon Roses. Because we had to expand and dig out another rose garden since we planted the third phase rose garden as the vegetable garden.

 

Rose Garden Fourth Phase

 

Moonstone

Fame

Let Freedom Ring

Veterans Honor

Touch of Class

Opening Night

Twilight Zone

Oh My

Gold Medal

Love Song

Legends

Moondance

New Zealand

 

S & W Greenhouse

 

Dolly Parton

First Prize

In closing I’ll hang it up with a fishing lure. 😉

Custom Made Cedar Fishing Lure
Custom Made Cedar Fishing Lure

Ode To Joy, A Rose by David Clemons

Joy, ARS Award of Excellence Winner by David Clemons

“Joy, beautiful spark of Gods!,
Daughter of Elysium,
Joy, beautiful spark of Gods!”

Ode To Joy, Ludwig Von Beethoven’s – Symphony No 9 Ode to Joy

 

Joy, ARS Award of Excellence Winner by David Clemons
Joy, ARS Award of Excellence Winner by David Clemons

Ludwig Von Beethoven’s – Symphony No 9: Ode to Joy is the first time in history lyrics were added to a major symphony from “the best composer of all time.”

 

David Clemons, Thoroughbred Roses is an amateur hybridizer of roses. His rose, Joy named for his Mother, was awarded the 2008 American Rose Society’s Award of Excellence. Joy also received the 2012 American Rose Society’s Member’s Choice Award, the first time this award was ever given to a rose created by an amateur hybridizer.

 

In honor of this Mother’s Day here’s the story of how an amateur rose hybridizer who names his roses after racehorses broke tradition to name the most special rose of all for his mother.

 

Clemons Rose Garden
Clemons Rose Garden

Love of Gardening

 

David, while growing up with his younger sister, helped plant and grow vegetable gardens. The plantings were all of a useful nature to produce food for the family. He recalls that his mother always had heirloom plants, and unnamed roses. The ornamentals consisted of irises, phlox, grasses, and hostas. Theses plantings had to be low maintenance since their time in the garden was dedicated to producing food for the table. 

 

Joy His Mother

 

David’s love for growing things only grew. When he started his garden he introduced roses to his mother. His fascination and love for roses increased and he began to show roses. His mother who has always been so encouraging was a big fan of David’s success with growing and showing roses.

 

Joy Blooming in May
Joy Blooming in May

From Rosarian to Hybridizer

 

David joined the local society and learned how to hybridize and propagate roses.

It took a couple of years of propagating to get more plants of a rose that he thought had outstanding characteristics. At this point David wanted to enter this plant in the Award of Excellence program in test gardens all over the country. This is a two-year program. At this point he had enough plants to enter the program from 2005-2007 with what he felt was a very strong candidate.

 

 

 

ARS Miniature Rose Award of Excellence for Joy hybridized by David Clemons
ARS Miniature Rose Award of Excellence for Joy hybridized by David Clemons

What To Name A Winner

 

David was thrilled to learn he had won the American Rose Society’s Award of Excellence for 2008. He knew this was a moment of historical importance. He wanted to name this rose something that would stand the test of time. He had been naming his roses for price winning racehorses. After reflection he knew that the perfect name would be to name the rose Joy after his mother. Naming the rose Joy was significant for many reasons because he wants to bring Joy to people with his rose.

 

David Clemons, Thouroughbred Roses and his Mother, Joy
David Clemons, Thouroughbred Roses and his Mother, Joy

A Birthday Present Like No Other

 

For his mother’s birthday in 2007 David had friends and family gather and he announced to his mother that he would name this rose Joy in her honor. The family was in tears as they witnessed this priceless gift. The first year after Joy won the ARS Award of Excellence David entered it at a rose show and his mother was present as it won Queen of Show. Joy has won Miniature Queen of Show across the country since then over 65 times and was the #1 exhibition miniature rose for the year 2012. Joy truly continues to bless and bring Joy to rosarians across the nation. In closing David told me his mother “suits her name to a “T,” she is always optimistic and energetic.” Happy Mother’s Day Joy!  And to every Mom and roses that bring joy everyday across the world to families everywhere.

