HelpMeFind Roses, Clematis and Peonies
Roses, Clematis and Peonies
and everything gardening related.
DescriptionPhotosLineageAwardsReferencesMember RatingsMember CommentsMember JournalsCuttingsGardensBuy From 
'Arnoldiana' rose Reviews & Comments
Discussion id : 146-005
most recent 7 JUN 23 HIDE POSTS
Initial post 4 JUN 23 by odinthor
I'm afraid that I am having little success in finding first-hand indications of actual first, or at least early, commercial introduction of 'Arnold'/'Arnoldiana' under that name (there are several mentions of it as in the collection at Arnold Arboretum; but I am trying to establish it as a commercial entity). What is the attribution to Eastern Nursery/Nurseries based upon (in other words, where is a catalog or advertisement that one can gaze upon which offers it for sale)? In what catalog(s) from any commercial entity, issued between 1890 and 1920, is there a listing for a variety named 'Arnold' or 'Arnoldiana'? Can anyone provide the basis for this, and/or the actual first mention of 'Arnold'/'Arnoldiana' under that name in a commercial catalog?
Reply #1 of 4 posted 5 JUN 23 by Lee H.
Have you searched for “Dawson’s Hybrid Rugosa” synonym (Per Arnoldia 73/1)?
Reply #2 of 4 posted 6 JUN 23 by odinthor
Thanks, yes (though I don't have access to the Arnoldia article mentioned). I should clarify: I'm not doubting anything about the early existence of the plant that came to be known as 'Arnoldiana' or 'Arnold'. My quest is to find anything first-hand that indicates it was actually commercially introduced before its listing by Bobbink & Atkins in 1924 (B&A didn't have it in 1923). It looks to me as if it was shared about early on by cognoscenti, even so far as Kew having it, and that perhaps to accommodate this sharing the Arnold Arboretum turned at some point to Eastern Nurseries (which had a location in their locale of Jamaica Plain, Mass.) for help in propagating, but that the variety wasn't actually commercially introduced until 1924 (and, by horticultural convention, the date attached to a variety is the date of its commercial introduction).
Reply #3 of 4 posted 6 JUN 23 by Lee H.
It may be of some interest to you that “Eastern Nursery” seems to have been a Dawson family-owned business. I’ll send you a PM with the link to that article.
Reply #4 of 4 posted 7 JUN 23 by odinthor
Thanks so much! I appreciate it.
Discussion id : 128-998
most recent 9 SEP 21 HIDE POSTS
Initial post 8 SEP 21 by AnitaSacramento
From the Heritage Rose Foundation newsletter, Sept, 2021, page 8.
‘Arnold’—Lost in Plain Sight
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. 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.
Reply #1 of 1 posted 9 SEP 21 by Patricia Routley
Thank you for adding this reference Anita. I found the story of ‘Arnold’ most interesting.
Discussion id : 128-054
most recent 7 JUN 21 HIDE POSTS
Initial post 7 JUN 21 by mmanners
From the Newsletter of the Heritage Rose Foundation, October, 2017. pp 10-15.

'Arnold' — From Acclaim to Obscurity
Ben Whitacre

"He was so modest. It wasn't until decades later I was to learn what an important part he himself had played in raising these plants." — Betty Blossom Johnston, from a profile she published in Horticulture magazine in 1957 about her grandfather, the rose hybridizer Jackson Thornton Dawson. Horticulture had eulogized Dawson as the 'Walt Whitman of horticulture" in 1916.

Case for a D-Lister
The most celebrated roses do at least one of two things: innovate or illuminate. So, 'Peace', the ultimate Alister, reset the course of Hybrid Teas and told a poignant tale of survival and hope during World War II. 'Knock Out', 'La France', 'Champneys' Pink Cluster' and a handful of others get a seat at the VIP table.
If those are the celebrities of the genus Rosa, then the little-known 'Arnold' is a D-lister. Yet 'Arnold' has a lot in common with 'Peace' and its peers: It may have been the first major Hybrid Rugosa; it is a namesake of Harvard's Arnold Arboretum, once the site of a rose program as ambitious as the Roseraie de L'Haÿ; and its origin story features what may have been America's first botanical garden (at Harvard College in 1672), and the American Civil War.

[Photo doesn't paste here]
Herbarium specimen of 'Arnold'

If that weren't enough, 'Arnold' appears to have lived a double life in Europe under the name 'America'. As the flagship cultivar of Harvard's new breed of American roses, 'Arnold' arrived in England in 1892 on the 400th anniversary of Columbus' discovery of the New World. Nurseryman George Paul gave it a new name to match the occasion (Darlington 1915).
In counterpoint to its story, 'Arnold' is simple. Like 'Champneys' Pink Cluster', or Knock Out®, it has a modest number of petals arranged simply — though in 2002 its brilliant shades of crimson and green inspired the Journal of the American Medical Association to rhapsodize about it as a stand-in for the mythical Christmas Rose (Leet 2002).
Still, 'Arnold' is a no-name rose, despite a soap-opera-worthy narrative.

