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Rosewild  member photo courtesy of member Rosewild
Photo Id: 347383

The occasion for this photograph of me, Don Gers, aka "Rosewild" was a visit to the Petrified Forest (only two miles from my home as the crow flies) to see a fossil oak discovered among the petrified redwood trees. Quercus bockee, named for a previous owner, Ollie Orre Bockee. A species rose was also discovered here in 1888 by the botanist Edward Lee Greene. He named it Rosa sonomensis for our Sonoma County where it was found. A low growing species and shy bloomer, however that June of 2018 I saw a large colony of the rose at the Petrified Forest covered with flowers. That's because 8 months previously the terrible Tubbs Fire passed through the forest as it burned from Calistoga in the Napa Valley to Santa Rosa destroying over 5000 homes.
Rosa sonomensis has a unique adaptation known as "a fire follower" meaning its underground shoots burst into growth after the winter rains fertilized the soil with nutrients from the fire's ashes and abundant sunlight in the spring after the shady forest canopy was burned away.
I've been collecting species roses from around the world since the 1980's. But I also collect oaks, trading acorns, so thus my second reason for visiting the Petrified Forest, to get permission for gathering acorns in the Fall from that ancient Valley Oak (Quercus lobata Nee') 658 years old by Luther Burbank's estimate. So I have an extensive collection of oak trees, too. Hence, our name, "Rose Woods". We also grow palms, pines, other trees and shrubs here at 1600 feet of elevation in the Mayacmas Mtns. Previously this land was occupied by native Americans named "Wappo" who had a village about 5 miles north of us called Maiya'kma. There's still physical evidence of their occupation here for the careful observer. Careful observation, it's the key to identifying oaks and rose species, too.

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