 

Joy October Bloom
Joy October Bloom

About David Clemons

 

*David Clemons of Thoroughbred Roses resides in Grant, Alabama. He and his wife, Tammy, grow more than 250 exhibition type hybrid teas, miniatures and minifloras. As an avid rose exhibitor, he has competed and won awards on the local, district, and national levels. David is a Consulting Rosarian and past president of the Huntsville Twickenham Rose Society in Huntsville, Alabama. His hybridizing efforts have led to the introduction of several “thoroughbred” minifloras: ‘Ruffian’, ‘Charismatic’, ‘Foolish Pleasure’, and ‘Whirlaway’. Two of his newest introductions include the exhibition miniflora ‘Unbridled’ and the 2008 Award of Excellence winner ‘Joy’.

Joy, Miniature Rose Award of Excellence Winner
Joy, Miniature Rose Award of Excellence Winner Awarded to David Clemons

 

A Rose for Seven Sisters by Sue Tiffany | A Mother’s Day Story

Old Garden Rose Seven Sisters
Old Garden Rose Seven Sisters
Old Garden Rose Seven Sisters

 

Roses can create a living legacy connecting us to past generations. Let me tell you a love story of a rose called Seven Sisters and a beautiful family knit together today by a rose bush after  six generations. It will make you wonder if a mother’s love cut short by tragedy can reach out tenderly across time distance and space to say “I love you” through a rose petal or the soft fragrance drifting in the early dawn.

The Heart Rending Story of ‘Seven Sisters’

 

Sue Tiffany is The American Rose Society’s Chair of the Local Society Relations Committee and Publisher of ARS & You, an exciting newsletter that is distributed to 7000+ members of the American Rose Society (ARS), to all members of the local roses societies affiliated with ARS and to others interested in receiving it. I was writing a story about how Sue started growing roses. One night after I had pages of notes on Sue’s early history that is a story in itself, I thought the theme of her story really is about how one person can make such a difference to an entire organization.  When I answered the call Sue said, “I remembered something about my 2nd great grandmother that I need to tell you.” As I listened, I realized the story that unfurled like a rosebud opening was waiting to be told. It’s like a mother’s voice speaking to us through this precious rose passed on to her family across time and space. So let Sue tell you in her own words how a mother and father whose time on this earth was cut short by tragedy live on in our hearts today as we carry their memory with a rose called ‘Seven Sisters’.    Susan Fox

It Started with a Rose

Guest post By Sue Tiffany

As told to me by my Grandmother Grace Bunger Turner

 

        

Seven Sisters photo by Sue Tiffany
Seven Sisters photo by Sue Tiffany

My Grandma (I called her “Mamie”) told me that when her grandfather, Joseph Lucien Wilson, first saw Susan Thomas Goodman, it was love at first sight. Sue was just 14 years-old and it was 1847. Sue’s grandfather would not give his consent for them to marry until she was almost 17 years-old. On 18 April in 1850, Joseph Wilson married his 16 year-old sweetheart, Sue Goodman, in 1833 in Kentucky just one day shy of her 17th birthday. One of their wedding gifts was the ‘Seven Sisters’ rose. Wherever they lived in their married life, this rose and its cuttings had a prominent place in their gardens.

        

In their nearly 22 years of marriage, Joseph and Sue had nine beautiful children; and, in 1870, Sue was expecting their 10th child. When she was 8 months along with their tenth child, she attempted to walk across a log footbridge. Tragically, she fell. Both she and the little boy she was carrying died on 8 July 1870.

        

Turner Cabin 1918 photo Sue Tiffany Family
Turner Cabin 1918 photo Sue Tiffany Family

Grandpa Wilson not only had nine children to feed, he had to pay taxes on his plantation. After the War Between the States, this wasn’t an easy thing to do. Mamie told me that her grandfather had no money and few  assets and bet the plantation on a race horse named Kit – and lost it all. Fortunately, prior to this sad war, Grandpa Wilson had purchased three farms in Texas as a land speculator.

