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Song of Solomon 2:1   I am the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valleys.

Although we really don’t know the flower to which Solomon specifically referred, I have always loved the plant we now call “the rose of Sharon.” My parents had a row of them planted in our yard and they grew up along with me! By the time I was in high school they were over eight feet tall and blossomed throughout the summer. Their seeds germinated quite easily and I can still remember my mother complaining about having to pull the baby shoots out.

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When I discovered they would grow on our property in Conway, I was thrilled because they required little care. I bought a single blossom pink one from a nursery and discovered they were actually part of the hibiscus family (Hibiscus syriacus). Then my dad gave us one from his yard, and it was a double white. I treasure both because they remind me of my childhood home and my parents. Imagine my surprise in discovering they are native to east Asia and the national flower of Korea. God has truly blessed us with the beauty of His creation. It may not be a rose but its beauty is undeniable. Makes me think of the Shakespearean quote: “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Some even refer to this flower as the Chinese hibiscus. I prefer “rose of Sharon” because it draws me to the Bible and causes me to thank God for sharing His creation with us. In Genesis 1:29, He gave us every seed-bearing plant. Truly His gifts bloom on and on all around us! Remember to “stop and smell the roses.”