The Persian Poet
May 18, 1048
Today is the birthday of the Persian mathematician, astronomer, and poet Omar Khayyam (“Ky-yem”).
In 1859, the British writer Edward FitzGerald translated and published Omar’s signature work, The Rubáiyát (“Rue-By-yat”).
In The Rubáiyát, Omar wrote some beautiful garden verses:
"I sometimes think that never blooms so red
The rose that grows where some once buried Caesar bled
And that every hyacinth the garden grows dropped in her lap from
Some once lovely head."
Today in Iran, tourists can visit the beautiful mausoleum of Omar Khayyam and the surrounding gardens.
And gardeners in zones 4-9 can grow a pretty pink damask rose named Rosa 'Omar Khayyam.' Over on the Missouri Botanical Garden website, they report that,
“'Omar Khayyam' ... is reputed to have grown on the tomb of Omar Khayyam in Persia, [and] was brought to England by William Simpson, an Illustrated London News artist, and in 1893 was planted on the grave of Edward Fitzgerald, who translated the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam into English. According to the Modern Roses 12 database of the American Rose Society, it was registered in 1894. It is a small, dense shrub with grayish-green, downy foliage and numerous prickles. Its clear pink, double flowers are 2 in. wide with a small center eye and 26 to 40 petals. Blooming once per season in late spring to early summer, the flowers are moderately fragrant and in groups of 3 to 4. 'Omar Khayyam' grows 2 to 3 ft. tall and wide.”