Old Tracks: Yellow Roses

    They are markers.  Every pioneer homestead, every ranch and boom camp had these tough, beautiful roses.  They marked life, their bloom s a testament to hoped for longevity and permanence.  Planted with optimism and faith and very little common sense.  Their planters all dreamers!  Maybe this camp would make it and truly become a city.  Maybe this old adobe beside its stream would expand into a large outfit.  Hard work and hope expressed by roses.  Each rosebush a brand making that piece of land as tamed and civilized.
    Too optimistic!  The Nevada desert is not so easily conquered.  Most of these constructions did not outlast the dreamers who built them.  Long before the elements pulled them down, their builders had moved on chasing another dream.
    The roses are hardier.  As long as there is even a little water they hang on, year after year.  Some bushes outlasting all those dreams and the dreamers who planted them.  Often they were planted in and around the old cemeteries to mark life's passing.  In part because they bloomed around Memorial Day, and even more importantly, didn't require much care.  For years they marked Winnemucca's old Pioneer Cemetery.  (At least what was left of it after the graves were disturbed to make way for another century's development.)
    I'm not sure where they originated.  Back east?  Europe?  Somewhere much further?  That is not known.  Though I'd guess a plant geneticist could trace it.
    Their blooms don't possess much of a scent, it's their leaves that are aromatic.  In June through to the first of July (Depending on your elevation.)they are reliable bloomers.  Managing beauty in the most unlikely corners of the desert.
    They are not wild. Though, in common with their wild cousins, they spread freely from their roots.  So, if you plant them, make sure they are  limited.  Otherwise, you'll have a briar patch.

 A beautiful  briar patch at least couple of weeks out of the year, a thorny nuisance the rest of the time.

    The long drought suffered by the desert has finally killed many of these bushes.  Bushes that survived a hundred years or more.  I've seen these bushes in the northern Black Rock, Midas, and Mill City.  I hope that in some of the old areas like Dun Glen, a tough little root still survives that with a wet winter and rainy spring will send up a new shoot to dazzle us with its beauty in June.
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