59. A Rose by Any Other Name

Rosebud Patchwork

I really like this block because it’s so bright and fresh. I could see myself making an entire quilt of these blocks, except for one thing. The stem connects to the leaves and the flower with Y seams. You know how I feel about Y seams.

“I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys” (verse 1). This name has always intrigued me. Didn’t we all read The Grapes of Wrath for high school English class? That book was the first exposure I had to names composed of more than one word. My classmates were mostly called Kathy, Debbie, Cindy, Linda, and Steve, Mike, Bob, and Bill. I kid you not. Girls mostly got two syllables and boys made do with only one. Anyways, when we completed the book, we got to watch the movie. I looked forward to hearing the Joads say their daughter’s exquisite name out loud. I took comfort in the fact that this poor girl, enduring such a hard scrabble life, at least was blessed with a beautiful name. I was shocked and disappointed to hear “Rosasharn” come out of their mouths instead. Oh well. It happened to me again with Jane Eyre. I recently reread this classic via audiobook. Who would guess that Sanjin was really “Saint John”?

I live in Southern California. In general, it’s got a lot of advantages. However, it does have its disadvantages as well. Here are a few:

Pros

1. Weather – like Mary Poppins; practically perfect in every way.

2. Culture – access to many progressive, diverse, authentic experiences from many cultures

3. Gardening – you can grow foods and flowers all year round.

Cons

1. Weather – you don’t get a break, like a snow day, a reason to rest, stay inside, and relax guilt-free.

2. Culture – sometimes living in a progressive environment isn’t my kind of progress.

3. Gardening – You cannot grow Rose of Sharon bushes.

This last con is a bummer. I first saw Rose of Sharon bushes at my uncle’s house in Indiana. He sent me home with an envelope full of seeds that we gathered from the flowers. I was so excited to bring a special connection of faraway family back with me to my own yard. As a scrappy quilter, it’s no surprise that I’m a scrappy gardener too. I call my spaces my friendship gardens, and the majority of them are truly made up of cuttings and seeds from others.

,My pitiful little Rose of Sharon bushes. They have been struggling along, clinging to life in sunny California paradise. I don’t think they’re going to survive the mildest weather zone in the nation.

Come to think of it, we can’t grow lily of the valley around here either. Both flowers the Shulammite bride uses to describe herself are no shrinking violets in the flower kingdom. I suppose they require tougher handling from Mother Nature in order to thrive. There’s probably a metaphor I could point out here, referring to the self-confident and beautiful wife of King Solomon. But quite frankly, I will confess that the songs of Solomon, like inclement weather, make me a tad uncomfortable. Go ahead and consider me a shrinking violet; because when it comes to the Song of Songs, I’ll leave the drawing of the metaphors to you.

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