Thursday, February 10, 2011
Part of the allure of Old Garden Roses as a group is the history surrounding the roses, and there are many stories surrounding Harison's Yellow. Its introduction ranges anywhere from 1824 through 1842 in various sources, but all seem to relate its origin point as being in New York during that period. The most common story, unverified and under debate, is that it first bloomed in the garden of attorney George F. Harison on 32nd Street and 8th Avenue and was introduced by nurseryman William Price in 1830. It is also known as the Oregon Trail Rose and the Yellow Rose of Texas and seems to have followed the pioneers across the United States, leaving pieces of itself at every homestead. I always hold a picture in my mind of a heart-worn pioneer woman bringing Harison's Yellow along in the wagon as a reminder of home. Rosarians should keep in mind though, that the famous song "The Yellow Rose of Texas" refers to Emily D. West (aka Emily Morgan), a woman who reportedly aided the Texans during the Battle of San Jacinta with her ability to keep Santa Anna preoccupied in her boudoir. Lovely flowers, it seems, come in all forms and were helpful to the struggling American pioneers in many different ways.