        

When Grandpa died in 1872—either of a heart attack or a broken heart–his eldest daughter, Aunt Mattie age 20 and her sister, Aunt Mollie, age 19 were both single. They wanted to keep their family together, but the good people of Hardin County felt the younger children should be sent to foster homes. However, Aunt Mattie and Aunt Mollie found homes for all of their seven younger siblings with relatives—most of whom were living in Texas on the land Grandpa Wilson had purchased. When the siblings were sent to live with relatives, each took some part of what was left on the plantation and a start from the ‘Seven Sisters’ rose that grew on their property as this was a reminder of the great love their parents had shared.(I have my 2nd great-grandmother’s brooch that was given to my Great-Grandmother, Sarah “Belle” Wilson.)

        

Seven Sisters 2012 photo by Sue Tiffany
Seven Sisters 2012

My Great-Grandma Belle married at age 20 in 1877. When she married Samuel Dean Bunger, she took as a cutting of ‘Seven Sisters’ with her to her new home. By 1887, Texas and all of the Great Plains were hit by a severe drought that lasted until the late 1890s. But, in 1888, one of the miracles in my life was born in Graham, Texas: Grace Helen Bunger (“Mamie”). Along with her family, that ‘Seven Sisters’ rose would move from Graham, Texas to Noble, Oklahoma, back to Texas. And, in about 1913, the Bungers moved to Northern Arizona, a territory that had been purchased from Mexico under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. The family came by covered wagon and buckboard. There were trains, but the Bunger family didn’t have the money to ride them. But, guess what made the trip? Yes! The ‘Seven Sisters’ rose, or at least some cuttings from it, went to Heber, Arizona by wagon train and buckboard. A cowboy named Thacker Millard Turner followed the Bunger family to Heber, AZ and, in 1914, he married my grandmother.

        

Turner Cabin 1918 photo Sue Tiffany Family
Turner Cabin 1918 photo Sue Tiffany Family

Thacker and Grace eventually built a beautiful log cabin on their L-X Ranch in Heber, AZ; but not before three children, including my mother Roberta Rose Turner, were born in a tent. Bad luck struck this young family and the beautiful log cabin burned and all that remained was this log fence outlining the property.

        

It was sometime before 1920 when ‘Seven Sisters’ made her way to the Phoenix Valley and various home sites. She would eventually wind up on Apache Road in Phoenix where she lived until about 1950.

        

Switching gears: my dad, a Marine Sergeant who’d served in the Pacific in World War II, met my mother, Roberta Rose Turner, at a dance in Phoenix. Two weeks later, they were married in El Centro, California. Now we’re talking! I’d be hatched in 1945! Times were tough after WWII. Housing was scarce and so was work. We moved around so much that my older brother Ken went to 21 different schools in the 3rd grade! One of the places we stayed for a while as my Dad did carpentry work was on my Grandma’s dairy farm in Ontario, California. My little brother Les was about 18 months, I was three and our older brother Ken was 9. We didn’t stay long because my dad wisely decided to return to Arizona State College (now ASU) in Tempe to earn his Bachelor of Arts and his teaching credential. I didn’t know that the ‘Seven Sisters’ rose was on Mamie’s dairy farm, but it was there and growing!

        

We lived in Tempe until my Dad graduated from Arizona State College and taught two years at a grade 1-8 country school in Maricopa, AZ. In the summer of 1953, we moved to Mamie’s dairy farm in Ontario, California and my life of crime as a plant rustler would begin.

        

Of course, I was only 7 years old, so I was just an accomplice in these crimes. My grandma was now 65 – two years younger than I am today. Her son, my Uncle Jack, was on some forgotten hill in Korea. While she waited for his return, my 65 year-old grandmother built a beautiful 4-bedroom home with living room, dining room and kitchen. However, it was the landscaping of this home that would be my downfall.

