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pugetsoundgardener

IDs needed: collection of roses at 100+ year old house

pugetsoundgardener
5 years ago
last modified: 5 years ago

I've been advised to bring my questions about the possibly quite old roses I inherited over here and compile them into one post, so here goes! We purchased a 1902 house a couple of years ago on 3/4 acre with extensive (and very overgrown) gardens. Among the many plants are quite a few roses that are proving to be a bit of a challenge to ID.

I have some giant specimens in my garden including 30' rhododendrons and a Japanese Cherry that's bigger than most people think is possible - I was told on the forums that it was over 50 years old. The only plants I can come close to accurately dating are the Western Red Cedars which are about 100' tall and therefore somewhere around 100 years old, so possibly dating back to when the house was built. They would have been deliberately planted, likely by the homeowner. This island was clear cut, so there's not much older than that on the island. And unfortunately that's all the history I have on the garden.

I'll start with my 8' pink rose which is both blooming and has hips still, so has the most info. It's growing on the north side of a solid 6' wood fence (the fence was built 2 years ago but it was behind a hedge before that), sandwiched between the fence and the house, and under a giant evergreen tree which is maybe 50 years old. It gets very little light, perhaps a few hours a day in the summer when the sun swings around to the north. It seems quite happy there. The canes are fairly upright, the roses are a spectacular deep pink, the buds are almost red, and the hips are large.

Comments (78)

  • pugetsoundgardener
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I hiked up the hill behind my house a few days ago to see what the white flowers were, and was really surprised to find a white rose growing up through a giant hydrangea. Apparently someone gardened up there once upon a time. If the light hadn't hit it right we still might not know it was there.

    This is a large bush with flexible canes. My estimate of the cane length at this point is 25'. It's throwing out canes in every direction, and where they're running along the ground they're actually rooting in and it's sending up new plants. I dug one up and it has quite substantial roots as you can see. I'm planning to put it near the house where I can enjoy the fragrance - if I can find enough room for it!

    The buds are pink and it blooms a blush pink fading to white. It has the most spectacular fragrance. It wouldn't get much sun where it is even if it wasn't buried in a hydrangea bush, so it seems to be quite shade tolerant.

  • Buford_NE_GA_7A
    5 years ago

    If it's the grandiflora QE, it does put up clusters sometimes. It was the color that reminded me of it (it's my favorite pink) and also the hips. Yes, QE puts out huge hips if you don't prune it.

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  • pugetsoundgardener
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Well it hasn't been pruned in at least 15 years, if ever, so another vote for QE!

    Any more ideas about the yellow one, other than that it's possibly a R. gigantea hybrid? I'll pop out tomorrow and see if another bud is opening.

  • harborrose_pnw
    5 years ago

    pugetsoundgardener,

    I wonder if your yellow rose isn't "Golden Wings" - GW has dark canes, the foliage has serrated edges, and the blooms are large - hmf lists GW's blooms at 4.75 inches across. The stamens are golden brown - that is what your rose looks to have. I "think" gigantea blooms are smaller; hmf says 2.5 inches. Gean


  • pugetsoundgardener
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    It sure looks similar to Golden Wings. A couple people over on the Roses forum suggested Golden Wings, and a couple more who had seen/owned it claimed the stem and prickles were wrong.

    It would be quite short for a Golden Wings and plants tend to grow to taller than predicted here. On the other hand it would be the same era as the Queen Elizabeth (assuming the pink rose is QE), and the two are planted fairly close to each other and have the same aesthetic. Hmmm.

  • harborrose_pnw
    5 years ago

    If you haven't already, look at the plant patent for GW on hmf; it has a good description of the prickles as well as the rest of the plant. Did you find any hips?

  • nikthegreek
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Does GW ever produce semi double blooms (more than 5 petals)? Also, I believe its leaves have mostly more than 5 leaflets and look more like the scotch rose than a hybrid tea.

    You may want to leave room for the possibility that the yellow one may produce a fully double bloom once it receives some cultivation.

  • comtessedelacouche (10b S.Australia: hotdryMedclimate)
    5 years ago

    What about Mrs Oakley Fisher for the yellow? Height seems about right. Don't know about the prickles. The rather pale colour could be related to growing conditions.

  • Buford_NE_GA_7A
    5 years ago

    I think too many petals for Mrs. Oakley Fisher.