The Rise and Fall of Harvard's Rose Empire
In 1851, historian Francis Parkman, Jr. was ill. Blinding migraines, shot knees, crippling depression. His wife offered a suggestion: "with all your getting get roses." Parkman's rose garden helped him recover (Whitehill 1973) and he became one of America's leading experts on the genus, publishing The Book of Roses between installments of his seven-volume France and England in North America.
A decade later, the militaristic writer had to sit out the Civil War. But he got a consolation prize: several crates of Asian flora — the first shipment of plants to New England from Japan, including species never before seen in the West (Spongberg 1993). The stash had been intended for another horticulturist who joined the Union Army. Parkman began hybridizing his windfall, selling his Lilium parkmanii to an English collector for $1,000.
Soon Parkman found a disciple — a propagator so gifted that his peers had to borrow from music, poetry, and the dark arts to describe him (Allen 1891). Jackson Thornton Dawson began working for Parkman in 1871 at Harvard, recalling forty years later how Parkman introduced him to newly discovered and disregarded Asian roses (Archives 1911). Sometime before the mid 1880s (Falconer 1888), Dawson bred tens of thousands (Blossom 1957) of hybrids of Rosa rugosa. Only two, a pink and a crimson, had commercial merit. But he hoped their care-free nature would revolutionize rose gardening. The fully-double pink rose was stolen. The other would become 'Arnold' (Dawson 1902).
Dawson would adore his 'Arnold' until the end of his life, writing just a few years before his death that "when the sun shines on the Arnold rose the eyes are quite dazzled" (Dawson 1911). He particularly valued its rich fragrance, perpetual bloom, and vigor. C. S. Sargent, the director of the Arnold Arboretum also admired 'Arnold', rating it as "perhaps the showiest rose in the shrub collection" (Sargent 1919).
After a long period of circulation among collectors, Dawson's Hybrid Rugosa won recognition from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in 1892 (Society 1892). Perhaps encouraged by the award, Sargent sent Dawson's rose to Europe (Darlington 1915), where Rosa rugosa and a set of its recent hybrids had begun selling. An English nursery christened it 'America' and introduced it. 'America' quickly earned a reputation as one of the best roses of its era in Europe (Société 1912).
For a moment, it looked like the same success would occur back home. In 1893, the Massachusetts Horticultural Society awarded Dawson's rose its highest honor for hybridization (Mass. 1893) and Sargent made it the namesake of the arboretum (Rehder 1922). As much as 22 years after being hybridized, 'Arnold' finally entered commerce in the US, the same year Parkman died.
By that time, Dawson had also already won awards for the first Hybrid Wichuranas and arguably the first Hybrid Multifloras bred from the species type (Whitacre 2015). Dawson became such an authority that Liberty Hyde Bailey invited him to write about his rose program for the Cyclopedia of American Horticulture. In the same vein, Dawson's colleagues at the Arnold Arboretum seized the highest superlatives for rose taxonomy (Rowley 1959) and the discovery of new species, while Sargent promised immortality (for at least a thousand years) to anyone who would fund a rose garden with every rose in existence in it.

[Photo doesn't paste here]
Postcard of 'Arnold'

Then more than a century of bad luck began. 'Arnold' bombed in the US, where it would take another decade for Rosa rugosa to be appreciated by gardeners. Dawson took it off the market, writing that "[his] hopes were dashed" (Dawson 1902). He reintroduced it in 1914 when it may have been as much as 43 years old. Unfortunately, 'Arnold' managed to be both too early and too late to the Hybrid Rugosa party. High praise for Dawson's rose quickly faded as the Hybrid Teas set the next trend. After Dawson's death, the Arnold Arboretum's own taxonomist, Alfred Rehder, published a Latin botanical description of 'Arnold' citing its date of origin as circa 1914 (Rehder 1922), following an error that had been spread by the American Rose Annual.
A generation later, even the existence of a rose breeding program at Harvard came into question. One of the Arnold Arboretum's own directors asserted that there had never been a rose breeding program there. Instead, 'Arnold' was simply a chance seedling that turned up one day in the living collections (Leet 2002).

Trouble Trebled
The combination of three errors ensured that 'Arnold's would wait a hundred years before being considered for A-list status: false dates of hybridization and introduction; seeming lack of communication between George Paul and Sargent about 'Arnold' and 'America'; and the denial or downplaying of a rose breeding program that had been one of the most significant of any era. In evaluating the information available about 'Arnold', I use the simple standards "more likely than not," "possibly," and "unlikely."

