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Historic plant going strong in Butler’s south hills

Rachel and Tim Smith pose beside the historic rose bush outside their home on East Muntz Avenue on Saturday, June 8. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle

A rose bush from Georgia must like its Yankee home, as the massive plant has been thriving at a house in the 200 block of East Muntz Avenue in Butler for more than 80 years.

A caption under a photo taken in 2006 of the prolific rose bush by a Butler Eagle photographer said the owner of the home, who was then Joyce Hall, reported the plant had been blooming each spring for 64 years.

Hall, who estimated 350 blooms at that time, said the bush was brought to Butler from Georgia by her mother.

The property’s current owners, Tim and Rachel Smith, bought the house eight years ago.

“When we looked at the house, (the rose bush) was blooming,” Rachel said. “Actually the yard is one of the features that kind of sold me on it. I adored the yard. It was everything I wanted.”

She said while Hall told her at the closing that the bush had come from Georgia, she has heard from others it was there when the Halls purchased the house many decades ago.

‘It’s massive’

“It’s massive now,” Smith said. “It probably needs to be cut back.”

She said the bush, which burst into bloom as usual in late May and early June, is resting on a large trellis that also appears to be very old.

Smith is afraid to tear out the trellis and replace it for fear of damaging or traumatizing the bush.

She plans to call Butler County Penn State Master Gardeners for help with preserving the plant and may change out the trellis, depending on their advice.

Smith said many birds build nests among the pale pink roses, including a robin that returns annually, cardinals and house finches.

Smith feeds the rose bush in the spring and fall, and uses some of its blooms to make bouquets to give to neighbors or her young daughters’ teachers.

“Last year, one of our best friends got married, so I cut some flowers from it for her wedding shower,” Smith said.

She said while she and her husband try to keep the bush trimmed so its thousands of thorns will not bedevil her daughters while at play, it is huge this year.

“It’s about to engulf our patio because we have not trimmed it,” Smith said.

Rachel Smith looks at the blooming roses on the historic rush bush outside her home on East Muntz Avenue on Saturday, June 8. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Rachel Smith looks at the blooming roses on the historic rush bush outside her home on East Muntz Avenue on Saturday, June 8. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Rachel Smith looks at the blooming roses on the historic rush bush outside her home on East Muntz Avenue on Saturday, June 8. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Rachel Smith looks at the blooming roses on the historic rush bush outside her home on East Muntz Avenue on Saturday, June 8. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Rachel and Tim Smith pose inside the historic rush bush outside their home on East Muntz Avenue on Saturday, June 8. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Rachel and Tim Smith pose inside the historic rush bush outside their home on East Muntz Avenue on Saturday, June 8. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Rachel Smith looks at the blooming roses on the historic rush bush outside her home on East Muntz Avenue on Saturday, June 8. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Rachel Smith stands beside the fairly large historic rush bush outside her home on East Muntz Avenue on Saturday, June 8. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Rachel Smith looks at the blooming roses on the historic rush bush outside her home on E Muntz Avenue on Saturday, June 8. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Rachel Smith looks at the blooming roses on the historic rush bush outside her home on East Muntz Avenue on Saturday, June 8. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Rachel and Tim Smith pose inside the historic rush bush outside their home on East Muntz Avenue on Saturday, June 8. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle

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