Growing History—My Big Pink Peony & Itsy Bitsy Little Roses
Here is history encoded in the genetics of heirloom plants; my big pink peony and an explosion of spice scented old roses growing wild in Glen Major Tract/Uxbridge.
As to the peony, the big blowsy flowers may have gone out of fashion since their extravagant blossoms first graced the country gardens, but their ancestors forge on; they can still be found thriving alone and unloved in remnants of gardens, overgrown by fallow field. While they compete successfully with the surrounding weeds and tall grasses, they never commit the crime of becoming invasive foreigners. They merely hold their own, looking gorgeous, until the next land-owner falls in love and tends them.
These particular plant is among a list that ‘came with the house’. My home is a renovated cottage, first built in 1964 when Musselman’s Lake was still but a weekend getaway. It has had a succession of owners, but one of them at least must have been an avid gardener. They left behind many plants that I still treasure; the scented red daylilies, the weird egyptian/walking onion, ornamental catmint, lilac and narcissus. When I look at them, I wonder at who planted them, and would they get satisfaction knowing they still thrive?
Now to the roses growing feral in Glen Major Tract. Their pedigree has long since been lost to history, but it’s genetic code passes on through generations. Once their was a house, a farmstead, and a lover of roses; abandoned or bereaved, these roses forged on, growing to towering heights (some are 20 foot mounds) and propagate in the clearings. Unlike their modern counterparts, these roses need no fussing, mulching, dusting or sprays. Summer through winter, they thrive, their dense growth providing both food and shelter to the local wildlife that now inhabits the land.
Its fragrance is as exquisite as its blossoms; a beautiful survivor of a bygone era.