I grew up with this rose. Mother called it “Grandma’s Peony Rose,” her grandmother’s (Caroline Jenkins Howard) pride and joy plant.
Mother took a root from the original plant and grew it in her garden for many years. But alas, with the neglect of the garden that inevitably come with aging, her rose is no more.
Luckily, I took a sprout from her rose bush and planted it shortly after we moved into our current home, some 20 years ago. It has never been a great performing rose for me – subject to blackspot disease and given to legginess and weak canes. But perhaps I’ve never nurtured it, although it is a special heirloom plant for me. This year I shall do better.
When this rose blooms it will almost take your breath away! Ah, the old-rose fragrance is like no other I’ve known! The blooms are quite large with many petals. The color is deep pink, with a tinge of magenta.
I have noticed this year that my little bush is struggling, competing with the errant cherry tree seedling that have fallen into the flower bed, as well as the daffodil bulbs nearby.
Today was the day I decided to do something about it. I gingerly inserted a shovel all around the stragglely remaining root and dug it out. It’s being conditioned right now in a pail filled with water and Epsom salt, and later today I will plant it in a different location.
I am wondering if this struggling plant is the lone offspring remaining of Grandma Caroline’s Peony Rose. I do not know if any of
my mother’s siblings got a start from the original plant. I think it would be a
shame to have it die out, so once the plant recovers, perhaps next year, I’m
going to take cuttings (or ask my sister to, for she is far better at rooting plants than am I) for rooting and sharing with other
family members who have an interest in preserving this plant.
|Sarah Caroline Jenkins Howard (this picture taken in the 1930s when she was well into her 80s. She died in 1942 at the age of 91)|
Later today, I shall take these two lone roses blooms the bush produced this year to my mother. That will make her happy – to know that Grandma’s Peony Rose has survived.
We have no idea of the real name of this rose. If any rose enthusiast out there should see this picture and is able to identify it, please let me know. Thank you!