Monday, May 30, 2016

Church Roses

Weather: Another week of feeling battened down, while the elements play out overhead. Sun, wind, low humidity and last rain 5/15. It’s been too windy to put in seeds, but some that planted themselves last year are coming up.

The cold of late spring has pleased the locusts, spirea, privet, snowballs, and peonies. Roses, which often spread their flowing over weeks, are showing everything at once.

What’s blooming in the area: Austrian copper, hybrid tea, pink and yellow roses, Dr. Huey rose rootstock, spirea, yellow potentilla, beauty bush, snowball, white (black) and purple flowered locust trees and purple locust shrub, sweet peas, silver lace vine, Dutch iris, broad leaf yucca, datura, peony, oriental poppy, blue flax, Jupiter’s beard, snow-in-summer, Canadian columbine, purple salvia, Shasta daisy, yellow yarrow.

Beyond the walls and fences: Apache plume, Russian olive, tansy and tumble mustards, tufted white evening primrose, alfilerillo, purple mat flower, western stickseed, bindweed, fern leaf globe mallow, yellow sweet clover, green amaranth, fleabane, goat’s beard, plains paper flower, native and common dandelions, brome, June, cheat, rice, needle and purple three awn grasses.

In my yard: Woodsii and rugosa roses, skunkbush, privet, chives, vinca, Maltese cross, pinks, coral bells, golden spur columbine, baptisia, Johnson’s Blue geranium, Rose Queen salvia, catmints, chocolate flower, white yarrow.

Bedding plants: Pansies, wax begonias, moss roses.

Inside: Zonal geraniums.

Animal sightings: Rabbit, hummingbirds and other small birds, geckoes, cabbage butterfly, bumble bees on black locust and baptisia, hornets everywhere, ants.

Weekly update: Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe has been associated with roses ever since Juan Diego asked for proof of her existence to show the archbishop in 1531. She told him to gather flowers from a barren hill in December. When he went there he found roses, which he gathered in his cloak. He took them back to the church where he discovered they had stained the fabric with her image.

The description of the roses has changed with retellings. At first they may have been some other flower that was called rose by Spaniards from the Estremadura who had a limited botanical vocabulary. Once called rose, they became Castilian roses. Now, they often are large red hybrid flowers, like the ones shown at her feet in a local mural.  However, when Pope Francis visited the shrine he took yellow ones.

Guadalupe began as an icon for natives. She did not become a symbol for Spaniards in México until 1737 after prayers to her in a great epidemic coincided with its retreat. By then, Santa Cruz was isolated from the capital and rarely had a resident priest.

It’s only recently, that her image has appeared on walls. The ones around the closed Hunter Ford dealership were painted in 2014. One person installed a tiled image in a wall in the village in May of 2015 and another added an mosaic this past winter. That one has pink and white hybrid roses at three corners, and a yellow one at the fourth. The shells are symbols of Santiago de Compostela.

The main Santa Cruz church has no roses around it. It’s grounds are a cemetery that has been graveled over. Where you see the flowers is in front of the house next door. There hybrid roses line the walk. The deep red ones are the Dr. Huey rootstock that survived with the scions failed.

There are fewer roses at the church built across the river in the early 1950s. The grounds are a brick-paved plaza with trees marking the boundary between pavers and the dirt. There’s one yellow hybrid rose on the north wall, that may have been added by a parishioner.

Most of the local Catholic churches that get a mass one weekday night a month have grounds striped to bare dirt. People living in the area of the one nearest my house have laid a paved walk and graveled the area surrounding the church. In another, the paved path is wider but the area beyond is dirt. There a few roses have been planted by each of the walls. Two hybrids, a red and a yellow, share an area on the north side.

The churches where roses are grown are not those founded by the original settlers or by those who moved west of the river after World War II. Santo Niño de Atocha is a settlement near Riverside that appeared on the first maps made in the 1930s. That church has hybrid roses along the street (north) and parking lot (west) sides.

The church with the best roses belongs to a Protestant sect on the west side of the river. They line the north side between some iris at the east end and an arborvitae at the west.

The fact most of these roses are growing of the north side is probably a consequence of eas-west orientation of the churches. Water condenses off the metal roofs and keeps the roses watered between visits by their caretakers. Spigots for hoses probably were not available until city water lines were extended. Once they survived on the north, the location took on a meaning of its own.

All these roses are recent hybrids, suggesting roses weren’t part of church landscapes until after World War II when Jackson and Perkins and others were making new varieties available and LANL wages could be spent on what had been luxuries. If the churches had had roses before, they would have been older yellow or pink varieties like those near the top that were blooming across the plaza from the Santa Cruz church this week.

Photographs: Except where noted, all photographs taken 27 May 2016.
1. Red climbing rose on south wall of the local Catholic church.
2. Pink roses at a house across the plaza from the Santa Cruz church.
3. Mural on a building that fronts part of Cook’s lumber yard.
4. Tile image of Guadalupe in the village.
5. Hybrid roses and Dr. Huey rootstock in front of house next to the Santa Cruz church.

6. Yellow hybrid rose on north wall of Sacred Heart, 20 May 2016.
7. Hybrid roses on the north wall of church in #1.
8. Hybrid roses along the north wall of Santo Niño de Atocha.
9. Hybrid roses along the north wall of a Protestant church on the west side of the river.
10. Tile image in a different wall in the village with red roses at the corners.

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