The French Prairie Heritage Rose Garden is a new repository for old roses that had been cultivated on the French Prairie prior to 1910. The rose garden is adjacent to the caretaker’s farmhouse on the campus of Antique Powerland Museum Association. The garden connects the history of the area with the stories of roses. The informally designed garden is organized into separate rose collections.
The “Roses of the French Prairie Collection” reflects unique local history and honors pioneering families by exhibiting roses with historic ties to the community. One rose in this group is the Isham Rose that was brought across the Oregon Trail by James Jefferson and Clarissa Wynn Isham in 1852. This fragrant pink rose was first planted in Champoeg. As the family moved down the Prairie, the rose was planted in Wheatland, then Labish Center, and eventually the rose was planted on the family plot in Hopewell Cemetery in Dayton. Cuttings from the rose will be planted in the new French Prairie Heritage Rose Garden at Antique Powerland.
A little known piece of French Prairie history is the story of Fr. George Schoener. In 1911, Fr. Schoener was assigned to Church of the Assumption in Brooks. He began plant hybridization experiments, often using native and naturalized roses. In 1915, the church burned to the ground, destroying his scientific records and most of his plants. Determined to start anew, he moved to Portland. Within a few years he relocated to Santa Barbara, California, and became internationally known as “The Padre of the Roses.” Only two of his many roses are known to have survived, and both will be planted in the “Fr. George Schoener Collection.”
“The Settlemeir Collection” is inspired by an old sales order from the Woodburn Nursery. The nursery was owned by the founding family of Woodburn, Oregon. The Collection consists of six roses, ordered by Miss Sophie Wolf, that she planted in her Silverton garden in 1894. This group is representative of roses that were commercially available near the end of the 19th Century, and that are still available today in specialty nurseries.
The “Mission Rose Collection” will be of great interest to local historians. Extensive research has shown that there are many stories and several roses that may have roots back to the 1834 Jason Lee Mission. The roses that we locate will be planted side by side, so each person can make up their own mind as to which rose they believe is the Mission Rose.
There is a Collection of “Oregon Heritage Roses.” This is an inclusive group of roses with stories unique to Oregon, or with a special connection to Antique Powerland.
We are looking for additional roses-with-history to plant in the garden. Please share your roses or other pioneer heritage plants with us. Each collection, and every rose, will have signage that communicates the individual stories to rose garden visitors.
The French Prairie Heritage Rose Garden is a cooperative effort between Northwest Rose Historians, Brooks Historical Society, and Antique Powerland Museum Association. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 503-539-1637.