'Blairii No. 2' rose References
Website/Catalog (27 Jul 2011)
Rosa ‘Blairii No 2’
Generally considered to be Bourbon rose, it was classified as a Hybrid China by Rivers and Paul and included in this group by Macarthur. A climbing or pillar rose, it has large and distinct rosy, blush flowers and is said to be a reliable repeat flowerer although it never repeat flowers in my garden. To 3.5m. William Paul described it as one of the largest roses and one of the freest growers, often obtaining 10-12 feet in one season. [Paul (1848, 1863, 1888, 1903), Gard Chron. 1847].
Horticultural & Botanical History
An English rose introduced by Blair of Stamford Hill in 1845. Rivers wrote of it: ‘Blairii No. 2, a rose not so much known as it deserves to be, is a very distinct and unique variety, so impatient of the knife, that if pruned at all severely, it will scarcely put forth a flower: it is perhaps better as a pillar rose, than grown in any other mode, as it shoots ten or twelve feet in one season, and its pendulous clusters of flowers which are produced from these long shoots unshortened, have a beautiful effect on a pillar.’ [Rivers (1854, 1857, 1863)].
History at Camden Park
Included in a handwritten list of roses dated 1861, probably intended for a new edition of the catalogue that was never printed. [MP A2943].
Article (newspaper) (Sep 2010) Page(s) 2. Includes photo(s).
Patricia Routley: I first saw Blairii No. 2 in full bloom at the Jessie Calder Heritage Rose Garden in Invercargill in New Zealand in 2000. It was planted just behind a breathtaking marble statue of a mother and children and its great blooms nestled on the mother’s shoulders and garments, framing the whole statue. I can see it still. It was such an old rose that I never had the slightest hope that it would be in Australia. Yet one day in 2007 a friend sent me down cuttings from the plant at Araluen and I managed to strike it. I gave it a good position – sunny, some afternoon shade and the best soil I could provide. All that is required now is another fifty years to be able to get enough of it, for it only flowers in spring. ‘Blairii No. 2’ has been classed as bourbon rose, as well as a hybrid china, and the breeder was Mr. Thomas Blair who was a gardener to one Mr. Clay at Stamford Hill, UK. I wonder whether a mere gardener in 1845 had the temerity to introduce the roses he bred and I suspect it was his employer who named them in an attempt to honour his faithful and clever employee. Mr. Blair bred three roses – all with the same parentage (‘Parks’ Yellow Tea-Scented China’ 1824 x ‘Superb Tuscan’ –1837). ‘Blairii No. 2’ is a vigorous climber. Graham Thomas says 15’ and the rose I saw in Invercargill was about 10‘. Some authors, even the Rev. Dean Hole in 1906, and some gardeners (Yes, I have been guilty) cheekily refer to this rose as old “Bleary Eye”, but there is nothing bleary about it at all. The flowers are large, fully double, pink with deeper centres and edges that go distinctly pale. My memory tells me there are hints of mauve or blue in the pink but I am writing this about nine months since I last saw a bloom. Graham Thomas says “richly veined” and I do have one photo of my rose which shows some veining. The British Flower Garden reported that the petals were “frequently furnished with a white stripe along their middle” and this is a tell-tale characteristic of a china rose. The many flowers seem to nod gently with their own weight and on a background of the perfect, deep blue-green, firm leaves, the whole picture is voluptuous. The leaves are so perfect because the rose was bred long before the dastardly black spot entered the rose scene. The newer shoots are reddish or mahogany in colour and I wonder where this trait come from? Certainly not from a gallica. Rosarians seem to agree that this rose should never be pruned in the normal manner but that only dead wood should be cut out. I haven’t got a gorgeous statue for ‘Blairii No. 2’ to lean on, but have planted ‘Blue Moon Climbing’ right alongside and they are going to have to prop each other up. Just the thought of these two roses makes me long for spring.
Book (2002) Page(s) 26.
Hybrid China. Not rated.
Book (2000) Page(s) 119. Includes photo(s).
‘Blairii No 2’: Hybride de Chine. Ses deux tons de rose font son charme: rose candide sur le pourtour, rose émoustillé au centre, ainsi sont ses grandes coupes rondes et plates, très odorantes, en nid de pétales menus… grand buisson souple, mais contre un mur ou un treillage ses jeunes rameaux acajou peuvent s’étirer jusqu’à 4m50. Ses aiguillons sont redoutables, mais il ne réclame guère de taille… Blair, 1845. RHS Award of Garden Merit: 1993.
Website/Catalog (Jun 1998) Page(s) 55. Includes photo(s).
Book (Sep 1997) Page(s) 54, 106. Includes photo(s).
p. 54 - Produces a wealth of large blooms fairly early in the season. It has a spicy, damask-like fragrance.
p. 106 -One of Warner's one hundred best climbers. No recorded parentage. It is assumed that it is of Bourbon origin. Upright to 12 feet or more. Flowers: in trusses of 3, 4 in across, full, quartered, deep pink, but there is a mauvish-purple centre and the expanded flower shows an attractive and unusual pale, almost white, rim. It has one main flush of bloom with occasional additions throughout the remainder of the season.
Book (1997) Page(s) 371. Includes photo(s).
Blairii No. 2 Climbing Bourbon. Description... very beautiful... Large, flattish blooms, pale pink with deeper shadings towards the centre...
Website/Catalog (1996) Page(s) 39. Includes photo(s).
Book (Nov 1994) Page(s) 132.
(Bourbon) Mr. Blair, of Stamford Hill, raised his Number 1 and Number 2 seedlings in 1845, and both grow at Hidcote Manor, Gloucestershire. A most beautiful climbing rose up to 15 feet … the long, arching shoots bearing elegant mahogany-tinted foliage. Flowers: very large, fully double, retaining the rich pink centre while the outer petals develop a paler tone, the fully-open flower being of rare beauty, richly veined.
Book (Nov 1994) Page(s) 132.
Blairii Number 2 Bourbon. Mr. Blair (UK) 1845. Description... grows at Hidcote Manor, Gloucestershire... very large, fully double, rich pink centre while the outer petals develop a paler tone...