Friday, January 15, 2010

Flowers on Friday ... a Rose Mystery.

I was really excited to notice that Garden Blogger's Bloom Day (the 15th of each month) and Friday Flowers are on the same day this month.  It's January, however, and we've had almost record cold all month ... so there's NOTHING blooming in the garden.  Everything outside is frozen, I don't even have african violets or leftover poinsettias to use this month, so I have to punt.  Maybe next month I can show you camellias, or helebores, or daffodil buds ... if nothing else, there will probably be a rose or two blooming prematurely in the greenhouse.  (have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE my greenhouse?)

This Friday, I'm going to do something a little bit different.  Instead of showing you lots of different roses, I will introduce you to one of my most frustrating mysteries.

Meet "Mama Rose"

(You will recognize this as the photo I use for my Blogger profile photo.)

She lives in Hollywood Cemetery, in the Augustine plot.

I call it Mama Rose because she is the seed parent for two really nice seedlings I have here.  (I pocketed a few hips one afternoon a couple of years ago.)

This one:

and this one:

I'm obsessed with this rose for two reasons ... (1) I have absolutely not been able to identify her, and (2) I have a 100% rate of failure trying to root her from cuttings.

Truth be told, Mama Rose isn't that nice of a rose. She's really thorny and prone to blackspot.  By fall, after the heat and dryness of summer, she has very few leaves.  The drought period last summer left her in particularly bad shape.

Her buds are dark gold, and the flowers fade from golden-yellow to paler-yellow as they age.

I'm fairly certain that this is some sort of modern hybrid tea.  I would normally ignore a modern rose with so many faults ... but this one sticks with me.  I want to know what it is, mainly so my seedlings have some sort of lineage.  Based on the condition of the mama plant this summer, it's only a matter of time before the cemetery maintenance crew removes her.  It feels like the clock is ticking.

Does this look familiar to anyone?

Visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens to see what other gardeners have blooming today.  (and Fertilizer Friday at Tootsie Time)

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog.)


  1. REALLY pretty rose. I love the story with it, too!

  2. I think there must be a lot of mystery roses and you have a great story.

  3. Wow..wonderful post. I'm rose challenged, haha. Maybe the cemetary people will let you have her if they dig her up..(this sounds strange huh?)

  4. It does not look familiar, but it does look beautiful. You may try contacting someone at the Southern Garden History Society. Here is a link:

    Good luck!

  5. I guess I will ask a stupid question. Have you spoken to a rose society or botanical garden about the rose? It is a shame that you can not find a way to propagate a new one. I am a Master Gardener too but roses are not my specialty. The soil on my property is too sandy and so grow the very hardy few. Valerie

  6. Some clarification ... I have twice taken a stem of this rose with me to a meeting of the Richmond Rose Society. No one there had any idea of its identity. I know there has to be someone who has cataloged the roses in Hollywood Cemetery, I just haven't found that person yet.

    If the cemetery crew removes this rose, it will probably be with a chainsaw or a brush cutter. I'll try again to root it come summer. Maybe I'll be successful THIS time.

    Les, the link you posted sounds like an organization that's right up my alley.

  7. What a great story and mysterious rose. Good luck with the ID. Pretty rose!

  8. I am so happy to find your blog!!! I know very little about roses and want to learn!!! Your "mystery" rose reminds of the roses that would grow along fences years ago. I always loved them and would be upset when property owners destroyed them.

  9. The blooms are pretty and what an interesting background story.

    I'm not a rose person (you know, the deer residents), so I can't help with the ID.


  10. Hello! Your mystery rose looks VERY much like my "Autumn Sunset". I'm in 8b, Mississippi. Mine has a similar arching form too though mine is wider for not having been pruned. Vigorous and easy.

  11. Autumn Sunset looks like a possibility. Now I have to find someone who grows it so I can compare. Thanks.


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