Sunday, June 25, 2017

JUNE - The Month of Roses

Although the rose has always been my favorite flower, it is also the flower of June, my birth month. Growing up on a farm in northeastern Pennsylvania, I cherished the intoxicating fragrance of the antique rose bushes growing around the stonewall foundations of old razed houses on our property where early settlers lived, but later moved westward for reasons unknown. Every June, like a birthday present from the earth and heaven above, it was a delight to see the many bushes, growing wild, bursting into riotous pink blossoms, and spreading over an entire knoll of our pasture.

Old roses, also called “old-fashioned roses,” “heirloom roses,” “antique roses” and “old garden roses” are those plants introduced in America prior to 1867. Although there are hundreds of old rose varieties, they are best known for their hardiness and fragrance.

The oldest rose planted today was in existence some 2,000 years before the birth of Christ. It migrated from Persia (Iran) through Turkey to France and finally into England Later, clippings of these old garden roses were often hand-carried to America by early immigrants from Europe.

In my novel, Four White Roses, I chose to have the heroine try to save the last white Austrian rose that the hero’s great-grandmother brought with her stateside just prior to World War I.

Sometimes writers don’t know where they get ideas for writing a novel. Sometimes thoughts and ideas just pop into our heads. To be honest, only when I started writing Four White Roses did mental sparks erupt—and I was able to draw an eerie connection to my own life. I have actually saved the last old roses bushes planted on my family farm and dating back to the 1800s.

Luckily, I took cuttings after my husband and I were married. With the passing of my parents, the rose bushes eventually died out, probably succumbing to harsh winters, the elements and wildlife, and lack of nourishment and care. Now, more than ever, I find it humbling when I realize I possess the very same roses planted by the hands of our first settlers. And, the lineage is still alive for over a hundred and fifty years.

Ralph Waldo Emerson best reflects my feelings about these beautiful flowers with those prickly thorns:
 “There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence.”

 When widower Rich Redman returns to Pennsylvania with his young daughter to sell his deceased grandmother’s house, he discovers Grandmother Gertie’s final request was for him to find a missing relative and a stash of WWI jewels.

Torrie Larson, single mom, is trying to make her landscape center and flower arranging business succeed while attempting to save the lineage of a rare white rose brought from Austria in the 1900s.

 Together, the rich Texas lawyer and poor landscape owner team up to rescue the last rose and fulfill a dead woman’s wishes. But in their search to discover answers to the mysteries plaguing them, will Rich and Torrie also discover love in each other’s arms? Or will a meddling ghost, a pompous banker, and an elusive stray cat get in their way?

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