Guest Post

Guest Post by Suzanne Woods Fisher and Giveaway!

Every Rose Has a Story to Tell

Suzanne-Woods-FisherSomewhere in your backyard, very likely, a rose is growing. Maybe two or three or more. Have you ever thought of the story behind those roses? Where they originally came from—Europe or China? Who first cultivated it? Who planted it in your garden? And why?

There’s a fairly good chance that at least one rose in your backyard is a “lost” rose—one from the 1800s, started from a small cutting by friend or family, and is no longer available on the commercial market. In the nineteenth century, there were over 6,000 varieties of roses.

But then came the twentieth century—an era of consolidation for businesses, including nurseries. Just a few large firms grew roses to sell on the commercial market, and they only sold the best sellers—which caused the elimination of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of roses. Those roses, a legacy of 2,500 years of breeding and gardening, disappeared from nursery catalogs and eventually from gardens, too. They were lost until the 1970s when “rose rustlers” set out to discover neglected rose specimens that had survived in abandoned gardens, cemeteries, vacant lots, and backyards of old towns.

“Rose rustling” is an odd term because, unlike cattle rustlers, they don’t steal anything. Just the opposite—they seek to preserve it. When rose rustlers find an old rose, they identify it and take cuttings to propagate (with permission, of course). Now and then, they come across a “found”—a rose that was thought to be extinct. A “found” is the equivalent of an earthquake in the rose world. Such an unusual discovery causes reverberation and ripples and excitement. After all, each rose has a story behind it.

Take, for example, the story of the oldest known rose in the world—over one thousand years old. It’s from a cathedral in Hildescheim, Germany. During the Second World War, the cathedral was bombed and the rose was destroyed. Believe it or not, new canes sprouted up. New life coming out of something so implausible. A perfect illustration from the natural world that points to another reality. A heavenly reality.

Here’s one that tugs at my heart, a reminder that God does not forget the brokenhearted. It’s about a pink rose called “Louise the Unfortunate.”

In the mid 1800’s, Louise was a mail order bride from New Orleans. She traveled to Natchez, Mississippi to meet her new husband-to-be and start her new life. She waited and waited on the docks but no one came to claim her. A day turned into night, then a week, then a month. Had her betrothed come to the docks, saw her, and changed his mind? Had something happened to him? Penniless, heartbroken and ashamed, Louise could not go home. She became a prostitute, working “Under the Hill,” until she took ill and died. Her white marble headstone has a simple epitaph: “Louise the Unfortunate” and a pink rose adorns her grave.

The history of roses, all true, is the framework for Christmas at Rose Hill Farm. In this Christmas tale, we meet up again with Bess Riehl from The Search, whose one-of-a-kind and slightly outrageous grandmother, Bertha Riehl, was a grower and lover of roses. Tucked into the corner of her grandmother’s greenhouse, Bess comes across a forgotten potted rose. One lone bud is soon to bloom. Curious and unable to identify the rose, Bess requests Penn State Extension to send out a rose rustler. That rose rustler turns out to be Billy Lapp, her first love. There’s only one thing that could lure Billy Lapp back to Stoney Ridge: the discovery of a “found” rose.

Here’s the fun part of being a novelist: the very rose Bess discovered at Rose Hill Farm is traced to the journey of the first Amish group who arrived in America in 1737 on the Charming Nancy. Stay tuned for that story to be told in Anna’s Crossing, a novel coming out in March 2015 about that treacherous ocean voyage. And the rose.

Yes, each rose has a unique history. But all roses have an important story to tell. In Christian history, the rose is associated with martyrs who were persecuted and died because they professed their faith. The five petals of the rose bloom are said to represent the five wounds of Christ. That is the most important story any rose has to tell.

Christmas-Rose-Hill-FarmLove this blog post Suzanne! Thanks for taking the time to stop by Destination Amish…I always learn something new from you 🙂

Suzanne is giving away a copy of Christmas at Rose Hill Farm to one lucky reader!

To enter leave a comment…easy peasy! For an EXTRA chance share this post and leave a comment if you do.

Contest starts today Tuesday, October 14th and ends on Tuesday, October 21st.

*Contest is only open to US residents*

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books and host of the radio-show-turned-blog Amish Wisdom. Suzanne’s interest in the Amish began with her grandfather, who was raised Plain. A theme in her books (her life!) is that you don’t have to “go Amish” to incorporate the principles of simple living. She lives in California with her family and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne’s way of thinking, you just can’t take life too seriously when a puppy is tearing through your house with someone’s underwear in its mouth. You can find Suzanne at or

83 thoughts on “Guest Post by Suzanne Woods Fisher and Giveaway!

  1. I love roses, they are my favorite flower and they are the month of June’s flower and guess what? I was born in the month of JUNE!! AWESOME?!?!! I KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thanks for the rose history Suzanne.

