Roses of Sharon and Jericho

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Here’s a picture of my latest garden surprise a Rose of Sharon bush that looked all but dead when we moved in, miraculously came back to life, and then lost a bunch of leaves when we transplanted it to the other side of the garden. Needless to say, I was not expecting flowers, but flowers are here, and they’re spectacular!

The name “Rose of Sharon” reminds me of Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath (which I haven’t read since sophomore year of high school and can only dimly recollect), because there’s a character in the book who’s called Rosasharn, after the plant. It’s a Biblical name in the King James translation of the Song of Solomon, the beloved claims “I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys though that’s apparently a mistranslation of the Hebrew word for “crocus.”

When I lived in Europe, I had a plant called the Rose of Jericho, which is basically a tumbleweed: put it into a bowl of water and it unfurls its frothy leaves, take it out and it curls up into a dry, brown ball and goes to sleep.

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