  • stillanntn6b
    5 years ago

    Jill P. brought some canes of R. gigantea to the open garden at the Sacramento Cemetery and the petals were huge, and the blooms were a lot larger than 2.5 inches. And her canes had been growing IIRC across the top of her garage.

    I'm one of the people who grows Golden Wings. GW here in Tennessee in my garden and in other gardens isn't that shade of yellow. And the blooms last maybe two days at most in out doors conditions. Remember that Roy Shepherd in northern Ohio was GW's hybridizer and it has a lot of not-tea in it or he wouldn't have made it.

    I think the open petals, individually, are going to be the key to its kinship. They have great substance and open so much that they almost recurve.

  • nikthegreek
    5 years ago

    For the white one take a look at the hybrid sempervirens ramblers.
    Felicite et Perpetue springs to mind although that is usually fuller but
    there are a number of similar ones.

  • pugetsoundgardener
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    No hips on the yellow one, but I'm not sure if bloomed last year. The petals on the yellow one are what get me - every time I look up one of the suggestions the petals just don't look the same. I'll see if another bud is opening today. Maybe that will give us another clue.

  • jacqueline9CA
    5 years ago

    Remember that the size a rose is "listed" at can be very wrong for certain climates such as yours (I planted the hybrid musk Pax once, being sure that the "3 feet" size I had read was true. It grew to 15 feet!). Also, roses which have been totally neglected for 15-20 years may well have different numbers of petals, or be a different height, than they are "supposed to".

    As well as the Seattle Rose Society, I would contact both of the Heritage Roses Groups Jeri gave you the contact info for - that is a rose society for folks who are interested in old roses. I have found that they are very helpful, and may be able to help you identify these even if they turn out not to be OGRs.

    Jackie

    pugetsoundgardener thanked jacqueline9CA
  • jacqueline9CA
    5 years ago

    Oh, I forgot to mention - Queen Elizabeth (assuming it gets enough light) will re-bloom all summer, so if your pink one does that, that is another clue.

    If all of these roses have been neglected, I'm sure they could use some food - I would just get any rose food (NOT the all-in-one or 3-in-1 etc, products - they will kill bees and other beneficial insects - just food) and follow the directions. Might like some mulch, too.

    Jackie

  • pugetsoundgardener
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Thanks Jackie! The pink rose doesn't get a huge amount of light so that may not help. I hope it does rebloom though - now I really am tempted to propagate it and put a few where they'll get more sun!

    I must have missed the Heritage Rose Group info. I'll have a look back through the thread for it. I was waiting to contact the Seattle Rose Society until I was sure I had something unusual here. No point dragging them out for run of the mill roses. It's starting to look like these may be a bit unusual, though, since there's not a huge consensus on any of the three roses I've put here up so far (except possibly the QE), so I'll probably get in touch with them soon.

    I'm not a huge fan of chemical fertilizers, but I'll give them both a bunch of compost. I may have some liquid seaweed fertilizer around here, too, if I can find it. I've just started working on the bed with the pink rose, and I suspect a bit of mulch wouldn't go astray there considering how our clay soil cracks in the summer. I'm planting yellow mini roses around the feet of the yellow rose, so I'm already working on smothering the creeping buttercup there!

  • rhoder551 zone 9b-10
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I'm sorry I don't have anything to add since I'm new to growing roses.

    Just wanted to say that I'm fascinated by the silver jewelry you are wearing on your hand...

  • pugetsoundgardener
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Thanks rhoder! I'm a jeweler, so I make them myself. They're ring splints - I have a connective tissue disorder so I wear them to keep my fingers from coming out of joint. You can get silver ones on insurance, but I worked with my hand therapist to design a custom set for my needs. So when I lose one in the garden, I can just make another!

    The connective tissue disorder does make gardening a bit of a challenge - I probably wouldn't have bought a property with such a large (or vertical) garden if I'd known about it at the time. But it's so pretty here I can't really regret it.

  • jacqueline9CA
    5 years ago

    For the white one, Nik suggested one of the hybrid sempervirens. The blooms certainly look like the species, only slightly more double. If you look on HMF, there are some great pictures of the species totally taking over tall trees.

    Does anyone on here grow hybrid sempervirens roses? Thoughts?

