A Small Miracle
Besides fragrance and hardiness, I love growing heirloom roses for their history. Who wouldn’t want a rose named for the mistress of a king (Rosa Mundi)? Or a rose so ancient that paintings of it appear on the walls of the palace at Knossos on Crete (Apothecary Rose)? Or how about a rose celebrated in song as The Yellow Rose of Texas (Harrison’s Yellow)? It was bred in Philadelphia and carried across the continent by pioneer women.
Harrison’s Yellow was one of the first heirloom roses that I planted. An extremely tough rose, it did well for years even though it wasn’t in the best site.
This is how it looked in 2005. The shade from my neighbor’s maple tree had expanded over the years so it kept reaching for the sun along the fence. Last year, disaster struck. It barely survived the winter.
If I were about to uproot my family and journey across the continent in a wagon, I would definitely make room for this rose. Once we had arrived at our new home, I would plant it right outside my door so that every time I came in or out, especially if I were having a bad day, it would remind me that if it could survive the journey and flourish in its new home, then so could I.