        

Seven Sisters photo by Sue Tiffany
Seven Sisters photo by Sue Tiffany

I was a TINY 7-year old weighing in at about 25 lbs. Mamie would take me on LONG walks in the country and we would ‘rustle’ plants. We are talking country miles here. Mamie always had her head covered (I still have her bonnet) and almost always wore an apron with two large pockets. With one exception, she ALWAYS wore a dress. On these walks, Mamie would “borrow” plants from the neighbors. She would walk by a plant she liked and deftly snap off a branch (snap). The branch would then go into her sweater, dress or apron pocket. On these forced hikes that might cover up to 10 miles (what else did I have to do on a hot Southern California summer day?), she would literally fill her pockets with treasures from the plant world. Of course, roses were her favorite, but she was an equal opportunity rustler. Eventually, her home would be surrounded by the beautiful Bird of Paradise, irises of all sorts, pyracanthas (too pokey for me), and honeysuckle growing outside her kitchen window so when she washed her dishes at night, she could enjoy the faithful California evening breeze and the honeysuckle’s fragrance. When we got home from our criminal activities, Mamie would get a shovelful of the freshest cow pile she could find, dig a little hole, fill it with water, plop in the manure and stick in the plants one at a time just where she wanted them to grow. They ALWAYS grew!

        

While Mamie was building her home, I lived with her in the little milk house. It was perfect for the two of us. My parents lived in the “big house”, but I got to sleep on my grandma’s feather bed and listen to what my family calls “old fashioned stories”. That is when I learned about the travels of ‘Seven Sisters’ and how she (the rose) had lived in at least 5 states up to then.

        

Sue Ken & Les Tiffany in front of rose bush Seven Sisters about 1955
Sue Ken & Les Tiffany in front of rose bush Seven Sisters about 1955

In the photo of my brothers and me—probably Easter Sunday 1952, you can see ‘Seven Sisters’ blooming behind my left ear. To the right of ‘Seven Sisters’ is a pokey pyracantha bush. Mamie didn’t have the rose on a trellis. She just let it grow fat and sassy. I didn’t remember that it only bloomed once because when it bloomed, it was covered with countless deep pink fragrant roses for up to two months.

        

Best of all, there was Mamie’s rose garden—all of her flowers were in raised beds. I remember a tall, pink rose that I now believe could have been a rustled ‘Queen Elizabeth’. It was so fragrant! I also remember what I now believe was ‘Charlotte Armstrong’ (also rustled). It was a paradise for a little girl who’d been part of bringing these roses to the farm. I don’t think my grandma ever purchased a plant, but she may have. Oh! The neighbors knew she was rustling plants. They all loved her—just like I did.

        

Happily, my Uncle Jack came back safely from Korea; but, sadly, Mamie decided to move back to Phoenix where most of her family lived. She traded her dairy farm for a home in the South Mountains of Phoenix. My family bought a home in town and Mamie and her ‘Seven Sisters’ rose moved away.

        

Sue Tiffany Bank of America Winner 1963
Sue Tiffany Bank of America Winner 1963

All was not lost! The very first thing my dad did when we moved into our home was to plant a rose garden! Ahhhh. Flowers. And, I won a contest where I was given scholarship money and a beautiful arrangement of roses! I was a future member of the American Rose Society, but it took me 47 years to find it!

        

Mamie died in my arms in 1971. It was such a sad day in my life. We’d shared so many stories and I learned so much from her. (One time, you should ask me how she dissolved a giant clog in my throat!)

        

Seven Sisters 2012 photo by Sue Tiffany
Seven Sisters 2012 photo by Sue Tiffany

However, the story of the ‘Seven Sisters’ rose is not over. I have some of it growing in my backyard on an arbor. I think it’s about ten feet tall now. It already has buds on it! (If you don’t live in a place like Washington State, you might be thinking, “Big deal!”) However, to those of us in colder climes who see blooms in May, there is cause for celebration.

        

Will my children grow a cutting from the ‘Seven Sisters’ rose that has traveled so far in the last 140 years? I don’t know. I hope so. I hope this story is no way near its end. I firmly believe introducing children to the plant world is a wonderful idea! I do know that I’m growing a cutting for my Cousin Susan Fox and I hope it will enjoy going back near where it came from. I wish I knew who gave that first cutting to Joseph and Sue Wilson for a wedding gift. I don’t think Mamie knew or she would have told me.        

With a rose loving family like mine who moved roses from state to state, how could I not love growing roses?

        

What are your rose stories? Where have your roses traveled? Will you please share the stories and the adventures of your roses? It’s up to us to be their voice. They can’t tell us, you know.

Sue Tiffany, "Small Potato, Right Potato" Jolene Adams American Rose Society President
Sue Tiffany, “Small Potato, Right Potato” Jolene Adams American Rose Society President