Roses: A Celebration. Thirty-three Eminent Gardeners on Their Favorite Rose. - 1st ed. 2003
(2003) Page(s) 171. Includes photo(s).
Rosie Atkins. Rosa chinensis Bengal Crimson
....What stopped me in my tracks on that misty morning as I walked up through the [Chelsea Physic] garden from the boathouse was not the olive tree or the banana, but a bush of burnished foliage beside the Swan Walk gate, covered with a mass of single magenta flowers. The label read Rosa chinensis 'Bengal Crimson'..... I was stunned by its beauty and wondered how it came to be there. I discovered that its history coincided with that of Chelsea Physic in several important ways. Its label recorded that the rose was introduced into cultivation in 1887, six years after the Worshipful Company of apothecaries ceased to be responsible for the management of the garden, though they have continued in close association to the present day. A plant had been donated to the garden under the name 'Rose de Bengal' by the garden of the Royal Horticultural Society at Wisley in 1983.... Many rosarians have tried to check the identity of the rose that graces the Swan Walk gate at Chelsea Physic Garden. Records show that it was initially determined to be R. chinensis 'Miss Lowe', but a taxonomist working at the garden identified it as R. chinensis 'Crimson Bengal' on the basis of information about its typical size and the color of its blooms supplied by Peter Barnes at Wisley. So the name Rosa chinensis 'Crimson Bengal' went on the label when the present plant was planted in 1986 by Duncan Donald, then Curator of the Garden.
After ten years editing a garden magazine, I know the importance of correct plant identification, and how fraught with anxiety the process can be. I well remember how the burden on our editorial shoulders was lightened when Dr. James Compton, then head gardener at Chelsea Physic Garden under Duncan Donald, agreed to come into the offices of Gardens Illustrated to check that plant names matched the pictures and made sense in the text of every issue. However, the welter of epithets surrounding 'Crimson Bengal,' including Rosa indica, R. sinica, and R. nankiniensis, might have worried even Dr. Compton. Varietally, it has been called 'Miss Lowe,' 'Miss Lowe's Variety,' Sanguinea and of course 'Bengal Crimson' and 'Crimson Bengal,' associating it with a number of other roses that are called "Bengal" simply because they initially reached Europe via India. In the midst of this nomenclatural muddle, I consulted Peter Beales, a great authority on roses in England and the proprietor of a great rose nursery. At his nursery, Simon White told me that our rose at Chelsea could safely be considered 'Bengal Crimson' but was, like its close relative Rosa chinensis 'Mutabilis,' quite tender (hardy barely to 10 degrees Fahrenheit) and, unlike that famous rose, was not particularly easy to propagate. Peter Beales's nursery had only six plants available when I placed my call.
(2003) Page(s) 17.
Peter Beales. 'Great Maiden's Blush'. ....A less common reason for inquiry - though still frequent enough - is the sudden appearance of this rose in a part of the garden where no rose has ever before been seen growing. Such a surprising emergence is usually the result of the rhizomelike roots of 'Maiden's Blush' which, having been hindered from sprouting for one reason or another (usually because of the constant cultivation of a border or the regular cutting of a lawn), suddenly reappear above ground. Such is the will of this rose to live that a new plant can emerge many years after its parent has disappeared, and many yards from its original position.
(2003) Page(s) 107.
Rory Dusoir: .....No matter if 'Cuisse de Nymphe', Ispahan and 'Rosa Mundi' suggest to you, with all the weight of historical assoication, pictures of earthly delight. In a wet June, your collection of old roses will be a sodden, diseased mess, a paradise only for the rotten fungi that gorge themselves on the fragrant, thickly petaled blossoms and turn them into a horrific brown slime....Fatalists will accept this tragedy stoically time and time again, reminding themselves of the year before last, when the roses were magnificent....
(2003) Page(s) 194.
"Martha Gonzales" from Navasota later emerged as 'Fabvier', another French immigrant, a China rose introduced in 1832.