False Dates
Rosarians usually start the clock for Hybrid Rugosas with the French rose 'Mme. Georges Bruant', released in the winter 1887/88 catalog season. While most members of the class live on for garden value rather than order of introduction, 'Mme. Georges Bruant' proves the value of precedence. Yet, in January 1888, when Thomas Meehen's The American Garden announced the introduction of France's first significant rugosa hybrid, it also mentioned another member of the new class, in circulation for long enough to generate a reputation as the best of its unnamed crimson variety raised by Dawson (Falconer 1888). Assuming Dawson's account of his roses is correct, then this is probably 'Arnold'.
To give an idea of the trajectory of Dawson's roses from seedling to nursery catalog, Ellen Willmott named Dawson's Rosa x jacksonii after seeing it growing at Kew in 1897, three years before its commercial release. Dawson's own favorite creation, 'Sargent', entered circulation in 1903 and the market in 1912. The little-known 'Farquhar' may have been a parent of the similar 'Dorothy Perkins' despite being sold for the first time two years after it (Whitacre 2015).
Based on such circumstantial evidence and documents, 'Arnold' may be put forward as a candidate for first major rugosa hybrid, vying with 'Mme. Georges Bruant'.

Poor Communication
By the same logic that 'Arnold' and the unnamed seedling from The American Garden are the same, 'Arnold' is probably also synonymous with 'America', one of the stars of turn-of-the-century gardens in Europe. 'America' had wide nursery distribution, featured in gardens such as the Roseraie de L'Haÿ, and is crowned in the French book The Most Beautiful Roses of the Early 20th Century, where its origin at "Haward University"[sic] is noted. When the British Royal National Rose Society published a retrospective on Hybrid Rugosas in its first annual in 1915, it recorded "Prof. Sargent of the Hartford Botanic Gardens" as the source and 1892 as the shipment date of 'America'. A reprint of the article indicated that "Hartford" was Harvard and that Sargent had in fact sent 'America' from the Arnold Arboretum rather than the Botanic Garden.
Every historical description of 'America' matches that of 'Arnold', raising the question of what rose Sargent sent in 1892, if not 'Arnold'. Dawson was the only person creating rose hybrids at Harvard and he emphasized that he only produced one rugosa shrub of value. The fact that 'America' arrived in Europe the same year that 'Arnold' won its first award supports the narrative that Sargent was showing off his rose program's first award-winner.
Another argument for synonymy requires seeing clues in the absence of them. Notably missing from European records — the name 'Arnold'. George Paul, his brother William Paul, Jules Gravereaux, and others in Europe had an obsession with Hybrid Rugosas. They bred them, sold them, and tried to collect them all. That none of them ever listed their close associate Sargent's most prized rose suggests that they didn't need to. They had it under the name 'America'.
But Sargent's silence prevents certainty — to put it in context, he also never corrected the American Rose Annual or his taxonomist Rehder when they wrote that 'Arnold' was created shortly before 1914...a far more crucial error.

[Photo doesn't paste here]

Legacy on the Down-Low
'Arnold' is just one piece of a monumental rose legacy at Harvard that weaves its way through major events in world history — the American Civil War, the American Revolution, the French Revolution all the way back to Harvard's 1672 botanical garden, which itself was in part a result of the English Civil War. Correctly remembered, this association might add romance and luster to 'Arnold'. So it might be hard at first to understand how one of the Arnold Arboretum's own directors, Richard Howard, helped diminish it.
Horticulture magazine offers a window into Howard's thought process. According to a 1908 article by Rehder, every hybrid raised at the arboretum was a chance seedling, just as Howard said. There was just one exception: the roses (Rehder 1908). Unfortunately, Howard's slip is just a stand-in for a larger wave of forgetfulness. The Arnold Arboretum moved on to other projects and so did rose growers.

'Arnold' as Caveat
Whether 'Arnold' deserves to be placed beside 'Mme. Georges Bruant' as the first major example of a Hybrid Rugosa or whether it actually captured the fascination of European gardeners as 'America', it merits more attention than it has gotten in the hundred years since Dawson rereleased it. A quick glance at the rose literature of the past thirty years shows that the experts who still mention 'Arnold' often continue to repeat the false 1914 introduction date, fail to list Dawson as the first known American to produce Hybrid Rugosas, and ignore that it was the flagship rose of a program that set the stage for of rose breeding with cold-hardy Asian species like Rosa rugosa and R. wichurana. [Roses of America is the general exception; for examples of my point see Rosa rugosa from 1991 or The Old Rose Adventurer from 1999.]
If nothing else, the 'Arnold' story ought to serve as a case study for old rose collectors eager to flesh out the background of their own favorite roses. In other words, if a rose created at one of the worlds' foremost botanical institutions — one known for its record-keeping — could get so confused, expect it in other roses. ‘Arnold’ is a best-case scenario.


