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'Miss Edith Cavell' rose References
Article (newspaper)  (Oct 2015)  Page(s) 2.  Includes photo(s).
Patricia Routley:  November 11 was originally known as Armistice Day – the day the First World War was ended.  These days we call it Remembrance Day and I have a memoir of that dreadful time growing in my garden.  Edith Louisa Cavell (1865-1915) was the second daughter of the Rector of Swardeston, Norfolk.  During the war she became a nurse and served at the Medical Institute in Brussels, which had become a Red Cross Hospital.  In August 1915 she was arrested by the Germans and charged with having helped about 200 allied soldiers to escape to neutral Holland.   Tried by court-martial, she did not deny the charges and was shot.  Her last words were “I realise that patriotism is not enough.  I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.  Don’t think of me (as a heroine).  Think of me only as a nurse who tried to do her duty.  I am glad to die for my country.”  As a memorial to England’s martyr nurse, one of the Dutch nurseries (Meiderwyk, Jan Spek, or Gerrit de Ruiter – it is not clear which) started massively propagating a red sport of ‘Orleans Rose, the quite famous 1909 pink polyantha.  From four plants of this red sport in 1915, they had 80,000 plants for sale when ‘Miss Edith Cavell’ was introduced in 1917.   Understandably it also became known as ‘Nurse Edith Cavell’.   Another breeder commemorated her by naming a white hybrid tea ‘Edith Cavell’ in 1918, but it is the little red polyantha that I want to concentrate on here.  In 2003 Natalee Kuser gave me an own-root plant study-named “Hill Farm Small single Red Poly”.  She had been given a cutting by Eileen Giblett, and Eileen had inherited her mother’s roses.  So all we knew about it was that it was an oldie.   I put it in the middle of the Rosary bed where it looked delightful for a number of years, but is now far too shady for it to be completely healthy.  In November 2010 a couple of branches on my bush started blooming pink, rather than red.   As it happened I also had a bush of the pink ‘Orleans Rose’ about 10 metres away and could see that the pink blooms were identical.  It was a short journey then to look for a red sport of ‘Orleans Rose’ and came up with the identification of ‘Miss Edith Cavell’.   It usually isn’t that direct or easy to identify an unknown rose.   ‘Miss Edith Cavell’ is a semi-double crimson red polyantha which never “blues”, a small bloom which has no perfume to speak of.  The blooms are produced in large clusters on upright canes to about 1m.  Some canes have small prickles growing quite thickly on the lower half.  Other canes are smooth.   The foliage is a glistening dark green and gets dreadful black spot lately.  It is urging me to get a sucker out into a more open position, but full sun is apt to burn the petals.  Dappled shade from the karri’s would suit it fine, except for the thieving roots.
Book  (2015)  Page(s) 47.  Includes photo(s).
Bev Fletcher, Waikato Rose Society.
Miss Edith Cavell  October 12, 2015 marks the centenary of the execution.....
Book  (Dec 1999)  Page(s) 830.  
Edith Cavell was executed as a spy by the Germans during World War I... British nurse, shot for spying, 1915. [Her last words were:] I realize that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone. Don't think of me [as a heroine]. Think of me only as a nurse who tried to do her duty... I am glad to die for my country."
Magazine  (Oct 1993)  Page(s) 5. No. 6.  
Hazel Le Rougetel: …… came from a seedling x ‘Edith Cavell’, which was a Polyantha that has recently been rediscovered by Peter Beales in Norfolk.
Book  (Sep 1993)  Page(s) 289.  Includes photo(s).
Miss Edith Cavell Polyantha, Gerrit de Ruiter, 1917... a memorial to England's martyr nurse executed by the Germans. Description... de Ruiter created speed records in propagating it: eighteen months after its discovery he had grown 80,000 plants. There was a cream Large-flowered Rose called 'Edith Cavell' also. It appears to be extinct.
Book  (Apr 1993)  Page(s) 383.  
Polyantha, dark red, 1917, ('Edith Cavell'; 'Nurse Cavell'); 'Orléans Rose' sport; deRuiter; Spek. Flowers scarlet-crimson overlaid velvety crimson.
Book  (Feb 1993)  Page(s) 130.  
Miss Edith Cavell Description... clusters of attractive semi-double blooms in scarlet with crimson flushes...
Book  (Jun 1992)  Page(s) 248.  
Miss Edith Cavell Meiderwyk / Spek, 1917. Sport of 'Orleans Rose' (Pol). ....
There is also another Polyantha 'Miss Edith Cavell' of the same color, attributed to De Ruiter, 1932.
Website/Catalog  (1985)  Page(s) 31.  
Miss Edith Cavell* (Polyantha) Large trusses of small, semi-double, scarlet-crimson flowers amid dark green foliage. Rediscovered growing in the garden of Mrs Doris Levine of Brundall, Norfolk. 1917. P. H. Shade tolerant.  (C) 3 x 2’.
Book  (1978)  Page(s) 157.  
'Miss Edith Cavell'. Shorter. Bright crimson. Remontant. Perfume 2 [ascending scale of merit from 1 to 10] . Hips I [ascending scale of merit from 1 to 10]. This rose began the career of a famous breeder, Gerrit de Ruiter of Hazerswoude, Holland. He was cutting budwood of ‘Orleans Rose' in August 1914, when he found a shoot bearing red flowers. After propagation and trial, he found it to be good, and it was introduced by Jan Spek in 1917. If the date of discovery is correct, which it should be, for De Ruiter himself stated it, and August 1914 is the kind of date one remembers, then a remarkably short time passed in working up stock for introduction. The Dutch have nothing to learn about propagation; they will turn one rose bush into thousands in twelve months, by grafting every eye under heat, starting in early winter. The grafts are joined in three weeks, and have shoots in six or seven, which provide more eyes for the next batch of grafts. De Ruiter said he had four plants of 'Miss Edith Cavell' in 1915, and allowing 20 possible grafts per plant, that would give the propagator 80 young plants by the winter. Say he struck ten from each, and he has 800; and he would be capable of multiplying by ten again, to have 8000 by the summer. If he wished, he could then propagate out of doors to have 80,000 plants on sale for autumn of 1917. These figures leave out of consideration the stock of old plants which remain from each stage. Such haste is by no means the rule, but there was an incentive applying to sports, that somebody else might find a similar one.
'Miss Edith Cavell' was a great improvement on any red in the class; dark yet brilliant, its little flowers were so close in the large trusses as to make a crimson carpet. The name gave some trouble, because another 'Edith Cavell' was introduced in England in 1918 by Chaplin Brothers, a cream Hybrid Tea. De Ruiter's variety was prefixed for a time by Nurse, and finally settled for Miss.
De Ruiter specialized in Polyanthas, and in finding sports among them, but it was some years before he began to breed roses. He soon made a name at that, and one of his sons, Gysbert, has continued since his father's death. Breeders cannot foresee what others will get from their roses; 'Miss Edith Cavell' led to 'Robin Hood', and thus to 'Iceberg' .
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