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'Blackboy' rose Reviews & Comments
Discussion id : 58-064
most recent 29 SEP 19 SHOW ALL
Initial post 21 OCT 11 by Patricia Routley
It seems that many beautiful dark red climbing roses inherited from nanna or Auntie whatsis came with the passed down name of 'Black Boy'. 'Black Boy' was an easy name to remember and now it is difficult to know what the true 'Black Boy' was like. The three bushes that I have all open in the morning to a deep cupped bloom that the petals fold over and cover its private parts later in the day, or with rain - not quite sure which just yet.

I am struck by the glandular pedicel which rather abruptly becomes smooth one inch from the top, leading up to a very smooth receptacle. Do others see this trait in their 'Black Boy's?
Reply #1 of 5 posted 11 MAY 15 by Give me caffeine
I know this is an old comment, but I think this habit of Auntie Whatsis and Co. calling every dark red climber 'Black Boy" in the '30's is relevant to my family history.

My mum, who is 80 and in firm possession of her marbles, has sometimes reminisced about the magnificent "Black Boy" that grew at her parents' house when she was a kid. After looking into Clark roses a bit I got curious, so asked her some questions about it.

Turns out that this "Black Boy" they loved so much never snagged her when she frequently brushed past it to get into the shed (so probably thornless, or almost) and had flowers that, while she wouldn't call them perfect exhibition form by today's standards, were still very nicely shaped rather than informal. They were fully double, never semi-double, and didn't go blue with age. She also remembered that it was never a profuse bloomer, but always had some. She couldn't remember what the foliage was like, since it was around 70 years ago and a young girl naturally focused on the flowers more.

Anyway, the characteristics she described don't fit 'Black Boy' but are a perfect match for another Clark classic: 'Countess of Stradbroke'. This would also fit with the construction date for the house, which was built within a couple of years of CoS being released. It was a very nice house (I remember it well, since my grandparents still owned it when I was young) and it would be natural for a moderately well off and houseproud owner to want Clark's latest and greatest when establishing a garden.

My grandparents bought the place in the late '30's, by which time the climber was well established. I had a strong suspicion that when they moved in they either assumed the rose was 'Black Boy', or were told so by a friend or neighbour who had heard of the ubiquitous BB but wasn't up to speed with some of Clark's other roses.

I emailed Mum links to the HMF pages for both roses, and her comment was that based on the information and pictures supplied she would say it was CoS. So, it looks like HMF has managed to fix a case of mistaken identity that has stood for 70 years. :)
Reply #2 of 5 posted 12 MAY 15 by Jane Z
A 1937 plebiscite conducted by The Argus newspaper in Melbourne had Black Boy as a clear winner of the best climbing rose category with just over 850 votes. In 14th place was Countess of Stradbroke with a comparatively modest 75 votes. (I'm sure your hypothesis as to 'naming assumptions' is on the money)

(The best garden rose in the plebiscite was Lorraine Lee with 1819 votes)
Reply #3 of 5 posted 12 MAY 15 by Give me caffeine
I wouldn't be at all surprised if some of those votes for Black Boy were actually made for a different rose the voter thought was Black Boy, and of course the vote could also be skewed simply because many more people would have heard of BB.

Apparently Clark himself thought his later 'Lady Mann' was superior to 'Lorraine Lee'.
Reply #4 of 5 posted 12 MAY 15 by Jane Z
perhaps - however BB had been around nearly a decade longer and the basic sales figures for both roses meant that BB was by far the most planted - keep in mind though too, there were a great many newspaper gardening/rose columns & articles etc in that era, and many people would have known & followed names of favourites, new releases etc
Reply #5 of 5 posted 29 SEP 19 by Patricia Routley
A visitor suggested to me that ‘Guinee’ is being grown in some gardens as ‘Black Boy’. I do recall one garden in Bridgetown, W.A. where this was more than likely the identity of one rose mistakenly labelled ‘Black Boy’.
Discussion id : 81-045
most recent 13 OCT 14 HIDE POSTS
Initial post 13 OCT 14 by Jane Z
Discussion id : 80-994
most recent 11 OCT 14 HIDE POSTS
Initial post 11 OCT 14 by Jane Z
Is there a gremlin in the system - why is 'Black Boy' now listed as introduced by 'Unknown(Australia)'?
Discussion id : 80-963
most recent 11 OCT 14 HIDE POSTS
Initial post 9 OCT 14 by Jane Z
The following are the earliest articles & advertisements for Black Boy that I've found in AUS mainstream media. There was quite a price premium on plants offered in the 1st year (3/6 each, being reduced to 2/ the next year).

The first slightly muted criticism (thin petals) did not emerge until 1925, and then only in a small country newspaper! Then in 1928 a WA newspaper bravely noted that the blooms did not hold their shape well, when picked.

Nevertheless it was recommended (by the NRS of VIC) as 1 of the best climbing roses in 1927.
Reply #1 of 2 posted 11 OCT 14 by Patricia Routley
Thanks Jane. We appreciate these early references.
The 1918 reference allows us to put 'Black Boy' back to 1918 from 1919 (and it was probably bred even before 1918).

For me the references that are most telling about 'Black Boy' are the 1933 reference which includes the sentence "the habit of drawing the tips of the petals rather closely into the bloom"; and the 1926 "Reminds of 'Bardou Job'. Here is my photo of 'Bardou Job' (left) with 'Black Boy' (right, in hand).
Reply #2 of 2 posted 11 OCT 14 by Jane Z
To say the rose was bred in 1918 is quite misleading I believe. Numerous articles make very clear that Alister Clark typically trialled plants in his garden for a number of years prior to their release, and therefore the breeding date may be variable, but is certainly unknown to us.

Lorraine Lee is another example, in that she was released in 1924, yet blooms were first displayed under that name, at a public rose society function in 1922.

With these 2 roses alone, given the volume of plants produced in their first year of sale, he had clearly produced *huge* numbers of stock plants over several years to be able to meet those levels.

My understanding is that the date of introduction/release is the only pertinent date, and any other dates (esp in case of AC whose records were lost) is pure speculation, that can also cause confusion.
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