From the Heritage Rose Foundation newsletter, Sept, 2021, page 8.
‘Arnold’—Lost in Plain Sight
A N I T A C L E V E N G E R
Heritage Rose Foundation members learned about Arnold Arboretum’s Jackson Dawson and his rugosa hybrid
‘Arnold’ in 2017, thanks to a lecture from Benjamin Whiteacre at our Fredericksburg, VA conference and an
article that he wrote for our October 2017 newsletter. ‘Arnold’, a cross between a Rugosa and Hybrid Perpetual
‘Gen. Jacqueminot’ introduced in 1893, was one of Dawson’s triumphs: beautiful, healthy and repeat-blooming. He proudly
named it in honor of the Harvard University arboretum where he worked. Unfortunately, the fashion for rugosas was
waning. After brief popularity, ‘Arnold’ was virtually forgotten.
In 2018, it was thought that the rose was probably lost altogether in the United States. Helpmefind.com listed it in
Brooklyn’s Cranford Rose Garden, in Arnold Arboretum, and in the Friends of Vintage Rose’s collection, but it was not
with any of the three. In our newsletter, we asked our readers to help us find it.
Earlier this year, I visited Don Gers’ and Michael Tallman’s garden, Rose Woods, near Santa Rosa, CA. I spotted
a garnet-red, semi-double rugosa and was astonished to read its label. It was ‘Arnold’! This rose didn’t know it was lost,
and neither did its growers. How did it come to be there? Don Gers dug up a root division from rose collector Marion
McKinsey’s Sebastopol, CA garden in 1996. She got it from Gregg Lowery, who in turn obtained it from the late Mike
Lowe in New Hampshire. There the trail stops, but it’s known that Mike took rose cuttings from Arnold Arboretum as
well as Cranford.
Is this Dawson’s original ‘Arnold’? There is a 1994 herbarium specimen at Harvard, and a few photos and a botanical
illustration. So far, our ‘Arnold’ seems the same. Further study and analysis could confirm or deny this.
Don and Michael sent cuttings to HRF Trustee Dr. Malcolm Manners at Florida Southern College. He has propagated
it, and found that it struck readily. He is growing additional plants to send to Arnold Arboretum, whose Keeper of the
Living Collections, Dr. Michael Dosmann, is eager to add it to their collection and study it further. Malcolm and I will also
work to get ‘Arnold’ to commercial nurseries and public gardens to ensure that its future is never again in jeopardy.
One rose preserved, many more to go. ❧
note: In his article and lecture, Benjamin Whitacre theorized that the hybrid rugosa grown as ‘America’ in Europe is
synonymous with ‘Arnold’. We are excited to evaluate the new find against herbarium specimens and potential Arnold
plants from Sangerhausen and to continue to examine that possibility. Limited review of hip production on the Santa
Rosa ‘Arnold’ has cast some new doubts. Many thanks to Ben for pursuing this matter, and to Don Gers and Dr. Malcolm
Manners for lending their expertise and observation skills. a.c.