Tuesday, July 8, 2014
New York State Flower
Henry W. Art identifies the pasture rose as a wildflower. No claim is made about its being a native plant. I find the native plant classification shaky at best. Our Native Americans kept no written records and the Europeans newly arrived here most certainly had favorite plant seeds tucked in their pockets or stuck to their clothing. By the time newly arrived scholars inventoried plants growing here, the purity of natives had already been diluted.
The first picture shows a rose growing wild along our fence line. Pasture grass, low bush blueberry bushes and briers are its companions. Not content to enjoy the sight and scent of these flowers so far from home, a move to the garden was undertaken. Wild ground is thickly interlaced with tough root systems. Separating the desired plant intact from this mess requires careful digging and considerable luck. My first attempt failed to move a surviving plant.
A gray green poppy growing in the leaf mulch quickly identifies this specimen as a garden plant. The tiny scrap of living plant moved here from the wild required several years in the garden to reach this size. When mature, a single plant may span five feet. We need to find a permanent home for our pasture rose. It is outgrowing its current location in a nursery bed.
Since we prefer to garden without chemical pesticides or fungicides, roses have been conspicuously absent from our plantings. With some pruning and space this rose will likely remain trouble free for years. Infrequent thorns are another big plus. Backing into rose thorns while on hands and knees weeding is not a pleasant experience. It does however generate a big laugh from a nearby companion of mine.
New York State has identified a rose as our state flower. As politicians usually do, they have left this issue with generous wiggle room. Rosa carolina is the scientific name for this plant. No self respecting politician could ever place the name of another state on New York's state flower. Then there is always the issue of money. This wild plant pays no taxes so the possibility of including the roses of commerce in the designation is just politically smart. A photo that includes annoying insects over the mention of politicians is sheer coincidence.