HelpMeFind Roses, Clematis and Peonies
Roses, Clematis and Peonies
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Karri Pigeon
(Dec 2011)  Page(s) 2.  Includes photo(s).
 
Patricia Routley: The spring flowering Albertine is one of the aristocrats of the climbers. It was bred in 1921 by one of the Barbier brothers in France from R. wichuraiana x ‘Mrs. Arthur Robert Waddell’, an old 1908 HT. He named his new rose after Marcel Proust’s heroine Albertine Simonet in the novel Remembrance of Times Past. Barbier differed from other breeders of ramblers who used hybrid perpetual on wichuraiana to produce roses like ‘Excelsa’. He used tea, hybrid tea and even pernetiana, but there seems to be little evidence of any black-spot-carrying pernetiana in ‘Albertine’ and it is a very healthy rose. The buds are a sure fire way to identify this one. Each cluster contains about six potential blooms and the first bud to come out will be a pure dark reddish salmon. Early in the season, the others will be a solid green before the sepals part to reveal the dark salmon colour. One by one, they bloom in their own time and join the throng. These buds are ‘Albertine’s signature. Each cluster of flowers is a bouquet studded with the dark salmon buds. The flowers are a light salmon or pastel pink, deeper on the reverse, a rather muddled bloom with about 20 petals & ten petaloids. Later the bloom dies most ungracefully and hangs on to its dead petals. Not in a spreading way, but losing all oomph in the petal and just collapsing to hang like a wet dishcloth in the middle of the pretty cluster. Then it is a really pleasant thing to quickly snap them off with a thumbnail and make the whole bush look beautifully pristine again. You can’t keep that up, of course, but early in the season it is a nice thing to do. The flowers are slightly fragrant. Albertine is a triploid and sets no hips and so it can put all its energy into producing many more blooms than the usual climbers and it makes an unforgettable massed display. Both of its parents have substantial prickles that ‘Albertine’ has inherited on its reddish canes. I am pleased to have both parents in this garden so I can see where it was coming from. One writer in a 1993 book has suggested it makes an ideal weeping standard. For gawsake – in Iceland it might, but here in warm Australia, it is a big grower reaching up to six metres. Pat and Trevor Halliday planted one years ago and Pat adores it. I get the impression Trevor is not too fond of its prickles. This is a massively growing rose in our area and when one or both owners are working, then sometimes you just have to walk past at pruning time. Eventually their rose grew to a size when it was going to smother the house, and Trevor decided enough was enough. He cut the trunk and took part of the fence down, reversed the truck in, tied a rope to both truck and rose, and revved. The debris apparently measured 3m x 3m plus. The rose thought its new haircut was wonderful and has sprung up again to once more grace the Halliday house veranda. Shifting the house is now being considered.
(Apr 2013)  Page(s) 2.  Includes photo(s).
 
