(by Gary Carlsen, from a column written for the MoCoGenSo Newsletter from 1997-1999)
Climbing Rose is Deep Crimson Color
Like a breath form the scented gardens of old Monterey, the lovely crimson Rio Rita rose comes to you with a whisper from the pages of romance.
The only rose ever produced that blooms through the long summer, from frost to frost, and that bursts into blossom on the new years growth, it is fittingly named for the immortal Rio Rita, the Rose of Monterey.
It was on the American occupation of California in 1847 that an obscure young American lieutenant won the heart of Rio Rita, last of a proud Spanish line. Their love flourished secretly, for the daughter of the Dons was not encouraged in an affair with a plebeian Yankee.
During the short months they were together above the blue bay of Monterey they planted a rose whose scarlet blossoms would symbolize the passion of their love as long as it remained.
The dashing Yankee boy went east with his regiment, leaving behind him a promise of return and undying faith in the heart of the lovely Rio Rita
Years passed. Suitors came and went. Word was received that the young lieutenant was a great general with the Union forces in the civil war, but Rio Rita, become a legend of devotion, still tended the rose against the day of her lover’s return.
She lies buried today in the checkered shade above the blue Pacific and on her grave there grows a crimson rose which simple Spanish folks say blossoms perpetually.
The above article by A. J. Elmer appeared in the March 3 1935 San Francisco Examiner. Continue reading