    Jackie

  • nikthegreek
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    (Hybrid) sempervirens ramblers can certainly reach as long as this found rose AND they root easily when they scramble on the ground. It certainly looks similar to my FetP, although as I said the blooms of my FetP are usually a fuller pompon shape but they do detoriate fast to a shape similar to the first pic. I would like to see pics of the freshly open blooms to make sure they are indeed similar. How large are these blooms? Could you attempt to describe the fragrance? Is it sweet warm musky, classic 'rosy' or does it remind of green apple? The leaves appear similar also. Unfortunately I do not grow other such roses. Others to check would be Adelaide d' Orleans, Spectabilis, Princesse Louise. There may be others.

    It might not be a hybrid semp after all but it certainly is a rambler and not a species at that. Common rambler families are the multifloras / moschatas, sempervirens and wichuranas. It does not appear to be a multiflora / moschata hybrid so if it is not a sempervirens then it may be a wich I do not recognize.

    pugetsoundgardener thanked nikthegreek
  • pugetsoundgardener
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago


    The blooms are around 2" across when fully open. I have a particularly poor sense of smell, but the scent is maybe spicy rose? That or classic rose. Certainly not green apple. Definitely strong because I can smell it.

    It doesn't look as full as Felicite et Perpetue or Princess Louise, and I'm not finding much under Spectabilis that looks similar. It could be Adelaide d' Orleans though. The flowers look quite similar, although the buds on Adelaide look to be a deeper pink.

  • nikthegreek
    5 years ago

    FetP blooms are mostly quite fuller and smaller and have a musky scent. No not FetP..

    pugetsoundgardener thanked nikthegreek
  • Buford_NE_GA_7A
    5 years ago

    I'm going to take another guess at the yellow. The open bloom reminded me of Golden Showers, the bloom is the right color too. It's a climber, but tends to grow gangly. Both GS and QE are from the same era, the 50s, and that may be when the roses were put in. And another interesting fact, they are both bred from Charlotte Armstrong!

  • pugetsoundgardener
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    If it was a 50 year old climbing rose, wouldn't it be taller than 3'?

  • jacqueline9CA
    5 years ago

    I do not think it is GS, which I grew for 15 years. Way not enough petals. GS blooms blow in 24 hours (thus the name, I think). and yes, it is definitely a climber.

    Are any of the buds on your yellow rose opening yet, so we can see a bloom at several stages - partially open, more partially open, fully open? That would help. Also, does your plant have any hips on it? GS sets large round, dark orange hips - almost every single bloom.

    Jackie

  • harborrose_pnw
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I went back and read the discussion on the Roses forum on your yellow rose; I hadn't read it previously.

    Golden Wings does display those dark canes. Kim Rupert a couple of years ago on a thread about GW and Topaz Jewel mentioned that those dark canes develop under certain light conditions. Also the plant patent on hmf mentions the canes as being russet/reddish brown. If you look at the bush pic of it on hmf by koalas you can see the dark canes in the bush.

    Mine has never developed those dark canes but it's been moved several times and I've had to prune it to move it; the color may be related to age as well, I am not sure.

    You can see that my GW below has more than five petals, more like 8. I am not sure your rose is GW, but I wouldn't discount the possibility because of the dark canes or prickles, as the pics you show and the coloration are characteristics of GW. Maybe when canes show up this summer or next you can get a better idea.

    Btw, I am on the Kitsap peninsula, not far from Vashon Island; I imagine our growing conditions are very similar. I belong to both of those rose groups Jeri mentioned, although I have been so busy the last couple of years I haven't participated in either or been on this forum much, either. The NW heritage group has a rose display set for mid June - I did the flyer for it, let me see if I can find it and post it; you might enjoy it. I can't come because I'm going to be out of town. Gean

    pugetsoundgardener thanked harborrose_pnw
  • pugetsoundgardener
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Jackie - No hips, although I'm not sure whether it bloomed last year, so it may still get some. I've just realized that I was out of town for a couple weeks at this time last year, so it's possible I missed all three of these roses blooming if they didn't repeat.

    The yellow rose only has two more buds at the moment. I'm keeping a close eye on the one that's thinking of blooming next. I pass it every day or two when I go to pick strawberries, so hopefully I'll catch it in the act!