Allen, C.L. 1891. The Scientific Education of Gardeners. In Trans. of the Massachusetts Hort. Society.
Archives of the Arnold Arboretum. Newspaper clipping, “Plant wizard Dawson honored.” [circa 1911].
Archives of the Harvard University Herbaria & Libraries. Harvard Botanic Garden General History, Reports, Financials, Plant Records, and Plans.
Blossom, B. 1957. My most unforgettable character. Manuscript, Archives, The Arnold Arboretum.
Darlington, H. R. 1915. Rugosa Roses. The Royal National Rose Annual. 9: 31– 47.
------. 1917. Rugosa Roses. Journal of the International Garden Club. 1 (1): 219-35.
Dawson, J.T.1902. Some Recent Rose Hybrids. In the Cyclopedia of Amer. Horticulture (5th edition, pp. 1572- 1573). New York: Macmillan.
------. 1911. America's contribution to rose culture. Country Life in Amer. 20(4): 22-23,66.
Falconer, W. 1888. From Long Island. The American Garden. 9(2): 57.
Leet, J. 2002. Rosa arnoldiana. Journal of the Amer. Medical Association. 288(24):3082.
Massachusetts Horticultural Society. 1893. Transactions of the Mass. Hort Soc. Boston. p. 210.
Rehder, A. 1908. Arnold Arboretum Hybrids. Horticulture. December 12, 1908.
Rehder, A. 1922. New Species, Varieties and Combinations (Rosa). Journal of the Arnold Arboretum. 3: 11–18
Rowley, G.D. 1959. Some Naming Problems in Rosa. Bulletin du Jardin botanique de l'Etat a Bruxelles, Vol. 29, Fasc. 3 (Sep. 30, 1959), pp.205-211.
Sargent, C. S. 1919. Rosa Rugosa. Bulletin of Popular Information. 5(10): 37–39.
Société nationale d’horticulture de France. 1912. Plus belles roses au début du XXe siècle. Paris: C. Amat.
Society of American Florists. 1892. Proceedings from the Eighth Annual Convention. p. 128. Boston: Daniel Gunn and Co.
Spongberg, S. A. 1993. Exploration and Introduction of Ornamental and Landscape Plants from Eastern Asia. In: J. Janick and J. E. Simon (eds.), New Crops. Wiley, New York
Van Fleet, W. 1916. Possibilities in the Production of American Garden Roses. American Rose Annual. 1: 27–36
Whitacre, B. 2015. Filing a Missing Rose Claim: Jackson Dawson and the Arnold Rose. Arnoldia. 73(1): 17-27.
Whitehill, W.M. 1973. Francis Parkman as horticulturist. Arnoldia 33(3): 169- 185.
Reply #1 of 1 posted 7 JUN 21 by jedmar
Thank you for this interesting article! We have copied it to the references and moved the photos, too.
Discussion id : 127-964
most recent 2 JUN 21 HIDE POSTS
Initial post 2 JUN 21 by Rosewild
Provenance of my ‘Arnold’ rose:
Anita Clevenger, former curator of the Sacramento Historic Rose Garden, visited my garden in early May this year (2021). She saw I was growing the ‘Arnold’ rose and was surprised because she had heard it was lost. My records show I got it as a root-division from a plant in the Sebastopol garden of Marion McKinsey in 1996. I planted it in the ground and after many years it slowly declined. So I dug it up, returned it to good health and planted it in a better location. Fortune shines on this rose because its original location in my garden was burned by the Glass Fire last year.
Anita writes that Gregg Lowery of Vintage Gardens “had some large-scale rose swaps with Marion and that’s probably how she got it.” Gregg got it originally “from Mike Lowe in the 80’s” and “Mike may have gotten it from Arnold Arboretum or the Cranford in Brooklyn.” Gregg “lost it from his collection a few years ago.”
So thanks to Anita who “rediscovered” it, this rose will be available again. We sent budwood and cuttings to Dr. Malcolm Manners.
Reply #1 of 1 posted 2 JUN 21 by Palustris
This is wonderful news.

I have a great affection for the Arnold Arboretum as I lived only a mile or so away from it for a decade in the 1980s. It was Mike Lowe's gift of 'Greenmantle' to the Arboretum that truly allowed me to see how broad and spectacular the range of roses could be. I fell in love with 'Greenmantle' and visited Mike in Nashua to start my collection of OGRs.

So, it does seem likely that Mike received 'Arnold' from the Arnold Arboretum. Thanks very much for providing the provenance for this rose.
© 2024