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Catalog Data

Helen Hornberger  Search this
Copper, oil paint
Overall: 13 in. (33 cm)
Stem: 9 in. (22.9 cm)
Flower: 4 in. (10.2 cm)
Artificial flowers and trees
United States
Artist, Helen Hornberger, revived the techniques of French tole to create naturalistic representations of the state flowers. The artist used thin copper sheets as her base, and painted them with oil paint in the natural colors of the blossoms and leaves of The Cherokee Rose (Rosa laevigata). Five ruffled, white petals surround the curled, yellow stamen. The green, jagged sepals curve down below the blossom where the stem meets the flower. Down the stem, three oblong green leaves come from a single point.
Label Text:
The Congress of Representative Women at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago proposed that each U.S. state and territory select a flower to represent their state in the “National Garland of Flowers.” This resulted in the National Floral Emblem Society. Each state has adopted to represent the state and its people based on their importance to the state’s history, economy, folklore, or native varieties. Tole artist Helen Hornberger created each artificial flower representing each state to create for a bouquet displaying America’s floral diversity.
GEORGIA: The Cherokee Rose (Rosa laevigata) was designated the official state floral emblem of Georgia in 1916. The Cherokee Rose was chosen with support of the Georgia Federation of Women’s Clubs, as a favorite in the garden and for its cultural importance. The name “Cherokee Rose” alludes to its history of propagation by the Cherokee Indians and the “Trail of Tears.” According to the legend, as thousands of Native Americans, including the Cherokee, were forced from their lands in Georgia and east of the Mississippi, the women wept, and wherever a tear fell, a Cherokee Rose bloomed. These roses still line their path today. The Cherokee Rose has an excess of both vivid green leaves and thorns. The bloom is waxy white with a large golden center. While this climbing shrub is evergreen, the blossoms are only on the plant for brief periods in late March and early April. Some flower a second time in the fall. The Cherokee Rose is hardy and grows well throughout the state of Georgia. It thrives in many conditions, even standing up to drought. Georgia honors its state flower through numerous events each year including the “Miss Georgia Rose Scholarship Pageant,” the “Cherokee Rose Storyteller Festival,” and the Cherokee Rose scholarship is awarded each year by the state’s garden association. Georgia also has a state wildflower. The Azalea was selected in 1979, and in 2013, the state specified Native Azaleas (Rhododendron sp.) the official wildflower.
copper  Search this
tôle  Search this
Artificial flowers  Search this
crafts  Search this
emblems (symbols)  Search this
flowers (plants)  Search this
Georgia  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian Gardens, Horticultural Artifacts Collection. Gift of Helen Hornberger.
Accession number:
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Horticultural Artifacts Collection
Data Source:
Smithsonian Gardens