Patricia Routley: Just what makes a Heritage Rose has been long debated and I have joined the debate on the subject with one or two articles in my time. The Rose Societies once laid down the law that any rose bred prior to the so-called first HT ‘La France’, 1867 was a Heritage Rose. In 2009 the Heritage Roses group moved the goal posts forward to 1900. Brent C. Dickerson, the wise old man of rose literature, used 1920 as his cut-off date for Heritage Roses. And as for me, I use 1940 as I was born in that year, am feeling my age a bit and any rose older than I, just has to be a Heritage Rose doesn’t it? Back in my collecting days I got to know Mrs. Alice Dadd at Mullalyup. She too had been collecting roses from old properties for a number of years. Alice’s garden was just filled with old roses and she gave me cuttings of an unknown but beautiful old red hybrid tea, and the 1915 climber ‘Cupid’. As they were planning to move to Dwellingup, she also gave me her bushes of ‘Alain Blanchard’ 1839, ‘William Lobb’ 1855, and one more unknown oldie, all of which were dug up there and then. The lack of water and an appalling rabbit problem were the impetus for the move, but she had a forest of roses in large pots to take, which would have eased the heartstrings. Alice had collected a rose from a property near Nannup, gave it a temporary study name of “Rose Teresa” and got it to her local nursery Mostly Roses where its beauty was recognised. It was propagated for sale under the name of “Cottage Apricot”. Eunice Macdougall, who owned the nursery then, put the foundlings in a special “un-named roses” part of her catalogue and I wish I had bought more of them. I really loved the look of “Rose Teresa” and bought my plant on R. fortuniana rootstock in 1999. It did well for a few years and when the delegates from the Busselton Heritage Rose Conference visited here in 2005, David Ruston recognised “Rose Teresa” as being the 1940 HT Apricot Queen. What a joy to put a name on a rose! ‘Apricot Queen’ was bred by Fred Howard of Howard & Smith in California in 1940 from two 1933 roses ‘Mrs. J. D. Eisele’ x ‘Glowing Sunset’ and it later won an All America Rose Selection award. The slim buds unfurl to large, ruffled delightful blooms of 45 petals in an apricot-salmon-pink colour. The rose is a bit stingy with its blooms but starts producing the goods in the heat of summer and in autumn. It has a fairly distinctive blue-ish cast to the matte leaves and the big prickles are wide-based and fairly straight. My bush is about 1m high. ‘Apricot Queen’ and I are both the same age but it is not growing so well these days. I make these wild promises to each rose that I will look after them more. But the fact of the matter is, these days I am trying to look after myself a little more instead.
(Dec 2014)  Page(s) 2.  Includes photo(s).
 
Patricia Routley: There is a small China rose in my garden named after Archduke Charles of Austria who lived from 1771 to 1847. The rose name is often simplified as ‘Archduke Charles’ but the correct spelling of the rose, I understand, is Archiduc Charles. (This funny name once lead my wandering mind to a “hybrid vigour” (Rouen?) drake that Jan Joddrell gave us. His colouring is magnificent, very Archduke-like, and I named him irreverently, Archy Duck, unfortunately changing his sex in the naming). A few China roses arrived in England between 1766 and 1789 and for the first time, gardeners had roses that repeated their blooming all summer. One of the four so-called stud Chinas was ‘Parsons’ Pink China’ and Jean Laffay at Auteuil, France looked closely at his plant and realized that part of his plant had darker blooms with a few more petals. He introduced this darker rose under the name of ‘Archiduc Charles’ in 1825. (Recent genetic studies confirm that this rose is a sport of ‘Parson’s Pink China’ and genetically identical.) ‘Archiduc Charles’ was among the first China roses to be sold in Europe and Laffay went on to introduce 14 chinas in his first ten years. (I am astounded to look at my garden records and realize I am growing another 10, perhaps 12 roses from him. ‘?Celine’ 1824; ‘Le Vesuve’ 1825; ‘Amadis’ 1829; ‘Fabvier’ 1829; ‘Camellia Rose’ 1830; ‘Quatre Saisons Blanc Mousseux’ 1831; ‘Laure Davoust’ 1834; ’?Great Western’ 1838; ‘La Reine’ 1842; ‘Nuits d’Young’ 1845; ‘Cardinal de Richelieu’ 1847; and ‘Henri Martin’ 1862.) A China rose is a neat and tidy bush with shiny, small and dainty, pointed foliage on a twiggy and bushy plant that has smooth bark. ‘Archiduc Charles’ is no exception and it has dark green foliage. The main canes are straight and nearly upright and there are a few broad-based thorns. The receptacle is smooth and oval in shape. Below the smoothness is a pedicel with small glandular bristles. The blooms of China roses usually darken in colour with age. ‘Archiduc Charles’ can show the same pink of the parent in the centre and be surrounded by dark plum-coloured outer petals. They usually occur in clusters and the cupped blooms are richly coloured, 4cm wide and each bloom can change from pink to deep pink or crimson. The bush can look multi-coloured and studded with blooms. Henry Curtis, whose 1850 illustration is reproduced here, recommended it not be grown on its own roots for fear of suckering. Something has gone wrong because in the 15 years I have been growing ‘Archiduc Charles’, I have lost one plant and the other two are not all that vigorous. The bush in deep loam gets dieback but the one in sunny gravel does better. My cuttings came from the Pinjarra Heritage Rose Garden in 1999. A China rose is really not suited to our heavy cold soil, but if I didn’t grow it, I wouldn’t know it. I just wait for the long hot days of summer when Archy Duck flops in the shade from heat and ‘Archiduc Charles’ revels in the high temperatures.
 