    Gean - Does the number of leaves signify? I notice yours has sets of 7. I haven't seen more than sets of 5 on mine.

    This may be the rose that got relocated a couple years ago, although if it was it didn't get pruned. It looks less than happy at the moment. I did dispose of that caterpillar in the corner.

    Those still don't look like the same stems to me. If you take color out of the equation, the prickles are still growing in different patterns. But I'm no expert so take it all with a grain of salt.

    I have four more roses that haven't bloomed - at least four that I've found at this point. Three were brutally stumped a couple years ago by the guys that put my fence in and lived to tell the tale. Two of the roses are getting ready to bloom. I'm keeping a close eye on them. Hopefully I can catch them in the act!

    The coral one I do remember blooming last year. It's a repeat bloomer if I recall correctly. The pink is one of the stumping survivors and I doubt it bloomed last year at all.

  • harborrose_pnw
    5 years ago

    hi, yes there are some five leaflet sets as well as the seven. Ugh to the caterpillars; they are everywhere, swarming in from the trees around us. They seem to prefer rose foliage to anything else. :( I was drowning them in a bucket of ammonia water but have resorted to carrying around a pair of scissors and cutting them in half as I kept finding them where my buckets weren't. That may be more information than you wanted to hear!

    One other thing I thought of is that the bloom on GW closes in the evening; I wish I had a picture of a dark cane so we could compare the prickles, but I can't help you.

    I admired your ring sets also and am glad they help your hands with gardening chores. I am having problems with tendonitis in one of my feet and I've thought a lot lately about how much I use my hands and feet in everyday life. I don't take their use for granted.

    Good luck with your new garden and inherited roses; maybe I will meet you sometime at one of the local rose events. I posted the old rose display information on a separate thread for you. Best wishes!

    Gean



  • pugetsoundgardener
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Thanks Gean! The first bloom is gone now, but once the next one opens I'll try to remember to check if it closes in the evenings. Mine has three and five leaflet sets, but no seven.

    I cut slugs in half with my scissors - wish I'd thought of that with the caterpillar. Luckily I've only seen a few caterpillars in my garden. Aphids on the other hand... but at least the ladybugs have shown up this year. My beneficial insect plantings are starting to pay off. Now if only I could brace my knees, hips, back, shoulders and neck along with my hands gardening would be a breeze!

    I'm actually in an art show that weekend, so I'll be sitting behind a display of my jewelry while the rose display is going on. But thanks! One of these days I'll make it to an event. :)

  • pugetsoundgardener
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    The yellow rose has bloomed again. Let's see if this helps. The second bloom looks quite a bit different to the first. My MIL suggested Mermaid, but I'm not sure if that has maroon stems?

    Bloom 1

    Bloom 2

    In bud and starting to bloom

    Leaves and maroon stem


  • pugetsoundgardener
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Oh, it's 3' tall, no sign of hips at the moment, and here's the full plant if you don't want to scroll up.

  • pugetsoundgardener
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    On to rose #4. Another pink one, and with a lot more petals which makes it look more modern to me. It has green stems, sparse red thorns, and what I think is a shriveled up hip. It's currently about 3' but it was brutally stumped a couple of years ago, so it could end up a lot taller.

  • pugetsoundgardener
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Is this an old hip?

    The poor thing was brutally stumped.

  • jacqueline9CA
    5 years ago

    That could be Duchesse de Brabant (aka the Shell Rose, aka Comtesse de Labarthe). Look it up on HMF or other sites and see what you think. Yes, that is a dried up hip. The "new" hips are round, orange, and about 1/2 inch in diameter.

    Jackie

    pugetsoundgardener thanked jacqueline9CA
  • pugetsoundgardener
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Oh that could be it, and that would make it an old rose after all, even with all those petals. The leaves look fatter on mine, but maybe that's within the range of normal variation? I forgot to check if it was fragrant - I'll do that next time I'm out there. Thanks Jackie!

  • jacqueline9CA
    5 years ago

    DdB is a tea rose. If you have never seen the book, "Tea Roses - Old Roses for Warm Gardens", it is fantastic.

    Main things to remember about teas is that they LOVE warm climates & sun, HATE to be pruned, and get pretty large.

