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"Grandmother's Hat" rose Reviews & Comments
Discussion id : 11-571
most recent 11 APR 11 SHOW ALL
Initial post 15 MAR 06 by Rupert, Kim L.
I began volunteering at The Huntington Library in 1983. Shortly after beginning my adventure there, I became aware of an excellent "found" rose in the Study Plot, where the unknown, unidentified, Old Rose, Species and "other" roses were grown. This rose was quite impressive. Most canes were nearly thornless. She grew head high with small clusters of large, very full, intensely fragrant pink blooms at the ends of nearly every cane. The foliage was always quite clean and the new growth tips and peduncles were scented of cedar. Every time I visited the plant, she was simply gorgeous.

The plant was identified by a study name, "Grandmother's Hat" and was attributed to Barbara Worl, a wonderful lady who has worked for Bell's Bookstore in Palo Alto, California for the past half century. The story I was told was she'd "discovered" the rose growing on its own and decided that since the color was like that of silk flowers usually worn by "little old ladies" on their straw hats, she'd call it "Grandmother's Hat". It seemed appropriate.

For many years, we made sure to propagate the plant to include in every rose sale the volunteer group participated in for the institution. Grandmother's Hat was always popular, particularly when the prospective grower was told the story behind the rose.

I brought home one of the own root plants for my own garden and have been thoroughly pleased with its performance for the past twenty-three years. That own root plant spent the majority of her life sandwiched between other Old Garden Roses, throwing herself into the other bushes and blooming through them. Over the years, I think I pruned her two or three times, and she has been satisfied with either being hard pruned or left to her own devices.

A few years later, I was given a budded plant of the rose. My garden is on the side of a hill. I had created an uphill path to the upper beds, but didn't want it to go up hill in a straight line, so I off set them to create interest. I'd lined the uphill paths with redwood logs so they'd resemble Asian bridges. It did look as though there were three bridges leading uphill through the roses. At the top, I attempted to recreate the famous photograph of Constance Spry at Mottisfont Abbey. I planted the budded rose at the top of the upper bed, at the end of the last "bridge". Under the rose, I set a white plastic bench as it not only fit my budget, but would be less of a loss if stolen.

That plant quickly grew to about seven feet tall, and spread nearly ten feet. She provided the only shade in that area of the garden, so you could literally sit under her on the bench and be surrounded by brilliant sunshine. Her fragrance carried well when the weather was right, and she literally had MANY flowers on the plant any time you cared to look. I only pruned Grandmother's Hat to prevent her from encroaching on her neighbors, as Grandmother's Hat could easily shade everything else around her. The plant stood at the top of that hill for well over a decade, providing a wall of lovely, mauvy pink, filling the area with her sweet fragrance. I'm sure there had to be some disease from time to time, but it was never sufficient to make me aware of it. The plant received little chemical fertilizer, an occasional mulching of horse manure, and was only watered over head. She was a completely satisfying landscape shrub, and a truly amazing rose.

I've also grown her as a canned, commercial rose on the Pacific Ocean in Southern California and found her to be highly disease resistant in both climates. Grandmother's Hat has proven herself to be very shade tolerant, both in the mid desert as well as on the coast, though there are more flowers in greater levels of direct sun. I've seen her used as a pillar rose on an obelisk as well as trellised and grown on an arch. My favorite is still as a free standing shrub, where she will bloom literally year round in Southern California. I don't know how arctic hardy to expect her to be, so I can't provide any advice about that, but Grandmother's Hat laughs at hundred degree heat in full sun with moderate to high winds, as well as night temperatures which have dipped to the mid twenties. This is truly one amazing rose.

In March of 2005, I had the pleasure and honor of acknowledging Grandmother's Hat's excellence as a garden and landscape rose as well as thanking Barbara Worl for her keen eye and persistence in bringing the rose to popular attention. Having Barbara there to hear my thanks and receive the public applause made the event all the more fun.

I hope by posting this information here, someone may recognize her and be able to offer assistance in recovering her rightful name. It would be wonderful to give credit where credit is due.
Reply #1 of 9 posted 15 MAR 06 by Jeri Jennings
My experience with "Grandmother's Hat" is lengthy (tho not as lengthy as Kim's). We received this rose from Bob Edberg (of the old Limberlost Nursery in the San Fernando Valley, SoCalif) sometime in the early 1990's. It quickly became of our favorite roses. Finding that it was easily propagated, my husband has proceded to fill every un-tenanted spot in the garden with "his" continuous-blooming, fragrant rose. :-)

We are located in a normally cool, humid, often foggy area in South-Coastal Ventura County. Rust and powdery mildew are our chief disease problems, and they are substantial problems here. Blackspot is very, very rare. In our area, "Grandmother's Hat" is pretty much immune to mildew and rust, and is so carefree here that it should be used to landscape gas stations. It is my number-one recommendation for any California rose garden. It is even willing to grow and bloom in shade -- something few roses will do in this area, where every sunny hour is treasured.