(Apr 2011)  Page(s) 2.  Includes photo(s).
 
Patricia Routley: We held a Heritage Roses in Australia cutting day at our property in May, 2003 and members came from everywhere, bringing and exchanging cuttings of old roses. Judy Leahy from Mt. Barker brought me cuttings of a wichurana rambler she called ‘Leontine Gervais’, 1903. Many of them struck and later, when Alison Duffy organized a fete on December 15, I was able to donate a pot of ‘Leontine Gervais’. Glenda Maloney bought that one and planted it at the back of the Bibbulmun Break Motel. Years later, my research revealed that the real ‘Leontine Gervais’ has only a 5cm or two inch size bloom. Our rose is probably double that size and so I am pretty sure that ‘Leontine Gervais’ is not its correct name. As my rose grew and started to bloom, it became obvious that it was the same rose as another one I got earlier in 2000 as a cutting from The Cidery in Bridgetown. There it was named “Brownlow Hill Rambler” and The Cidery had bought all their roses from Melville’s Nursery near Perth. Back to the books again which tell me that the rose had been found at the historic property of Brownlow Hill at Camden, NSW. For a while it hit the market as the “Brownlow Hill Rambler” but after the Brownlow Hill people objected to Honeysuckle Cottage nursery using their name, the nursery sold it under the name of ‘Mme. Alice Garnier’ 1906. However, as ‘Mme. Alice Garnier’ is also a small bloom, neatly quilled and apparently a pure baby pink, I don’t think our rose is ‘Mme. Alice Garnier either. For the moment, the best bet seems to be Auguste Gervais bred by Barbier in France in 1916. This was said to be a semi-double of varying copper-pink to yellow with a bloom size of 10-12cm or 4.5 inches. That fits. The only fly in the ointment is that ‘Auguste Gervais’ is said to fade to creamy white and I don’t think ours does. Anyway, the Maloney’s rose now tumbles over the back fence into the laneway and flowers magnificently for many weeks each spring. The great rambling red canes suddenly grow for metres while your back is turned and if the canes touch the ground, like all the shiny-leaved wichurana roses, it will take root. You do have to watch out for this and it is best to make it go up something so that it can cascade out. I lift the obedient canes up with a broom to where I want them to go. It is prickly. There seems a lot of negatives in this description but in spring it really is magnificent and people are desperate to have this rose and can be seen scrabbling around in the dirt here, seeking a wayward rootling. Pruning the wichurana roses consists of donning protective gear once every five years and wading in to remove the older and thicker canes right at the base of the plant. A service lane is the ideal place to be beautified by these rampant wichurana roses that never need watering and they can turn ugly fences into a colourful and lush place, just lavish with bloom and beauty.
(Dec 2012)  Page(s) 2.  Includes photo(s).
 