    Here is my DdB last month:


  • pugetsoundgardener
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    My only reservation is that I've seen Duchesse de Brabant described as "very fragrant". I can't smell this rose at all, although I have a particularly poor sense of smell. The hubby says it has a lovely fragrance, stronger than the QE but definitely weaker than the old white rose, which I can definitely smell.

    It seems to have survived its brutal pruning, and there's not much I can do about the climate. But I won't plant anything else near it. It's already jammed between the trunk of a 50' tall pine tree, a fuschia bush and an 8' tall box hedge. Whatever it is, it looks to have been quite large from the diameter of the stump.

    Yours is beautiful!

  • Vicissitudezz
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Looking at the photo of the stump, your second pink rose looks fairly prickly; looking at the leaves, prickles, buds and flower, I'm wondering if you could have 'Mme. Caroline Testout', an early HT? That's a rose with some PNW popularity; at one time the city of Portland had 50,000 plants of this rose planted throughout the city.

    It should be rewarding to watch it respond now that it's getting some care and attention again.

    Virginia

    pugetsoundgardener thanked Vicissitudezz
  • pugetsoundgardener
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Oh wow! That's spectacular Jacqueline. I'll pop out this afternoon and get more photos of it, plus a third pink rose has bloomed and I need to grab photos and put that one up.

  • jacqueline9CA
    5 years ago

    I should add that I think there is a bush form of MCT - mine is obviously the climbing form.

    Jackie

    pugetsoundgardener thanked jacqueline9CA
  • nikthegreek
    5 years ago

    Yes, there are two forms of MCT in commerce (at least here in Europe).

  • pugetsoundgardener
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    A couple more photos of pink rose #2. It looks quite globular to me - closer to Madame Caroline Testout than Duchesse de Brabant, and the leaves look more like MCT too, and that would also explain why it isn't very fragrant. Although it does seem quite sparse on the thorn front for MCT. Thoughts?

    I found an old GardenWeb post about how at least 10,000 MCTs were planted in Portland in 1905 for the Lewis and Clark Exposition, which would be the right era, although Portland would have been quite a distance from here in those days.

  • jacqueline9CA
    5 years ago

    That looks just like one of the blooms in my pics above. If it was cut down and is just re-growing, it might not have attained its "super thorniness" yet - it is the very old canes on mine which are armed like barbed wire.

    Jackie

  • Vicissitudezz
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I have a very immature Climbing MCT, and it is no slouch in the thorniness department; it seems possible, though, that the shrub form- assuming that's what we're looking at- could be less well armed?

    I did see a fair number of prickles in that photo of the stumped form of the plant. As Jackie suggests, it may be just a case of the younger canes being smoother; lots of roses do that.

    That flower definitely looks the part, IMHO. Very pretty!

    Virginia

  • pugetsoundgardener
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Woot! A positive ID, and such a lovely one too! I look forward to it flowering all summer for many years to come. Interestingly, this is the second potential link I've found to Portland. I do wonder who the rose lover was.

    On to pink rose #3. This rose is about 6' tall, upright, and shows no signs of pruning. It's quite vigorous and is pushing new canes up from the ground. It's growing in the roots of a Western Red Cedar that is at least 100 years old (we've seen it in aerial photos from the 1920s, and it wasn't small then). Quite thorny, this one is a repeat bloomer that bloomed continually all summer last year and has no hips. It's growing in a different area than the majority of the roses, so it could be from a different era, although so far they all seem to be from around the same time period.

    The buds are a coral pink, but it blooms out to a somewhat shocking bright pink. Someone who gardened here was a pink lover - the majority of roses are pink as are most of my 30' tall rhododendrons.

  • pugetsoundgardener
    Original Author
    5 years ago

  • jacqueline9CA
    5 years ago

    Wow! Looks like an old HT to me - unfortunately, there are zillions of them. Those large dark green leaves make me think that, as well as the sort of upright growth pattern.

    One rose I have that it reminds me of is "Duet" - look it up on HMF and see what you think.

    Jackie


  • pugetsoundgardener
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    It could be. That would make it a lot more recent than the other roses, but it is planted in a different place so it's possible!

  • jacqueline9CA
    5 years ago

    Since it appears to be a mid 20th century HT, if you post just this rose, with that statement, on the "roses" forum, you might get some more info.

    Jackie

  • pugetsoundgardener
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Done. Thanks Jackie!

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