HelpMeFind Roses, Clematis and Peonies
Roses, Clematis and Peonies
and everything gardening related.
most recent 27 APR 10 SHOW ALL
Initial post 23 APR 10 by quokka70
I have a rose in my garden that I would like to identify. It was in the garden when we moved into the house. The plant is about 5 ft tall and 4 ft wide, and it is dense and bushy. We get no rain between April and November but the plant stays lush and green, with many flowers. It is evergreen in the mild local climate (San Francisco, Z9b or 10).

The flowers are about 2" across and the hips are about the size of a pea.

Does anyone have any suggestions?
Reply #1 of 11 posted 26 APR 10 by billy teabag
What is the blooming cycle of this rose?
Reply #2 of 11 posted 26 APR 10 by quokka70
Hi Billy,

The rose starts blooming at this time of year (late April) and will be in flower continually until November (if the last few years are any guide).

I wouldn't say that it is ever covered in blooms, but it flowers constantly until winter.

Reply #3 of 11 posted 26 APR 10 by billy teabag
Are there any clues re the age of the plant?
Reply #4 of 11 posted 26 APR 10 by quokka70
We moved into the house three years ago and the plant was already well established. I think it has deep roots, as it stays green and glossy all year but gets no rain or water from May to November and we have fast-draining, sandy soil.

Beyond that, I don't have much idea of its age. Are there other signs I can look for? The plant is very dense and shrubby: I've never really pruned it.
Reply #5 of 11 posted 26 APR 10 by billy teabag
Hi Rory
I wish there was a reliable way to tell the age of a plant - some get old-looking quickly, others grow slowly.

My favourite method is to find someone who remembers when a rose was planted. Occasionally you hit the jackpot - not only can they tell you when it was planted, they also remember the name.
Is there any way of contacting previous owners of your house? Can any of your neighbours recall anything about the rose.
Reply #6 of 11 posted 26 APR 10 by Patricia Routley
That rounded end leaf to me says polyantha. What is the pedicel like? Smooth or prickly? Just for interest, have a look at 'Mrs. Alston's Rose'
Reply #7 of 11 posted 26 APR 10 by billy teabag
Know what you mean about polyantha Patricia - the foliage made me think of that of Mrs R.M. Finch (there the resemblance ends) - but some of the modern landscaping roses have this sort of look to the foliage too. PerhapsJim Delahanty and some of the other poly buffs can take a look at these photos.
Reply #8 of 11 posted 26 APR 10 by quokka70
I think you might be right about 'Mrs. Alston', Patricia!

The pedicel is covered in tiny prickles. The pictures of 'Mrs. Alston' on this site look just like my rose: the flower is the same (with a white center); the leaves and flower buds look the same; the buds cluster in just the same way; and the pedicel is almost identical.

On my rose the pedicels are not quite a dark as in the 'Mrs Alston' pictures (q.v. and there don't appear to be quite as many prickles, but perhaps that is within the variation of the cultivar.

Unless something else that matches even better turns up I'm happy to identify my plant as 'Mrs. Alston'. The fact that this rose came out of Australia many years ago gives me something in common with it.

I have taken some more pictures of the plant and will upload them as soon as I can.

Huge thanks to Billy and Patricia!

I have a more general question: how can I get better at identifying roses myself? The best I could think of was to leaf through my rose book (ARS's _Encylopedia_) and look for blooms similar to my plant. There must be a better way that doesn't just involve asking generous strangers to do my work for me. Is there a book or website with concrete identification tips, such as "if the leaves look like this, it might be a polyantha"?


P.S. To answer your question, Billy: I'm not in contact with the previous owner, but I suspect that the plant predates her, which puts it before 1998 or so. (Based on the state of the garden when we moved in, the previous owner had no interest in gardening at all.) My neighbor has lived in his house for his whole life: I'll ask him about the rose next time I see him.
Reply #9 of 11 posted 27 APR 10 by Patricia Routley
Rory, it is very hard to identify roses. But your rose seems a polyantha. If you keep a private rose listing, call it ?Mrs. Alston's Rose? with a question mark at either end. That way you will be alerted even years later that there may be a smidgeon of a doubt. It will also remind you to check your rose with any named 'Mrs. Alston's Rose' that you find in the future. I have put a few photos in the 'Mrs. Alston's Rose' page.