Patricia Routley:.....The second connection is a 1909 Wichuraiana rambling rose in my garden called Aviateur Blériot. This rose was bred by a French man Laurent Fauque, and named after Louis Blériot who was the first man to fly over the English Channel on July 25, 1909 and so claimed Lord Northcliffe’s 1,000 pound prize. Just how this rose took the flight to my garden is worthy of telling. Sometime in the eighties a Heritage Roses in Australia member Ruth Hoskins (Let us call her owner No 2) found an unknown rose at the property of a close friend of her husband, Dick Taylor (No. 1) at Dwellingup and gave it a study name of “Dick’s Apricot Rambler”. (In Botanica’s Roses, the name has been altered slightly to “Old Dick’s Apricot Rambler”.) Neither Dick nor Ruth knew the rose but Dick thought it may have come from Dawson’s of Perth who replaced all the roses for his wife after the 1960-1961 fires. However not one of my ten Dawson catalogues carried this rose. Ruth then shared the cuttings with a South Australian lady, June Morley (No. 3) whose husband was the director of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. From there the rose travelled to Walter Duncan (No. 4) who owned a S.A. nursery. My dear friend, Pat Toolan (No. 5) purchased this rose from Walter, and in 2001 she sent it back to W.A. to my garden – and so I am owner No 6. Obviously with a 1909 rose, it did a lot more travelling before it got to Mrs. Taylor, but I find it interesting to trace the roses back as far as I can. ‘Aviateur Blériot’ has the glossy wichuraiana foliage and those long slender sprawling reddish canes. Fauque bred it in 1909 from R wichuraiana x ‘William Allen Richardson’, an 1875 noisette. The buds are a light orange and blooms open to apricot. They are smallish, 5cm, and have pretty petaloids waving about in the middle and rather wide-spreading stamens so the bloom looks utterly decorated with stamens and petaloids. This prettiness is framed by the wide outer petals and the whole apricot picture fades to white and then to brown – at which point one finds some other rose to visit and stare at on the daily walk. Today, November 15, (which I have always maintained was the peak rose-flowering day of the year – and where the bloody hell were you?) the rose looks simply superb. I have never pruned it and it wends its own blithe way through a yellow broom bush and mixes with the creamy yellow ‘Milkmaid’. Two years ago a photo shows the broom towering over the rose. Today, the rose is winning. The exuberance and health is breathtaking. It is like standing under a waterfall and living life to the utmost, drinking in the blooms against the blue, blue sky.
 
(May 2014)  Page(s) 2.  Includes photo(s).
 
Patricia Routley: I find the Baby Faurax rose so interesting. The colour, guessing its parentage, the name, and the height - everything is interesting. Léonard Lille had a seed firm in Lyon, selling Lawrenceana and Polyantha strains of seeds. He bred 15 plants between 1850 and 1937 and ‘Baby Faurax’ was his second last rose in 1924. In its time, the colour was the nearest approach to a blue colour and it was variously described as amethyst, steel blue, violet, lavender, mauve and slate. (Any of those colours would do, depending on the weather or how much iron you had in your soil). There is also some white in the center and the yellow stamens are visible. The parentage has never been known but prior to its arrival, there were multiflora ramblers around in somewhat the same shades: ‘Veilchenblau’ 1909, ‘Amethyst’ 1911 and ‘Violette’ 1921. It was speculated that ‘Baby Faurax’ was a dwarf version of one of these. But Lille had had a prior run at a blue-ish rose in 1898 with his pink violet polyantha ‘Gypsy’. Apparently the name ‘Baby Faurax’ was given in honour of a Belgian nursery and other breeders later honoured the Faurax name with a 1933 HT ‘Mme. Faurax-Lille’ [that’s interesting], ‘Elizabeth Faurax’ in 1937, and ‘Louis Faurax’ in 1941. People never knew how to pronounce the name, (I gather it is Foro), and the spelling has been mangled into Fourax and even Farex. This last one was understandable as there is a cereal for babies called Farex. Noelene Drage gave me the cuttings in 2000 and I have always been grateful. ‘Baby Faurax’ grows to a maximum of 60 cm high and wide and it is said to be slightly fragrant, but because of its height, I’ll take their word for it. Obviously the height suggests ‘Baby Faurax’ be used as an edging plant. I have two in different garden beds and they are so low, I almost have to search for them. So I grow it in a pot as well and there it reaches its full potential of 30cm for me. The flowers are 2.5cm wide, semi-double, and they come in clusters. The bush is dense and compact. Jack Harkness used the words “stumpy and rather ugly” and those words are apt. The foliage is dull and dark green and yes, it does get black spot. The rose is not classed as a miniature, but as a Polyantha rose. If you do prune, the bush repeats its bloom and the bush sets small light red hips quite freely if not deadheaded. Jack Harkness was the first to breed with it in 1967 producing the lovely mauve ‘Escapade, and a white ’Little Lady’ from ‘Baby Faurax’. I once grew some ‘Baby Faurax’ seeds to see if the offspring would give a clue as to its parentage, but they all turned out to be quite different to each other, so I am still in the dark. Four of the seedlings are quite beautiful small shrubs, if a little unhealthy. I thought I would grow another batch of ‘Baby Faurax’ seeds, just for interest, but the parrots had other ideas.
 
