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What was Australia's first rose?

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What was Australia's first rose?

Post by hariet~rose on 13th January 2014, 21:37

Hello rosebuds, have you ever wondered (1) what the first roses propagated in Australia were and then later (2) which rose was the first to be bred in Australia ? Does anyone know? Might be nice to have a bed of colonial roses..
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Re: What was Australia's first rose?

Post by Balinbear on 14th January 2014, 14:44

You would have to say that there is a pretty good chance that, even if anyone knows what the first rose bred here was, it probably does not exist anymore.

If it did exist proving its identity would be another problem.

But yes keeping Aussie roses going should be the aim of any rosarian in this country. We have a couple of the early Aussie Teas (1900s) and some of the "found" ones but really the identification of all of these is up in the air.

If you do  a search of Aussie breeders (if you know their name) you can get a list of roses that have been credited to them but when you look the plant up you will find them to be lost or extinct.

Even a some of roses sold as being bred by Alistair Clarke (who was quite prolific with his breeding in the early 1900s) have their ID suspect due to firstly his leaving his breeding book out in the rain to be lost for ever, secondly not having colour photos of the plants and thirdly the passing of the generation who he named roses after or gave roses to.

So like most things most roses get consigned to history. Shame really but I guess with changing fads colours get out of fashion and even growing roses has its ups and downs in popularity.

I know it is a dream of mine to stumble down a country road and find an old home surrounded by unknown tea roses but it simply is not going to happen. Not up this way at least though we did think we had found something special once. An old house (was a Cobb and Co stop back in the mid 1800s) was going to be removed and it had an old garden around it which was going to be demolished. I was doing work for the owner and asked if we could do a salvage job on the garden before the bulldozers moved in. He said ok as long as we were out of the way in two days.

It was stinking hot but we worked on that yard for the whole weekend. We got a couple of large elkhorn and staghorn ferns, orchids, heaps of old azaleas and other stuff. We had a dozen ute loads of stuff (apart from the staghorn and elkhorn ferns and the orchids I'll be dammed if I know where it has all gone).

In the collection of plants was an old looking rose (only one in the garden)with pink/white flowers with a delicious scent. We thought that it had to be old going by the age of the garden and we dug it up and planted it in our garden. It turned out to be Pink Chiffon a 1956 Floribunda. It is still growing in our yard (after a few moves) 24 years later.
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Re: What was Australia's first rose?

Post by rosebud on 14th January 2014, 14:59

Susan Irvine has written about identifying numerous Alister Clark roses through some determined detective work. I recall reading how she tracked down some elderly recipients of Clark's roses who had connections with or memories of the persons who had roses named after them. Unfortunately, I can't recall which of her books this story is in. Similarly, the history and identify of a number of Clark's roses is documented in 'The Women Behind the Roses' by T & A Govanstone.
And similar to Balinbear, I too hold hopes that I will one day encounter old roses down some neglected country lane. Oh, well can always dream ...
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Re: What was Australia's first rose?

Post by Balinbear on 14th January 2014, 15:08

Rosebud
The search for Alister Clarke roses were in her books Garden of a Thousand Roses and A Hillside of Roses. The two were also published in a combined version (with better paper for the photos). We have a copy of the combined version which I pick up every now and again and read through it.

How did you go in the heat a couple of weeks back?
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Re: What was Australia's first rose?

Post by rosebud on 14th January 2014, 15:20

Thanks, Balinbear. I have read both books but don't have copies. Will keep an eye out for the combined version though.
The hot weather has been horrible. My poor roses are already struggling with the limited grey water they receive so the extreme weather has not helped. I have planted noisettes, bourbons and hybrid musks in the hope they will cope better here, but they are just hanging on. Even the teas have given up the ghost as far as flowering. Hoping for rain soon so that the autumn season is better.
On a good note, hubby is currently setting up a more permanent water supply from our little dam. Probably in time for the wet season!!!  Rolling Eyes 
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Re: What was Australia's first rose?

Post by Balinbear on 14th January 2014, 15:36

We have a bore for our garden. It's not a good one at the best of times but it usually lets you run a sprinkler all day if you wanted to. This dry spell has reduced this to a couple of hours.

