Oh, my goodness. In the nick of time I happened to hear about the Russian River Rose Company, which is open to the public during April and May for perfume tours. Not wanting to interfere with a commercial venture I phoned owner Jan, who very kindly invited me to come out early this morning for a very special private peek at what they are about: making high quality rose oils and rose water for the public following a very old tradition with very high quality European roses! Stunning opportunity! Her husband Michael met me as I drove out to the vineyards in Healdsburg amongst which their treasured roses live–and they among them. What a lifeplan! I was struck by how rudimentary the process is, at once realizing how time intensive it must be to make this treasure, and simultaneously realizing why rose oil is a costly item. “It takes 120 roses to make one drop of rose oil, ” Michael affirmed. Wow. Meanwhile, one cannot help but think of an older profession in our country’s history as one views the apparatus. It is, afterall, a distillery!
Water in the bottom of that vat reaches a temperature that causes steam to go up through the petals, carrying the oil with it. When it reaches the second container it reconstitutes, and eventually finds its way to that little glass jar underneath. There it sits until the oil rises to the top, and rose water remains below. Yes, I get it. Not easy to come by and quite an endeavor in our fast paced world. But oh the result! You can bet I left at morning’s end with more than one rose atomizer in a small bag. How could I not?
“Oh, my poor readers,” I lamented, knowing I could never ever remember the names of anything I was shooting, coupled with the self-knowledge that I live in a land of “That is so beautiful!” not, “What’s that?”
“You easily lose yourself in [words], become hypnotized into implicitly believing that when you have attached a word to something, you know what it is. The fact is: You don’t know what it is. You have only covered up a mystery with a label.”
Nevertheless, I do understand that it is nigh onto impossible to go into a nursery and ask for a large red undulating rose. And we are indeed fortunate that Jan is an extremely patient and understanding woman who was willing to look at specific images and identify my favorites that I longed to share with you. Perhaps you will be inspired to bring some of these into your life. Top of the list for me personally was one I could remember! The 4th of July! I purchased two as Mother’s Day gifts. (Yes, I’m one of the Mothers. How did you guess?) This is a climber and I found it to be the happiest of blossoms!
Here are more of my favorites. I’m seeing that I am particularly drawn to the luscious reds! But it is impossible to choose one best one, the variations are so great, the beauty so overwhelming.
“Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.”
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”
And over one more set of hills,
along the sea,
the last roses have opened their factories of sweetness
and are giving it back to the world.
Dearest readers, wherever you find yourselves, avail yourselves of the beauty of the roses. Give thanks for every dear one of them for the joy they bring into our lives. Take not one for granted.
Tend your gardens. Tend your hearts.
Love and spring blessings,
Happy postscript: Blogger Cyndee Greene has honored me with a Friendship Award. I invite you to visit her blog The Journey.
Posted on April 24th, 2009 by Kathryn
Filed under: Field Trips