(Jun 2013)  Page(s) 2.  Includes photo(s).
 
Patricia Routley: Last month I told you about ‘Gloire des Rosomanes’ 1825. This month we will take a look at its child Bardou Job. That sounds a really odd name but this 1887 rose was named after the company founded by Joseph Bardou in Perpignan, France in 1839. The “JOB” in the name is really Bardou’s initial separated by a diamond that became the trademark, and watermark, of the rice paper that the company still produces for rolling cigarettes. (Mind cut to sneaking over to the machinery shed where I had a cache of tobacco and papers when we were giving up smoking years ago. Was no use sneaking. The smell of tobacco would always give me away to the tobacco-deprived better half). ‘Gloire des Rosomanes’ 1825 was a loose and floppy rose. Its offspring, ‘Bardou Job’ produced 62 years later, is neater and more elegant. Despite being only semi-double, it is a rich rose. The colour is crimson, shaded on the upper half of the petal by velvety black. At the base of the petals is a fair ring of white that acts to show off the colour of the sexual parts – the stamen filaments are a deep, dark red and the anthers are pure gold. It is a glorious rose to peer into closely and it makes the air sweet with perfume. Despite the new red growth that can indicate tea blood, it does not bloom in winter like the teas do. The leaves are dark green and are mildew proof. Alister Clark was impressed with its beautiful foliage and in 1929 he was pleading for gardeners to grow ‘Bardou Job’ so it would not be lost. He grew it underplanted with alpine strawberries. I think that sounds so attractive but if I copied this idea here, the birds would come to feed on the strawberries, the snakes would come to feed on the birds, and I would get the creeps and I need to work around the roses in safety. It is interesting to grow the grandparent: ‘Gloire des Rosomanes’ (Bourbon) 1825 (unknown x unknown) and the parent: ‘Bardou Job’ (Bourbon) 1887 (Gloire des Rosomanes (B) 1825 x General Jacqueminot (HP) 1853) and the child: ‘Black Boy’ (Cl.HT) (Etoile de France HT 1904 x Bardou Job (B) 1887). All three roses are small climbers. During my trip to California in 2005, I noted a foundling from Alcatraz that they thought was ‘Bardou Job’. To my eyes, their foundling seemed to be ‘Black Boy’ when its petals curve inwards as though shielding its private parts. ‘Bardou Job’ does that to some extent, but perhaps is not quite so shy. It certainly has smaller and fewer thorns than its parent or child. My plant came as a cutting in 2006 via Margaret Furness in South Australia from a rose that Pat Toolan had found in Mrs. Howie’s garden. I simply love the way these old roses travel and as long as they keep travelling, they are going to be OK. Mrs. Howie had kept the name of her plant all the years and couldn’t understand why ‘Bardou Job’ had fallen off the market. When a rose is perfumed, I can’t understand it either.
(Apr 2014)  Page(s) 2.  Includes photo(s).
 
