Monday, February 15, 2010

Florida's Mystery "Pink Cracker Rose"

Once common all over Tampa in older neighborhoods due to its remarkable toughness, remontancy and fragrance, this iconic China rose has baffled me since 1984 when I was not into roses yet, but worked at a retail plant nursery and people would bring in branches to ask me what I knew about it (nothing). So I gave several samples to the Tampa Rose Society as they soon got back to me with the the following:

That it is a China Rose ( that meant nothing to me until I went mental over in Denver in Denver after using Peter Beales's 'Classic Roses' to try to ID it once again for an elderly Tampa landscape client)...they said the original plants were sold for Mother's Day of 1932 by the legendary and now long-closed Holmes Nursery due north of Tampa.

For years now I have had two favored choices as possible IDs....'Santa Rose' and 'Burbank, both bred by Burbank himself. I have since learned that both men knew each other, and have been told that both had a "Barnum and Bailey" flair for promotion. It has long been known that Mr. Holmes travelled the world for exotic plants for his lovely old style glass greenhouses....may he visited Mr. Burbank or vice versa and those Mother's Day plants on sale were the result?

I will soon post this blog entry at the page I created for this rose at some time ago. Click on the link below to see quite a few photos I have posted there of this cast iron beauty that LOVES Florida, a state long considered hostile to most roses. It VERY rarely sets hips and only has a few times has its pollen been accepted by parent roses...which is VERY frustrating since it utterly thrives here even in neglected or abandoned properties. But I will keep trying. Enjoy, John

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