  2. Loved this post.Thanks for sharing about the roses.I am looking forward to reading your new Christmas book.I love Christmas stories.

  3. Love reading your Amish books. I can’t get enough of them. Guess because of their simple ways. I’m trying hard to simplify my life and so I live vicariously through theirs. Through your books I have learned from the Amish. I thank you and them for that. 🙂

  4. That was interesting! I love roses but did not know about all the history you shared. I’d love to win your book.

  5. I would love to win a copy of this book A Rose at Hill Farm. Suzanne you always write the nicest Christmas stories.
    I never thought about roses having a history. I just thought they were beautiful and had a very fragrant scent. I just learned something here and to think I dug up a rose one time that I thought was dead. Now I feel bad.

    1. Hi Shirley! I laughed at your comment about the rose you dug up. Bet it really was dead! Hope you get a chance to read my Christmas story…I think you’d enjoy it! Warmly, Suzanne
      PS Thanks for forwarding!

  6. Thank you for this opportunity….I try to start writing our Christmas cards by the first of December. I usually end up sending 60 cards or so and years ago I used to write notes in them but it has gotten so time consuming that I now at 84 years young, just jot a short greeting . I love everything Amish. I was born in northeastern Pennsylvania and every time we travel there to visit family, we go to Lancaster County and visit the Amish towns. We just returned two weeks ago from a Notre Dame game in South Bend, Indiana and we rented a car and toured the Amish towns of Ephrata, Middlebury and Shipshewana. I loved Shipshewana….so many Amish buggies and Amish people in town and the Fall flowers and pumpkin displays were absolutely sensational! We ate in an Amish restaurant, Blue Gate, and the food was delicious! The farms were so beautiful with corn still in the fields awaiting harvest and we drove behind of a row of buggies filled with school children who were being picked up from school. The Amish houses are so nicely decorated with lots of beautiful flowers. I have read every Amish book I can get my hands on. They are always written with Christian love and no obscenity which is a rarity anymore. I would love to add this book to my collection.

  7. Very interesting post about roses Suzanne. Since our home was bought new without much landscaping 11 years ago we have no roses from the 1800’s! However, we love roses and my hubby loves the brilliant red ones. We planted two double knock-out rose bushes this past summer and hope to plant some rose trees in 2015.

    I love your books and I am looking forward to reading, Christmas At Rose Hill Farm.

    Judy B

  8. I love Amish fiction reads!
    I can’t wait to read this book. Christmas stories really touch my heart.
    Thank you for the great chance to win this prize.
    Liked & shared with all.

  9. Thank you for sharing information about roses Suzanne. I found it fascinating. Our house came with some rose bushes and I get to enjoy their beauty out my back bedroom window. Amish fiction is my favorite genre to read and I would love to read your Christmas book.

  10. Your books are warm, and great to snuggle up with at night.. The rose story you told is amazing.. It’s surprising how much we don’t know about the things we see everyday.. Hope to be a winner and get this amazing book…God Bless

  11. I absolutely loved reading this post and learning about rose rustlers. I look forward to reading this new book. Thank you for this interview and giveaway.

  12. Shared on facebook and twitter

    I would love to win a signed copy of this book. Loved it. I have a rose bush growing right outside my living room window, each year we cut it back and each year it grows out with beautiful roses on it. Although, this year, it is a bit late in blooming.

  13. Hello! I love Amish books and roses! I have been struggling with my rose bushes for a couple of years now. I have never had roses before. I would love to win this book. Thank you for the opportunity! God bless.

  14. I really enjoy reading holiday themed novels from Thanksgiving through New Year, they are so sentimental and offer us a chance to reflect on the meaning of Christmas, thanks for a chance, I’ll share on Facebook, social media

  15. Thanks for entering everyone and thanks so much for the post Suzanne! We love having you stop by Destination Amish 🙂 The winner of Christmas at Rose Hill Farm is Jennifer Essad. Congratulations!

  16. Your books give me such pleasure! I have my mom’s roses that she planted in the yard. I am so fortunate to have them, as my mother passed away in 1999 on Thanksgiving Day. Thank you for the opportunity to win this book and also for being the awesome author that you are!

  17. The contest may be over as mentioned above, but it was still on face book. Love reading, and would love to win your book for sure. Have others and love them, Read them.

  18. I just LOVE the cover and title of this book. I would love to live at a place called “Rose Hill Farm ” 🙂

  19. I love roses. My husband gets me a new rose bush every year for valentine’s day. Can’t wait to read this book. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  20. What a wonderful story of the lost rose wiating to bloom. I can’t wait to read it and your newest book. I always anxiously await your new books. You are such a feel good happy author, a ray of sunshine. New books, new books ! I love all your stories. Thank you for keep writing them.

  21. I’d love to win. Been a difficult year. I really would love very much to read a good Christmas book by the fire this season. 🙂 God Bless! <3

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