A 186-year-old Irish rose will grow new roots in Fredericton's Botanic Garden.
The City of Fredericton is investing $25,000 to build a rose garden in celebration of its 175th anniversary, with hopes of including roses with sentimental value to New Brunswickers.
Marilyn Driscoll of the Irish Canadian Cultural Association of New Brunswick knows of one special rose that has made the cut and is already growing in the city's new garden.
In 1838, a young Irish woman and her two sisters immigrated to North America.
"As many immigrants know, it's very heart-wrenching to leave your country, although it's exciting to start a new life in a new world," Driscoll told Information Morning Fredericton.
She said it was fairly common for those immigrating to bring a piece of home with them. In this case, the woman brought a clipping from the rose bush growing outside her home in Ireland and "took it through several weeks of journey by boat."
A rose that was brought from Ireland to New Brunswick in 1839 is growing new roots in Fredericton's Botanic Garden. (Submitted by Marilyn Driscoll)
The woman planted it in her new homestead in Albert County, and it lives on today.
"It's a remarkable achievement for any plant," said Driscoll.
The rosebush remains on the same property, by the original homestead, which is now owned by the woman's great-great-great-grand nephew.
The pink roses continue to bloom every year in June and July, and the bush is now quite large, at about eight feet tall and eight feet wide.
Clippings from this rosebush are being distributed to five areas of New Brunswick, with one having already made a home in Fredericton's new rose garden.
A ceremony to celebrate the planting of the historic rose will be held at the Fredericton Botanic Garden on Saturday at 2 p.m.
"Roses are flowers we all love … we were excited to hear from the city that they wanted to do a rose garden," Stephen Heard, president of the Fredericton Botanic Garden, said.
Heard said the city selected roses for the celebratory garden in an attempt to promote diversity. The more than 200 species of roses have connections to many cultures worldwide.
The garden will include 11 species, both native and European.
"The combination of native roses, which would have been known to and used by our First Nations peoples for thousands of years, together with some of the European varieties that would have come with the people since," said Heard.
"We hope that together that reflects on diversity and will be really, really beautiful."
Stephen Heard (left), Fredericton Mayor Kate Rogers (middle) and horticulturist John Welling (right) planted the first couple of roses in the garden Wednesday. (Karl Dore)
Each species will be labelled with both their English and scientific names, as well as in French, Wolastoqey and Mi'kmaq.
Heard said it won't be an easy feat to grow so many different species, all with different preferred climates and conditions, but the garden is working with horticulturists, who he believes can make it happen. An area edging two ponds in the botanic garden has been landscaped and will home to the roses, he said.
Fredericton Mayor Kate Rogers planted the first set of roses in the garden this week.
"So far it looks like landscaped dirt, but it's coming," said Heard.
He said the botanic garden will spend the next year sourcing roses to fill the garden, with hopes of getting some that have strong roots in the community.
"It's the kind of place where people should come and visit, have a look and imagine what they're going to see when they come visit again in a year, in two years and in five and 10 years."
"The city has talked about this being a lasting project, and this is going to look fabulous down the road."