Patricia Routley: In 1996 I had just joined Heritage Roses in Australia and their quarterly journal urged us to save old roses. I took it all on board and went searching. In those days if I saw a bit of colour in an old garden, I would just go and knock on the door. Every gardener wants to talk about their plants and I made many friends this way and gathered in many old roses. One gardener I met was Mrs. Beryl Turner in Pemberton who had a few rambling roses on her front fence which were enticing. That day she shared many plants with me and I have a vivid memory of that kind lady pulling up a sucker of the prickly rugosa rose ‘Scabrosa’ with her bare hands and wincing in the process. Another cutting she gave me was a white miniature rose that her sister had passed on to her years ago. All the cuttings struck and I put five plants in a tiny bed by the orchard gate and surrounded them with prostrate rosemary. Not knowing what it was, I gave it the temporary study name of “Beryl Turner’s Tiny White”. This sweet little rose blooms in panicles, each stem branching out and bearing three or more buds. It sometimes seems that each flowering cane carries up to 50 one-inch tiny blooms and it would make a superb spring bride’s bouquet. The 30 petalled blooms show a few tiny stamens just visible in the center and the petals almost seem to be square-cut around the outside edge. The buds are snowy white, perhaps with a hint of lemon in the white – I have never seen any pink in them. The green upright canes are smooth but there are infrastipular thorns. In time, each of my bushes has made a dense thicket of green canes about 70 cm high and they set many oval hips that mature to orange. The leaves are multiflora-like with fimbriated stipules. I have seen this little white rose growing elsewhere in Western Australia under the name ‘Anna Marie de Montravel’, 1879. Phillip Robinson, visiting here from the U.S. in 2006 thought that it was perhaps not that rose. To him, it seemed the same as an American foundling “Lindee” or maybe ‘Snowflake’ 1900. I have discounted this last rose as ‘Snowflake’ had pink buds and was very low growing (7 inches was quoted) in a 1900 reference.
There are two white polyantha roses that it may be:
‘Pacquerette’ 1872, which was the first polyantha rose to be bred. This bloom was said to be 1 inch (25mm), which matches, but in an old 1889 illustration there were some pretty fearsome prickles, quite foliated sepals and an imbricated bloom that seems to have more petals as well. Or possibly ‘Anne Marie de Montravel’ 1879, but this irregularly formed bloom size was supposed to be 1½ inches (38mm) and that is a little large for my rose. Because these two were such old roses, I don’t think I will ever find an answer as to which one “Beryl Turner’s Tiny White” really is, but I lean towards ‘Pacquerette’.
(Mar 2014)  Page(s) 2.  Includes photo(s).
 
Patricia Routley: Bishop Darlington I love. (Not that old bloke of course - got another old bloke I am rather smitten with). This is a 1926 rose named by the breeder, Captain George C. Thomas, after his friend James Henry Darlington, an American Bishop who lived from 1856 to 1930. The seed parent was ‘Aviateur Bleriot’, 1910 (a rambler) and the pollen parent was ‘Moonlight’ 1913 (a hybrid musk). I have all three roses (mother, father and child) in my garden and one would think there would be some family resemblance, but there is only a slight hint of ‘Moonlight’ shining through. In a 1927 reference Captain Thomas said of ‘Bishop Darlington’ “Hardy in Pennsylvania 1917-19”, and so I presume he got to work on ‘Moonlight’ fairly quickly and that ‘Bishop Darlington’ had been bred by 1917. It was not registered until 1926 and it was introduced in the U.S. in 1928 when it was described as a climbing hybrid tea as well as a pillar rose. Modern Roses 1 in 1930, probably picking up from the seed parent, and possibly without ever seeing the plant itself, called it a hybrid wichuraiana. G. A. Stevens in 1933 went with the pollen parent and linked it with the hybrid musks. By 1940 Modern Roses II decided to call it a semi-climber, but by 1974 the lure of the musk classification stuck and it seemed to remain a hybrid musk in the literature from then on. Lately modern shrub has cropped up once or twice. For me it grows mostly like a semi-climber, or a tall and narrow hybrid tea and grows 120 to 200 cm here. I always have to go and say hello when I see the blooms waving around at me from the top of the bush. It certainly looks quite different from other hybrid musk roses here. The bush is sturdy and strong and stands quite upright on some very bare legs. It really does need a companion daisy or something planted in front of it. This 1926 rose is still quite freely available from nurseries. ‘Bishop Darlington’ came as a cutting from the Pinjarra Heritage Rose Garden in 1999 and it has been one of the healthier roses I got from there. It is said to tolerate poor soils and it grows so well from cuttings that I’ve recently struck and planted out another two bushes in different garden beds. The large 10cm flowers come singly and in small clusters on a long stem. They have a look of fragile loveliness with just 15 petals. The blooms are blush and pale cream with pink tinting and a yellow glow lights up the centre. They are decorated by some pretty curling petaloids as well and these have an apricot reverse that shows up nicely against the cream petals. Charles Quest-Ritson wrote in his 2003 book: “But one or two small petals towards the centre of the flower usually fold themselves over and obscure the fine, long stamens – a trait that spoils its beauty”. I find those little curling petals utterly charming as though it is shielding its private parts from the inquisitive gaze. Interesting perceptions from both sexes there.
(Feb 2011)  Page(s) 2.  Includes photo(s).
 
