Roses on stage during walk, open house

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

The Conococheague Institute, located at 12995 Bain Road, Mercersburg, will hold a Rose Walk and Open House from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 25.

The buildings on the site will be open. Miller's Early American Games will host an assortment of outdoor games enjoyed by 18th century American colonists of all ages. There will also be a self-paced scavenger hunt to guide people through the gardens. Alternately, visitors may request a guided walk through the grounds. Refreshments will be on-hand in the Visitor Center. Picnic facilities are available.

Although Mother Nature will ultimately decide how many roses have bloomed by the date of the event, some of the roses are already in bloom and more are opening daily. Typically, roses are at their peak from Memorial Day through June; some of the varieties continue to flower through November.

The grounds of The Conococheague Institute are open daily from dawn to dusk. The office staff is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Guided tours of the site are available for a minimal fee. See the website, www.cimlg.org, for more information. Plan to call ahead for a guided tour.

The Rose Walk event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 717-328-3467 or email info@cimlg.org. Additional information about CI's roses is available at http://cimlg.org/ciblog/2014/05/15/stop-and-smell-the-roses-join-us-for-cis-annual-rose-walk-may-25-from-1-4pm/. Additional information on Miller's Early American Games is available at http://cimlg.org/ciblog/2013/04/19/early-american-games-by-tad-miller-millers-early-american-games/.

Facts about the Conococheague Institute's Roses

Featured in June 13, 2009 Home & Garden section of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Roses planted in 2001-2004 in memory of Phyllis Stauffer, who died in 1999.

Dr. Doris Goldman, plant ecologist, rosarian and elementary school teacher from Waynesboro, helped to plan the rose garden.

Plants were purchased from specialty nurseries, with the help of on-line ordering.

1/3 were custom-rooted; 2/3 are “own root”, meaning that the root is the same genetic material as the plant you see.

Oldest species of roses on the site were named in the 16th century; date refers to when the rose was named.  Many species on the site are older than this.  

“Ancient,” “Old,” and “Modern” roses are on the site.

Planned to be a garden filled with varieties of roses that would have been well-known to the Welsh, English, Scots-Irish settlers of the Conococheague.

In local history, some churches paid “Rose Rent;” this was a token payment to community leaders who allowed churches to build houses of worship.  For example, in the mid-1700s, Benjamin Chambers, founder of Chambersburg, received single roses from local clergy in acknowledgement for his donation of land to the churches.

The roses represent ancient, European and Colonial history.

In the 18th century, average land owners saved seeds or bought from peddlers; wealthy would have purchased plants from nurseries.

“All of the roses that [Thomas] Jefferson grew are in the [Conococheague] garden.”  - Goldman researched the catalog left by Bernard M'Mahon, Jefferson's nursery man.

Distinctive varieties:

“William Lobb” - Moss rose, mid-19th century, named for British explorer who searched worldwide for seed

#93 “Rosa gallica versicolor,” “Rosa Mundi” - mutant of the ancient Apothecary Rose, may date back to the 12th century, mutation known as “sport.”

“Napoleon's Hat” - has sepals shaped like tri-corns

Pink and white striped Moss roses are pruned carefully to avoid having them revert to all-pink

“Alba” roses - tall red and pink

Cabbage roses - represented by still-life painters

Damask roses - used to make rose water: #35, #68 - “Autumn Damask” a.k.a. “Four Seasons Rose,” was used in cult of Aphrodite in about 1000 BC; “Attar Damask” - originated in Iran, grow east of Mecca in Taiff, Saudi Arabia; #69 - “Rose de Rescht” - Portland Damask, double blooms of deep fuschia; 112 Madame Zoetmans - white; #3 Leda, painted damask (white with red tips)

Gallica roses - red or purple: ; #32 - Moss roses - sepals smell like pine; #80, #108 - Scotch roses; bloom early spring; “Memorial Rose” - found in parts of Asia, ground-cover/rambling rose; #45 - “Baltimore Belle” - pale pink double bloom