This wonderful Western rose has been sold as 'Mrs. R.G. Sharman-Crawford,' as 'Cornet,' AND as "Barbara Worl." Another synonym is "Altadena Drive Pink HP." Under any name, It's fragrant. It's good in a vase. When we were able to show it at ARS rose shows, it was a constant trophy winner. It can be enjoyed as a fountaining shrub, an espaliered low climber, or a more modest, pruned shrub form.

Blush sports 'Larry Daniels' and 'Tina Marie' are in commerce. This most protean rose color sports easily, and changes shades at different times of the year.

Jeri Jennings, Coastal Ventura, Southern California
Reply #2 of 9 posted 15 MAR 06 by Rupert, Kim L.
Thank you, Jeri, for including your experiences with Grandmother's Hat. It's truly a great rose and by adding information such as this to all rose pages, a very useful database can be created here. Kim
Reply #3 of 9 posted 13 AUG 09 by Petsitterbarb
As a "newbie" of sorts, I've just discovered you, Kim. I'm very, very impressed with what you are accomplishing with your breeding program. I already have "Lauren" on order for Spring 2010, and am researching further for other roses that will be must haves.
I have been truly drawn in by "Barbara Worl, aka Grandmother's Hat", and it's not because I am both a Barbara and a grandmother! She seems to have every single thing that I'm seeking, with the exception of her tendency, according to others, to blackspot.
I am wondering if you have done any crosses involving this rose and, if so, what the outcome was. Thanks for your talents...keep up your good work!
Reply #4 of 9 posted 13 AUG 09 by HMF Admin
Please also be aware Kim has generously contributed many of his writings to HelpMeFind. You'll find his talent and expertise in the garden is matched by his eloquence with the pen - enjoy.
Reply #6 of 9 posted 13 AUG 09 by Rupert, Kim L.
Thank you! Kim
Reply #5 of 9 posted 13 AUG 09 by Rupert, Kim L.
Hi Barbara, thank you! Kim
Reply #7 of 9 posted 17 JAN 10 by Rupert, Kim L.
Hi Barbara, I have seedlings germinating now from Torch of Liberty X Grandmother's Hat (Barbara Worl) and Pupurea X Barbara Worl. The former is an orange mini from Ralph Moore which is the seed parent of my Lynnie. The latter is a purple-red China rose. I'll keep this thread open as to the results! Kim
Reply #8 of 9 posted 10 APR 11 by Hardy
Purpurea = r. indica purpurea hort.?

That sounds like an absolutely fascinating cross! Any updates?
Reply #9 of 9 posted 11 APR 11 by Rupert, Kim L.
Hi Barbara, Well, the first seedlings of Torch of Liberty X Grandmother's Hat have flowered. One resembles her very much, only on a more dwarf plant. The flowers aren't quite as double, but are nearly the exact color she exhibits much of the time. It's only flowered once, and I didn't notice any fragrance from it, but the weather wasn't really conducive for smelling things. The second has a much smaller flower, much more double in a much darker pink with some fragrance. Unfortunately, nearly everything on the hill has some fungus to complain of, so I can't be fair about their disease resistance. I have three Grandmother's Hat bushes. There is one in a nursery can right where the seedlings are and the old foliage on the GH, hidden by other plants, has black spot. The other two plants have much better air circulaiton and neither has any spotting. I pray the weather is going to be more "normal" this year so I can determine what of the newer seedlings will be appropriate here.

Nothing came of the Purpurea seedlings from last year, so I reproduced the cross in hopes of generating something of merit. It's being a slow germination year, so I'm not sure what to expect. I will keep you posted!

DO go for Grandmother's Hat! Even if you have to put up with a little spotting some of the year, she is such a wonderful rose the small inconvenience of some spotting is WELL worth it! Kim
Discussion id : 50-024
most recent 27 NOV 10 HIDE POSTS
Initial post 27 NOV 10 by paul_zone5ct
The description says hardy zone 2b thru 2b. Isn't that the North Pole???
Reply #1 of 1 posted 27 NOV 10 by jedmar
LOL. Thank you for spotting this error.
Discussion id : 44-131
most recent 23 APR 10 HIDE POSTS
Initial post 23 APR 10 by kev
molly sharman crawford is a white tea rose.this rose is neither a tea or white so should be restricted from useing a name which belongs to another extant old rose.
Discussion id : 18-893
most recent 18 MAY 07 HIDE POSTS
Initial post 18 MAY 07 by Wendy C.
I purchased this rose in memory of my Grandmother. A fiesty woman who I admired very much.
Grandmother's Hat is extremely vigorous, winter hardy to its core and never ceases to please with lovely, fragrant blooms. This is a good starter rose for anyone in a winter zone.
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