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Welcome to the August 2001 edition of my web site! The roses I write about are the Old Garden Roses and select shrub and miniature roses of the 20th century. For tips on rose culture, pruning, propagation and history, see "Other resources on this site". To return to this page, click on the "thorn icon" in the margin at left. Articles from the previous months are archived and can be viewed by clicking on the listings in the left margin. If you wish to buy roses, see my sponsor, The Uncommon Rose. Thanks!

What's New This Summer, by Paul Barden

"Abraham Darby' seedlingI thought I would write this month about some of the happenings in my garden and greenhouse. I have some new seedlings that have been selected for further study, and have acquired some interesting and rare roses for my collection as well.

The seedlings are always so interesting at this time of the year because they start to give me an idea which ones are going to be good plants, and which ones are going to be runtish and poor. Occasionally, I will have a seedling or two which seem to struggle along in mediocrity during their entire first year, and then suddenly they gain some vigor and make themselves into sturdy plants. For this reason, I rarely throw out any but the very weakest and most disease prone plants in the first season.

Un-named test Moss hybridThis first seedling you see illustrated above is one such plant. Last year it showed only moderate vigor and produced only 2 or 3 blooms, albeit good looking blooms. This year, the plant has exploded into growth and become a fine looking rose, with glossy foliage and many strong canes coming from the base. The blooms are about 3 to 4 inches across on average, opening a strong cantaloupe-orange hue, with a very strong fragrance. I am hoping it will grow into a climber as it matures, as climbers of this color are few. I consider this to be one of the more promising roses to come out of my breeding work in the past 2 seasons. Breeding: 'Abraham Darby' X unknown.

At right: A new Moss Hybrid from Ralph Moore.

As any of my regular readers will know, I am a big fan of the Moss Roses. I am especially fond of Ralph Moore's Moss Hybrids, many of which are Miniature Mosses. Ralph spent decades developing the Miniature Mosses and they are truly a triumph of rose breeding. However, not all of Ralph Moore's efforts have gone towards the creation of Mini Mosses. This year I am testing a new full-sized Moss shrub of his, as yet un-named. (A reminder: please do not contact Ralph Moore to request this rose; it is not yet ready for introduction) I know of no other Moss Shrub that blooms as generously as this new one does, with large clusters of up to 10 or more blooms. This rose opens a soft peachy color, which fades quickly to white with a soft blush center. The mossing is dark brown and is a striking contrast to the white of the petals. There is no fragrance except the balsam scent of the moss itself. I'm not sure how big this shrub will get, but I have been toldit is about 2.5 by 2.5 feet at maturity.

'Grey Pearl'One of the more obscure roses is McGredy's 'Grey Pearl', also known as 'The Mouse', which I have been fortunate to obtain this year. (Illustrated at left) It is almost non-existant in commerce now, likely because of its odd color and somewhat fussy constitution. It is slow to develop into a mature plant and should have its buds removed for at least the first year in order to build up some sturdy wood. My plant is grown on its own roots and is doing well, but apparently it is best grown as a budded rose. As its name suggests, this is a gray rose. The bloom is an odd combination of soft tan and pale mauve wich gives an overall impression of gray. Bloom form is fully double and large, at about 4 inches or more and there is definitely a good fragrance of undefined character, quite befitting this odd rose. It is classed as a Hybrid Tea, and in 1945 when it was introduced, it was considered to be a fore-runner of the "blue" roses. It sired several well known cool mauve hybrids, including 'Lavender Pinocchio'. This rose will NOT be everyone's cup of tea, but I like it. Sam McGredy, who doesn't like this rose, has been quoted as saying "The rose was raised on my nursery and the colour is a cross between slightly used toilet paper and the skin of a dead mouse. As far as my family was concerned the rose was a poor grower and an appalling colour. BUT, Gene Boerner the hybridiser for Jackson & Perkins was ecstatic - here was something new and different. We nicknamed it The Mouse. He came up with the name Grey Pearl and the beautiful US$ that came with it." Sam McGredy

'Robert Leopold'Another Moss Rose I have acquired this year is 'Robert Leopold'. (Pictured at right) Introduced in 1941, this hybrid was created by Buatois, the same man who bred 'Gabriel Noyelle'. It is a similar rose in many respects, only much more double. The salmon blend blooms are quite large at about 4" across, and have a very nice scent. The mossing on the buds is dark in color and also scented. This will get to be a large shrub of 6 X 6 feet at maturity, and repeats modestly after a spectacular spring flush. It is a mystery to me that this rose has remained an obscure item, while the similar yet less complex 'Gabriel Noyelle' is easily obtained. Perhaps with some publicity that will change? It is currently available from Heirloom Roses.