Patricia Routley: Natalee Kuser who had the beautiful ‘Aunt Myrtle’s Garden’ nursery in Bridgetown, used to travel with one eye on the road and the other on the roadside and in 2000 she spotted two very old bushes at the front of the Blackwood Inn at Mullalyup. They were almost in a creek bed, in dire straits from the predations of some mature poplar trees and I later took cuttings that grew. The Blackwood Inn was just 2ks from the old Hawter’s Nursery site and their 1909 and 1932 catalogues had carried a whole exotica of old roses, so the discovery of these roses was all very exciting. I gave the roses the study names of “Blackwood Inn East” (which later turned out to be the tea ‘Safrano’, 1839) and “Blackwood Inn West” and this seems to be similar to the tea rose ‘Catherine Mermet’ 1869, although perhaps not the same. It takes years to identify these old roses, but I was helped by the fact that I already had a named ‘Safrano’ from the Pinjarra Heritage Rose Garden. The “Blackwood Inn West” rose still puzzles me. To me, the bush actually looks like a hybrid tea rose, and not a tea. The rose in commerce as the tea ‘Catherine Mermet’ is a weak little thing, but an almost identical flower to the "Blackwood Inn West” rose. I actually bought a ‘Catherine Mermet’ so I could compare the two and there doesn’t seem to be too much yellow in the base as there is apparently in ‘Catherine Mermet”. Down below on its green canes, it has a respectable array of large thorns. Every upright flower that nods later with weight and maturity, sets a hip. In 1885 ‘Catherine Mermet’ had sported to a paler pink tea rose called ‘The Bride’ and I have this rose as well - a cutting from Rose Marsh in 1999 - and it too is a weak little thing, extremely frilly and a flower to die for and to long to be a bride again. Unfortunately for me it flowers about as often as a girl gets married. There was another sport, ‘Bridesmaid’ 1893 which perhaps should not be discounted, but was said to be a deeper, clear pink rose. Sometimes I have stopped in front of my foundling “Blackwood Inn West” rose and the delicate beauty of this pale pink or blush rose simply takes my breath away. It strikes easily and I sent cuttings up to Perth and over east and the plant now in David Ruston’s garden at Renmark loves it there and is utterly beautiful, but so far, I hear, seems a slightly different colour to ‘Catherine Mermet. I feel this “Blackwood Inn West” foundling rose carries a lot of history in its baggage. Its bed mate, ‘Safrano’ was bred in 1839; the Blackwood Inn was built in 1860; and Hawter took up land in 1895 and fenced his new nursery in 1899. From Hawter’s 1909 catalogue there are seven possibilities, but apart from ‘Catherine Mermet’, I am not getting any closer to what it could possibly be.
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