The cemeteries of the last century have been such a haven for old roses not only because they have provided a peaceful, stable environment in the midst of America's changing landscape, but also because they have played a special role in the history of this nation's horticulture.
~ Thomas ChristopherOne of these illustrious cemeteries is the Sacramento Historic City. It's a must if you are a rose lover, in Northern California.
Established in 1849, the cemetery is now home to hundreds of old or antique roses collected from other cemeteries, old home sites, and country roadsides.
You might wonder why the old rose revival centers so much around cemeteries like this one. While home gardeners removed out-of-style roses, in favor of new hybrids, cemetery gardeners weren't about to remove the white Tea rose that was planted on mother's grave, or the baby pink rambler flourishing on the grave of a child.
For the past seventy years or so, thanks to cemeteries, an American history of roses has been writing itself from the hearts and minds of their lovers.
In Search of Lost Roses, by Thomas Christopher, is the source of the quote at the top of the page. I highly recommend this intriguing book, and will try to further convince you by adding the first paragraph from Mr. Christopher's book flap.
One of the most striking horticultural developments of recent years has been the reappearance of the so-called old rose, the types beloved of our great-grandparents, which almost vanished when the first hybrid tea rose was cultivated in 1867. "They were for generations virtually unattainable, lost entirely," Thomas Christopher writes. "Today they are once again filling gardens with their subtle, unfamiliar colors and perfume. Behind their reappearance lies an extraordinary story, a tale of flowers that have persisted for centuries and of the unlikely band of experts who united to rescure them."