September Morn (below, left) is one of the very rare Hybrid Teas from the turn of the Century. Introduced in 1915, it is a sport of 'Mme. P. Euler'. A brief history from Brent Dickerson's 'Old Rose Adventurer': "Tom Liggett found it years ago in Willow Glen, California, when pruning roses for a lady who said she bought it at Woolworths before 1920 for a nickel (5 cents)! Named after the painting of a nude girl standing at water's edge which became famous when in 1910 it was placed in a New York department store window raising the ire of the then-puritanical. The rose did not receive the attention it should have at the time because the blooms had too much of an old rose look. Today, it is a Hybrid Tea that surpasses the best of the English Roses with its beauty and fragrance." The painting after which 'September Morn' is named can been seen on the web by clicking on the link "September Morn".

'September Morn'This is a fine rose that is most unlike the Hybrid Teas as we know them today, with its large and fully double blooms containing up to 150 petals! There is a powerfully delicious fragrance to the blossoms as well, making this rose well worth a place in any collectors garden. As can be said of many of the early Hybrid Teas, this rose does best in a hot, dry climate. Even the earliest accounts said that California seemed to be the place where it performed its best. It can reach a maximum size of 4 to 6 feet tall, and 4 feet wide, and is nearly continuous in its rebloom. 'September Morn' is best grown as a budded shrub, as it apparently underperforms when grown on its own roots. You should contact Tom Liggett to see about availability, or try Sequoia Nursery which has limited quantities as well.

'Out Of Yesteryear', shown here at right, is a recent Bracteata Hybrid created by Ralph Moore of California. If you grow the climbing Tea 'Sombreuil', then imagine this rose as the shrub version. Actually, there are clear differences between the two rose's styles, but its a reasonable comparison. 'Out Of Yesteryear' is one of Mr. Moore's Hybrid Bracteatas, which is one of the breeding lines he has worked on for many years. The climber 'Pink Powderpuff' is also one of these Bracteata hybrids. They all seem to have large blooms with many MANY pointed petals in common.'Out of Yesteryear'. Click on the image to see a larger version! 'Out of Yesteryear' produces the most exquisite blooms that are not unlike some of the Austin hybrids in form: big deep cups filled with over 100 petals, as you can see here. Blooms are produced in clusters of up to 10 on the ends of the new growths, with laterals breaking freely from below as well. Individual blossoms are up to 4.5 inches across, and fresh blooms have a strong, rich scent on warm days. At other times there is only a slight scent.

Click on the image at right to view a larger picture!

This rose has become one of my best performers this year, with exceptional vigor, nearly constant rebloom, and very good disease resistance. The shrub is a large one, easily reaching 4 by 4 feet and even bigger in warmer climates. I suspect that in California where it was bred, it gets to be a small climber or a very large shrub. I can't sing enough praise for this rose, as I feel it is one of the best shrub roses I have grown so far. Its beauty has to be seen to be appreciated. Those large lemon and cream colored blooms so perfectly filled with quilled petals are a sight to behold. This shrub is available from Sequoia Nursery and The Uncommon Rose.

I have news from Sequoia Nursery that there will be three new Hybrid Bracteatas introduced in 2002, along the same breeding lines as 'Out of Yesteryear'. All will be smallish shrubs, having beed bred from Miniatures X Bracteata hybrids. Average height of the 3 new ones is about 2 to 3 feet tall and the same in width. One is a pure white shrub, one os a orange blend of unusual hue, and the third is a coral-pink blend. If these new Hybrid Bracteatas are anything like 'Out of Yesteryear', I suggest you watch for their introduction....these will be VERY interesting roses to try out!

Click here to continue to part 2 of this article.

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