Hmmm. your internet name is very familiar to Billy and I, both West Australians. Don't supposed you ever holidayed at Rottnest did you?

Identifying roses. An excellent book which helped me a great deal was the Field report of Rose Characteristics published in 2002 by Judy Dean, Lynne Storm and Bev Vierra in California. There is an address in the HelpMeFind Publications section. Send me a private email as well and I may be able to help further with my own study material.
Try to study one class of rose per season. For example, look at every polyantha you can find to see how it grows, the height, the inflorescence etc. Ask your Rose/Heritage/Historic Society where you can see them. By the end of the season, you will be a full bottle on polys.
Don't get side-tracked. The devilishly beautiful roses can side-track one so easily and there are so many. The next year, you can tackle the Bourbons, or the Chinas etc.
Once you can recognise a class of rose, then you start looking for the tiny signature of each rose. I am quite convinced that each rose has a tiny difference that sets it apart from the other thousands. The trick is to find it and that means looking again and again at the very fine detail. There is enough interest in these roses to keep you happy for about nine decades.
Reply #10 of 11 posted 27 APR 10 by billy teabag
What she said!
And read anything written by Cass Bernstein on the subject.
Reply #11 of 11 posted 27 APR 10 by quokka70
Thanks again for help and the pointers to identification resources. I'll check them out.

Looking at your pictures on the 'Mrs Altson's' page, I am beginning to have glimmers of doubt. Your hips (that is, your rose's hips) are a big bigger than mine, and I think my leaves are smaller and a bit more serrated. I will have another close look at my plant this evening when I get home; there are a still a few of last year's hips on the plant.

As for my internet handle: no, I have never been to Rottnest. I chose the name on a whim many years ago, partially because it is an interesting word and an adorable animal, and partially because I have strong family ties to Western Australia. My parents both grew up in WA (Bunbury and Quairading) and met at U. WA, and many of my relatives live in WA. I grew up in Canberra and now live in California, so it is unlikely I'll ever see a quokka in the wild.
most recent 19 APR 10 HIDE POSTS
Initial post 19 APR 10 by quokka70
I just received a shipment of five roses from Chamblees.

My shipment arrived in California (94112) on Friday evening, in the nick of time for the weekend. The plants are all vigorous and healthy, with no dead or diseased vegetation. Most of the plants have buds and one even has flowers.

The plants were well packed for shipment and arrived undamaged.

My order was purely via the website so I can't comment on the staff's knowledgeability or the newsletter.

I'm very pleased to get high quality own-root roses at a good price. I just hope the gophers don't find them before they get established!
most recent 16 APR 10 SHOW ALL
Initial post 3 OCT 08 by lookin4you2xist
I have cuttings as of Oct 3rd 2008 plus a good sized extra one if anyone wants to trade didnt see it under cuttings
Reply #1 of 3 posted 3 OCT 08 by HMF Admin
It is not listed under cuttings because it's a patented plant. It is illegal to exchange patented plant material. Please remove your post regarding this plant.
Reply #2 of 3 posted 16 APR 10 by quokka70
Are you sure? US Patent 3962 was issued in 1976 and US patents expire after at most 20 years (according to the Wikipedia article about such things).
Reply #3 of 3 posted 16 APR 10 by HMF Admin
Yes, you are correct.
most recent 2 APR 10 HIDE POSTS
Initial post 2 APR 10 by quokka70
I think the hardiness should be "6b and warmer" rather than "6b through 9b".
Reply #1 of 1 posted 2 APR 10 by HMF Admin
When do not have specific hardiness information we assign a default range.
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