As it was going to get hot, I rigged up a pump onto the our dam to pump water directly into our bore which then pumped the water though the pipes. It let us run 8 sprinklers at once. It certainly saved all the perennials etc. The roses would have been okay as they seem to be able to handle the dry apart from the burnt leaves an burned buds.

And yes flowers have been in short supply.

Which Noisettes and Hybrid Musks did you plant?
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Re: What was Australia's first rose?

Post by rosebud on 14th January 2014, 17:39

You sound very organised, Balinbear! Had hoped we'd have had some decent rain by now!
I have an old Buff Beauty that I brought up from Sydney - tough as old boots, but it's reserving energy for the Autumn flush (I'm hoping). Last winter I planted Felicia, Penelope and Prosperity. Prosperity is struggling a little as I have planted it near a large black wattle that is taking all the moisture it can get right now. Hoping it too will recover with the wet.
For the noisettes, I have Crepescule, Reve d'Or, Mme Alfred Carriere, and Narrow Water. Narrow Water was gorgeous in early Spring but is just hanging on right now.
The Teas that are doing well at the moment are G.Nabonnand (in full flower and gorgeous), Carlsruhe Maria Bruhn, Mrs B R Cant, (from Bruce in Glenorie - extremely healthy) Mrs Reynolds Hole, Catherine Mermet. Others are surviving but should recover well for Autumn when we have decent rains (a bit of a theme developing here).
I'm coveting noisettes for an arbour/arch just recently built; Lamarque and Aimee Vibert and Alister Stella Grey. Any experience with these here?
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What was Australia's first rose

Post by rosebud on 14th January 2014, 17:48

Oh, and I forgot to mention.  We also have a bore which we used last summer.  We were very excited when water came gushing out and happily watered our thirsty roses.  Then noticed the leaf margins were browning - just a little too much salt for our fussy roses!
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Re: What was Australia's first rose?

Post by Balinbear on 14th January 2014, 18:24

It is interesting. We may have had a dud Narrow Water and crepuscule but neither worked for us. Plant Lamarque and stand back. Rev d'Or does well at our place as does Mme Alfred Carriere. Mme Claire Jaquier is another performer though it only flowers in Spring. Duchess d'Auerstadt and William Allen Richardson are also quite good though ours are not in the best location.

The Hybrid Musks do well up our way. Try Cornelia it is quite nice as is Francesca and Nur Mahal.

Our G.Nabonands are not flowering at present but we had a flush in November. Mrs BR Cants have been pumping out the flowers. Ours are grown as climbers (I sent Bruce some Budwood which he is trying to see whether ours are actual climbers or just tall teas) though we are trying to keep some as shrubs. Catherine Mermet we have never been able to grow. The ones we have bought have lived for 12 months and stopped growing. I don't think she likes the humidity. Marie Van Houtte was great before Christmas as were the Comtesse de Larbarthe as was Mrs Graham Hart (yellow climbing Tea). The Cochets have also done well especially the Pink climber

However, I find our Teas are better in April - June when it cools down a bit. The flowers have more colour and last longer.



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Re: What was Australia's first rose?

Post by hariet~rose on 14th January 2014, 18:30

In my quest for lists of what roses people were growing in the 1800s in Australia I made four discoveries. (1) was a terrific rose catalogue from 1913, which i now have as a pdf (how do i post it for others to see?? Brundett 1913, Victoria) - it is a fascinating read (2) a book that i would like to read and maybe Balinbear you know about it already "Tea Roses: Old Roses for Warm Gardens" by Drage & Durston 2008 (3) the Heritage Rose Association who have a very nice web site and also they produce a journal - sample copies look very interesting (4) a book from 1886 by John Ednie Brown called "A practical treatise of tree culture in South Australia" where in Chapter XXXIV, p. 115 it is written "Rosa rubiginosa (The sweetbriar) Cultivate by the seeds sown on line of fence. With care and attention this makes a failry good hedge fence".  

This rose grows as a weed in my district. The hips make horrible jam.

