Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Old Blush

This charming rose is an historical wonder, having brought the genes for remontancy to western roses around 1750.....possibly MUCH earlier. It has many names including....'Parson's Pink', 'Monthly Rose' and 'Pallida'. European breeders immediately started interplanting it with their centuries old Mosses and Albas and Gallicas and Damasks to let nature take its course...(they did not know about/had not yet thought up controlled breeding). It was SUCH a potent parent, both as Mom AND Dad, that it soon came to be known as "The Stud Rose of China"!

Within a few years the 'Hybrid Chinas' came about from these random crosses by wind and bee.....this catchall term embraces a GREAT many roses (like one of my favorites, 'Great Western'), most once blooming and lusciously scented (their seedlings however COULD be remontant due to recessive genes from 'Old Blush' surfacing). Other roses from China, like 'Slater's Crimson' and 'Park's Yellow Tea Scented China' soon arrived on the scene and led to many new classes of repeat blooming roses, including the Damask Perpetuals, Portlands, Bourbons, Teas, Polyanthas and Poly-Teas, Hybrid Perpetuals, Pernetianas and, finally, the modern Hybrid Tea. So us lovers of the rose owe a lot to this "studly" great-great-great-great-great-great Grand Daddy.

Here is a photo of a honeybee visiting a bloom on my plant some years ago. You can order a husky, own root plant of this living treasure from the good folks at The Antique Rose Emporium, whom I've been happily buying from and dealing since 1989 when I lived in Denver. This rose loves Florida but is VERY tough and adaptable, and you can rely on The Antique Rose Emporium to let you know if it should do well where you live. Owner Mike Shoup is a fine rosarian and a great guy, and it shows in the respect his business gives to roses and his customers. You can reach them at: 1-800-441-0002
'Old Blush' has the classic "China Rose" perfume....very fruity with a touch of "Old Rose". It is a good hip setter too. But I don't like the taste...too astringent and bitter for me unlike the fruity sweetness of frost-touched hips of 'The Dog Rose' (Rosa canina) that I ate thousands of in Denver from the plants along the High Line Canal east of Fairmount Cemetery, and in the cemetery itself.


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