As a member of the Texas Rose Rustlers and the national Heritage Rose Society, I love to preserve the "old" roses which were brought to the United States by immigrants, who carried a piece of home with them.
Rose cuttings stuck in potatoes, preserved for the new home made the arduous journey with Germans, English, French and many other European, Eastern and Asian newcomers to this land.
And many of those cuttings still mark an old homestead today, living amid fallen down stones and lumber. Or in the grave yards dotting the countryside, you can see various antique roses marking a grave. In many cases, the plant is the only marker of the passing of a loved one. A rose planted to bloom, bloom and bloom again from spring to freeze, scenting the surrounding air with its pleasant fragrance helps to signify the love once shared.
And that, right there folks, is enough to make a Rose Rustlers heart start palpitating. A flash of color amid a bush of green and its good for a squeal of breaks and a hard turn of the wheel to check it out. Cemeteries are great for rose rustling as well as back roads and byways. These old roses are true survivors!
Although they are not sold commercially on a large scale any longer, the old varieties have not vanished, but live in relative obscurity around the country, mainly cultivated by cottage gardeners who pass on cuttings of the undemanding shrubs.
If your mother or grandmother or grandfather gardened and grew roses, it was probably from a cutting of an old rose that another gardener had passed on to them. Its true that the old garden roses you find today are the most hardy of the species, having passed the test of time.
The passing of rose cuttings helps to propagate the species and is a way to pass a family heirloom from one generation to the next. There are certain steps you can take to successfully take and root a cutting. Take a look at the Cutting article.
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