I also have a lead for a rose list from the mid 1880s but i need to wait until i get down to the big smoke to chase that down.. by the way in the 1913 catalogue they were selling roses plants for 3/6 .. now I am not old enough to know the currency from then.. but i take it that means 3 shilling 6 pence? my very rough idea is that that amount from 1910 is worth about $10 today?? is that right?  my head hurts with these calculations.. time for a gin and tonic [given that it is a very hot day and all]
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Re: What was Australia's first rose?

Post by Balinbear on 14th January 2014, 20:20

hariet~rose wrote:In my quest for lists of what roses people were growing in the 1800s in Australia I made four discoveries. (1) was a terrific rose catalogue from 1913, which i now have as a pdf (how do i post it for others to see?? Brundett 1913, Victoria) - it is a fascinating read (2) a book that i would like to read and maybe Balinbear you know about it already "Tea Roses: Old Roses for Warm Gardens" by Drage & Durston 2008 (3) the Heritage Rose Association who have a very nice web site and also they produce a journal - sample copies look very interesting (4) a book from 1886 by John Ednie Brown called "A practical treatise of tree culture in South Australia" where in Chapter XXXIV, p. 115 it is written "Rosa rubiginosa (The sweetbriar) Cultivate by the seeds sown on line of fence. With care and attention this makes a failry good hedge fence".  

This rose grows as a weed in my district. The hips make horrible jam.

I also have a lead for a rose list from the mid 1880s but i need to wait until i get down to the big smoke to chase that down.. by the way in the 1913 catalogue they were selling roses plants for 3/6 .. now I am not old enough to know the currency from then.. but i take it that means 3 shilling 6 pence? my very rough idea is that that amount from 1910 is worth about $10 today?? is that right?  my head hurts with these calculations.. time for a gin and tonic [given that it is a very hot day and all]

I was one of the first in Australia to read the Tea Roses Book. It's great and the tea ladies have done a great job. We are also members of the Heritage Roses in Australia Inc and receive the Journal. It does have lots of good information and stories of roses being found all around the place but these are all bred overseas and as a consequence evidence of their identity is "easier" to find but even then you only have to have a look at the Tea Book to see how many roses identified as something in Australia are nothing like the originals bred or are growing overseas.
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Re: What was Australia's first rose?

Post by rosebud on 15th January 2014, 16:37

Thanks Balinbear for the advice re which noisettes and h.musks that grow well up here.  I will definitely give these a try.  Sooo frustrating that we have to wait for bare-rooted stock from southern nurseries to plant.  Oh, well patience is a virtue I'm told!
Would be fascinating to find documented evidence, or even anecdotal evidence, of the types of roses grown in the sub-tropics (ie Sunshine Coast/hinterland) from colonisation onwards.   I   joined the Heritage Rose Society in Australia so I can source this type of information ... unfortunately due to work commitments I have been unable to attend any local (ie in Qld) events where I'm sure stories such as these are exchanged.  Thank goodness for on-line access such as this.
Would love to know, Hariet-Rose what you find out re the 1880's rose list.  Good luck with the search.  Question
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Re: What was Australia's first rose?

Post by Ausrose on 15th January 2014, 17:48

According to my research it is  believed there were roses on the first fleet more than likely one or more of the following types Galicas, Albas, Damasks, Bourbons and Teas. It should be remembered there were no roses on the continent of Australia prior to white settlement. As far as the first Australian bred rose is concerned it is generally accepted it was a Marechal X Chomatella (both Noisettes) and was named Rev. T.C. Cole (1880) after its breeder.

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Re: What was Australia's first rose?

Post by hariet~rose on 15th January 2014, 22:41

Well that is a great lead Ausrose, the Marechal x Chromatella.. I grow Chromatella and it is an interesting rose..

I will keep an eye out for you rosebud on the roses tried out in the tropics..

am thinking of starting a new bed with the roses grown by our pioneers...
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Re: What was Australia's first rose?

Post by Ausrose on 16th January 2014, 04:07

What a great  idea as so many of the Australian bred roses become lost particularly the earlier ones.


Last edited by Ausrose on 16th January 2014, 12:57; edited 1 time in total

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Re: What was Australia's first rose?

Post by rosebud on 16th January 2014, 12:40

Thanks hariet-rose. Love the idea of establishing a pioneer rose bed. Please keep us up to date about which roses you decide to plant.

Fascinating ... a living biography ...
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