Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Millbrook Rose

Located off Evans Mill Road in Buckingham County, Virginia, is the site of Millbrook Plantation, home of John Wales Eppes, a son-in-law of Thomas Jefferson. Eppes was a graduate of Hampden-Sydney College and active in Virginia politics. After his wife Maria died shortly after the birth of their third child, Eppes moved to Millbrook, his tobacco plantation. The  house at Millbrook was subsequently destroyed by fire, but a graveyard and possibly the foundation of a greenhouse survive.

In the early 1990s, representatives of the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants visited Millbrook. They found a rose bush surviving in the graveyard and carried cuttings back to the Center for study and propagation. The rose is a hybrid Gallica and is called the Millbrook Rose.

About four years ago, while at an antique rose propagation workshop at the Center, a Heart of Virginia Master Gardener who lives on Evans Mill Road was given a small offshoot of the rose. The rose is growing in her garden and seems happy to be home again on Evans Mill Road.

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