Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dedicated to the Oklahoma Tornado Victims

It would be impossible to write this week without mention of the horrific storms and tornados that have plagued the state. The velocity of Nature’s wrath is beyond comprehension and there is a collective sadness over such loss and devastation. Although it seems impossible now, there will arise something of import from this… perhaps Memorial Gardens. Memorial Gardens are created to honor those who have passed and allow the living a place to go to seek soft solace. According to space and circumstance they may be grand or small, but each surrounds and embraces, allowing people to come and benefit from silent meditation, often finding moments to heal. For in the words of Kahlil Gibran: "Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there lies in silence." Following the events this week, many people will need a place for solace and healing.

Whether public or private a memorial garden might include some of our heirloom roses to symbolize hope. They may be seen blooming in a profusion of pink, yellow, or white clusters and their sweet scent is remarkable. Roses were wildly popular and easily affordable in the early nineteen hundreds when cemetery boards encouraged people to plant them to beautify the gravesites of loved ones. These hardy roses were also set about rural farmhouses where ladies hand watered them each wash-day Wednesday with rinse water from the family laundry.

However times change and the roses were forgotten, remaining in lost obscurity long after the farm residents departed. Trampled by cattle, overgrown by native grasses, starved for water, they managed to survive and thus they symbolize hope and survival. When we first began our garden thirty eight years ago and finances were tight, we trekked about and collected roses from creaky farmhouses where these marvelous specimens had survived the Dust Bowl… unattended! My antique roses have been a delight these many years, blooming faithfully with little fuss, surprising us with their fortitude.

Oklahoma Living Magazine contained information about these roses in an article by Allan Storjohann, who is Manager of the Myriad gardens. It seems a few dedicated people felt the ‘farmhouse roses’ needed to be saved so they collected specimens just as I did… from abandoned farmhouses and overgrown cemeteries. From their 25 year old collection, the Antique Rose Emporium propagated these roses for re-release to the public, making this extraordinary survivor available once again. They would be a lovely and fitting addition to any memorial garden.

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