"Irène Watts rose Description
Photo courtesy of matroskin
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Salmon-pink. Mild fragrance. Very double, in small clusters bloom form. Blooms in flushes throughout the season.
Short, thornless (or almost), upright.
USDA zone 6b through 9b (default). Vigorous.
The name 'Irène Watts' is incorrect for the rose described here, although that name is still used in commerce.
Janet emailed the following which is a result of exploring the question: "Are 'Irène Watts' and 'Pink Gruss an Aachen' the same rose?". Apparently, Kim Rupert of the Huntingdon Gardens, conducted scientific tissue tests of the two roses and concluded they were the same. Then I interviewed Gregg Lowery of Vintage Gardens who has sold 'Pink Gruss an Aachen' for many years and reported the results to the forums. He said that he was visiting the Montisfont gardens in England in the early 90s when he saw a bed of 'Pink Gruss an Aachen' mislabeled 'Irène Watts'. He spoke to the curator who agreed with him, however, the label was never changed and not long after 'Pink Gruss an Aachen' began appearing in commerce in the USA mislabeled 'Irène Watts'. The source of these roses appears to have been the mislabeled bed at Montisfont. In the late 90s an article was published in the Royal National Rose Society's quarterly in which the curator of Montisfont, whom Gregg had spoken to, set the record straight.
Gregg believes that all the 'Irène Watts' roses being sold in the States are 'Pink Gruss an Aachen'. He says that he has never seen the true 'Irène Watts'. However, he has seen a picture in The Charm of Old Roses, by Nancy Steen, that he believes is 'Irène Watts' because it does indeed look like a China rose. I believe he said that the book indicates Nancy Steen obtained it from New Zealand.
This error has now (2006) been officially acknowledged by the American Rose Society. JMJ
The two pink sports of 'Gruss an Aachen' discovered by Kluis & Koning (1929) and by Spek (1930) are not to be discerned in commerce today.