"The Bismark School Roses"
Long ago and far away in those wonderful days of yesteryear, a school
teacher on the Texas frontier convinced the children in
her classes to plant roses around the schoolhouse. The name of that teacher
is now long forgotten, as are the names of the children, but the roses
remain to this day.
The roses were planted around 1890, around a school house that has
long since vanished. The school property is still visible as is the
adjoining cemetery, but the most spectacular thing is the line of
roses that borders the gravel road.
I first heard about these roses in April of 2001 from kind lady in north
central Texas who e-mailed me with a hot tip. A flurry of e-mails and
telephone calls ensued, and in a matter of days my wife and I were
heading up Highway 16, clippers in hand.
It was a very worthwhile trip, and we met some wonderful people who
were as interested in the preservation of
"treasures from the past"
as we are. The true identity of the roses has not been established,
but they are clearly beautiful and well worth saving - both for their
beauty and for their historical significance.
The roses are moderate climbers that will scramble into low overhanging
branches, and without support them form a huge mounding hedge. They
tend to sucker somewhat, and are obviously hardy - having survived
more than 100 years with essentially no care.
WHAT BEAUTIFUL ROSES!
The flowers occur in loose clusters along long flexible canes, and are
very double and "cabbage" shaped.
They appear to be once blooming, but I
have not had an opportunity to observe them other than in the Spring.
Fortunately the roses are easy to propagate, and cuttings are available
from the side of the road. We took a number of cuttings, about 15 of
which survived, and we plan a significant "island" of the
"Bismark School Roses" in our display garden.
Suffice it to say, if you want to see an amazing sight, visit the
"Bismark School Roses" during late April when they
are in full bloom.
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Last updated 08/04/2006.