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“But the sun was warm on her bare head and she read on, increasingly entranced … by the sheer romance of the old roses.  Surely no other flower had accumulated such a rich and ancient tradition….

Some of them could trace their histories back, not for centuries but for millenia.  The night before she had read of the wreaths found in Egyptian tombs.  Those withered blossoms had been plucked four thousand years ago, but when they were put into warm water the buds opened rose-pink petals.  Someone had even identified the variety: Rosa richardii, called “the Rose of the Tombs” or the “Holy Rose of Abyssinia” because it had flourished in the Christian cemeteries of Ethiopia for countless ages. … The Persian musk rose, cultivated for its perfume, had arrived in England in 1513; Shakespeare mentioned it in A MIdsummer Night’s Dream, and it was a favorite scent of Elizabethan dandies — because, one authority had suggested, it was reminiscent of the smell of the rutting musk stag.  One could well believe that, knowing the Elizabethans….”  Vanish with the Rose (Barbara Michaels)

Hmmm….. hadn’t really thought of rutting musk stags and roses together before!  We thought we’d send along some pictures of the MPM Gardens in summer, before everything “vanishes with the roses”….

Barbara didn’t seem able to do anything half-way.  Her files are full of research for each book, and often the detailed background research led to hobbies into which she threw herself with accustomed passion.  In Vanish with the Rose we hear hints of the avid gardener she became (always with stalwart help). And here are some glimpses of the results….

(and these really are “Summer” in MPM Gardens: photos by Summer Kelley Photography!)

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