July 3, 2007


" Rose of Sharon filled three thousand Li of splendid rivers and mountains "
( From the Korean National Anthem )

This past winter was brutal to Hibiscus Syriacus (Rose of Sharon ) and many were lost in Chicagoland gardens. Just walking up and down my neighborhood streets I've spied countless dead Roses of Sharon. Everyone is amazed that this normally hardy, carefree shrub died. I dare say it was the very dry winter, coupled with a late April freeze that did it in, especially on immature ones.

Nevertheless, I'm happy to report that not only did my Rose of Sharon survive, it greeted me with the earliest blooms ever today ! It normally blooms late July or early August. I attribute this to the unusually hot weather, which it loves, in June.

Korea chose the Rose of Sharon as its national flower, in part, because it was in bloom three years after they were liberated from the Japanese on August 15 , 1948. One of the verses of its national anthem is about this beloved flower which has thrived thousands of years since the Silla Dynasty. Like the Korean people, it is very tenacious and will endure despite many hardships.

At the garden center where I work a few days a week I frequently assist Korean customers looking for Rose of Sharon. They are always amazed when I call it by its Korean name " Mugung " , " which means " endless, or immortality. " They really crack up when I sing " Mugung wha, Mugung wha, woo dee nara goat " which translates as " Rose of Sharon , our national flower .. ." What can I say ? Koreans love to sing and so do us Rednecks.

I love Rose of Sharon for it's beautiful flowers and it's very long bloom time from late July to September . When I first moved into my home some four decades ago a very ancient Rose of Sharon graced the garden. It lived for a few more years but it left a lot of children behind. I gave seedlings to all my neighbors and when I look Southward I see all the off- shoots of my old tree . These days there is a "seedless " variety for those who don't wish to pick up its off-spring.


  1. What a lovely blog, Carolyn gail: I stumbled here from Hanna's This Garden is Illegal blog and was smitten. Here's something to amuse you; my Rose of Sharon (Bluebird) is only just NOW starting to stir awake. This is normal for my part of Nova Scotia; the dear things need more heat than most everything else to get them going, and this has been a very cool spring, so they're even slower. It'll catch up with itself in time.
    I love the Garden muse poetry circle idea...I've missed it for this month but would like to sign up for next time. I've added your RSS feed to my list of feeds so I'll keep track from here on in.

    cheers, jodi in Scotts Bay, Nova Scotia.

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Jodi. What zone are you in up there in Nova Scotia ?

    We'd be pleased to have you join the poetry circle. Thanks for adding me to your RSS feed.

  3. I lost my 'Blushing Bride' over the winter, but 'Aphrodite', 'White Chiffon', and 'Bluebird' survived. I heard my mom say that many of her fellow gardeners lost their Roses of Sharon this year, too. :-(

    What a lovely legacy for you to leave. I'm sure it's lovely to look around you and see the offspring of your own beautiful Rose of Sharon!


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