Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Parents and Offspring

Niche Gardens in Chapel Hill sells roses that perform well with no spray in our area. One of these is the rugosa hybrid 'Sir Thomas Lipton'. We bought this rose for my MIL for Mother's Day a few years ago and I rooted a cutting last year. Unlike many rugosas, this one is easy to root. It's quite a big rose and presumably got its size from R. rugosa alba. Helpmefind lists alba as getting to 5-7' in height. However, I have alba and mine barely tops 3 1/2 feet.

As it turns out, I have both parents of 'Sir Thomas Lipton' in my garden: rugosa alba and the polyantha 'Clotilde Soupert'.

I grew a half a dozen rugosa alba from seed 6 years ago. Alba doesn't seem to mind the hot sticky Southeast a bit. No disease, no problems at all except for Japanese beetles chomping the flowers in June and July. The flowers of rugosa alba smell just like cloves.

'Clotilde Soupert' is about the most sumptuous and romantic-looking rose possible. It has many many petals (over 100 per flower), and a very strong sweet "old rose" perfume. I've heard people complain about the flowers balling in wet conditions, but no such problems here so far. It's quite a small rose too, hard-pressed to reach 3 feet, and thornless. One of my all-time favorites.

'Sir Thomas Lipton' is a fountain-like shrub with long weeping branches. Like 'Clotilde Soupert' it has a wonderful fragrance, and like alba it has a lot of thorns. The family resemblance is rather apparent when you see them all together. Still, STL and its parents reminds of one of those families with two small parents and a son over 6' tall.

It seems to me that in the summer the flowers have more of that rumpled quality that many rugosa
hybrids have, but in the spring and fall, the flowers have the beautiful form of Clotilde Soupert.


  1. Lovely. I have only one rugosa hybrid, Theresa Bugnet, which I love. I believe Sir Thomas has her beat in the fragrance department. Theresa has only a slight fragrance to my nose. I have wanted to get a couple more roses but they will be spring bloomers because of the beetles.

  2. They look good enough to eat! Have you thought of cross pollinating some of your own flowers? It is neat you have the parents in your garden already. I simply love that Soupert!

  3. Sweet Bay your roses are to die for. I'll bet it smells heavenly around your place. They really look great with the raindrops on them. Super pictures!

  4. oh my goodness!:-)

    these are so beautiful!:-)...i am so glad i happened upon you!:-)

    thanks for letting me see!:-)


  5. Sweetbay,

    Stunning and I'm totally jealous of your roses! The ones at Sara P Duke Gardens are the only ones I ever get to see.

  6. They are just so pretty. I'd love to smell 'Alba'. Does it get pretty rose hips. I've heard rugosas get the nice red ones. Clotilde is beautiful, love your pictures!

  7. Sweetbay, I'm so impressed that you grew roses from seed! How long did it take for them to bloom, or are they yet? I've never in my life grown a rose, though I do like some of the old fashioned single, fragrant kinds. I don't have enough sun for one, but I do like visiting rose gardens, which someone else tends, as the smell is intoxicating!

  8. Luscious and delicious ... I can imagine the soft sweet fragrance. How stunning and they all look so robust! All that horse manure no doubt! Beautiful beautiful post! Must be a joy to be in your garden right now.

  9. Tina, I haven't thought of cross pollinating my own roses -- I just let the bees take care of it. :)

    Catherine, yes, all of the rugosas I have get hips, which is really nice.

    Monica generally reblooming roses will bloom their first year, while still tiny, so you can see what they look like. They'll bloom when they're 2 inches high! Last year I started a couple of Gallicas from seed, and I can't wait to see how they turn out. Besides alba and rubra I have seedlings from the rugosas Foxi Pavement, Hansa, and Therese Bugnet.

  10. Sweetbay, Your roses are gorgeous and the parent/offspring aspects are quite interesting...I know very little about growing them. But I love the crinkly leaves of the rugosa and Clotilde is a luscious rose. They need far more sunshine then this garden can proviso I will content myself with enjoying yours...gail


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