Leonie Bell was a superstar in the rose world, a champion of old roses, and a rose hunter in a time when roses in cemeteries and abandoned places were disappearing at an alarming rate. The garden at Tufton Farm is dedicated to her memory, and it has some of the rare and wonderful roses that she and other rose hunters have found. The collection contains many examples of Noisette roses, and there are also roses that are more commonly available, like 'Old Blush' and other China roses, which factored into the development of the Noisettes and most of our modern repeat-flowering roses.
My goal yesterday was to take cuttings of each rose in the Bell Garden that I don't have or isn't easily available in commerce. (For example, "Cato's Cluster" used to be available from Vintage Gardens ... but now there is not a US source.)
"Lingo Musk" (Noisette)
I did not need to take cuttings of the true Musk roses in the garden, because all of these are safely held in the collection at Florida Southern College.
After two and a half hours of work, I had three gallon-sized zipper bags that contained cuttings of fourteen roses. These bags are in my refrigerator right now, and I will process and plant all of the cuttings later today. If everything goes as planned and the cuttings root like they're supposed to, I hope to have baby plants of each rose later in the year ... to pass along to other rose preservationists and to provide back-up copies for Tufton.
unknown white Noisette
I really enjoyed my afternoon at Tufton. The weather was beautiful and the air in the garden was heavy with the scent of the roses, especially the wonderful, wafting fragrance of the Musk roses.
(To learn more about the Leonie Bell Noisette Garden, and about Leonie Bell herself, click HERE to go to a post on the Monticello blog written by Ben Whitacre.)