Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tale of A Rose

Did you hear about the man who woke up from a coma...just as they were getting ready to turn off the machines?

This actually happened to a cousin, as well. Kayleen had been in a horrific traffic accident, and the doctors said she was brain dead. But she wasn't! It took time, but eventually she came out of the coma...and recovered.

* * * * * *
Working on the California Gold book today -- and researching a special flower. When pioneers moved west, they often took along cuttings of a tough-as-nails yellow rose they called "Harison's." According to Deborah Bedford, author of A Rose By the Door:

George Harison, an attorney and amateur rose-grower, discovered the species in the 1830s growing in his backyard. The roses were fragrant and hardy... Harison gave a slip to Thomas Hogg, a local nurseryman, who assigned it its first and perhaps most accurate name, given how far it would soon range: “Hogg’s Yellow American Rose.” A second nurseryman, William Prince, better equipped to propagate and distribute it, renamed it ‘Harison’s Yellow.’ In an 1846 rose catalog, Prince wrote that his rose was brilliant and beautiful. He also wrote that “a hot sun makes its blooms expand and lose much of their beauty.”

The rose cuttings were kept moist stuck into a potato, or wrapped in damp rags. So many were planted that some historians say the path of homesteaders can literally be traced by the Harison's Yellow rosebushes still thriving by house and cabin foundations.

I've wanted a Harison's for literally decades, but couldn't find one anywhere...until High Country Roses in Utah hove into view:

It is really (I mean really) dry here; in fact, our area, in spite of being at 6,250 ft, is categorized as "High Desert." Very little grows easily, except for columbine, day lilies, iris and -- ironically -- dandelions. But the Harison's is known for triumphing in such conditions. I ordered it, as well as a mystery pink rose that thrived in the neglected Fairmount Cemetary in Denver. (The second oldest in Denver...)

It's nice to think of roses when you're staring out the window at a tan, windswept landscape. There will be more about the Harison's in the book, too -- including a rose-themed pattern. I just have to remind myself to use only one 'r!'

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