I’m sure all old rose collectors end up with some mysteries. You know, you buy a carefully selected and labelled specimen and when it flowers it becomes obvious that this rose is not the one you expected. Sometimes it takes a while before you catch on because you believe it is the one you bought so you ignore all the obvious signs, like it is a large climber when you think it is a small polyantha, maybe red not pink. Anyway, we also collect rose from friends, family, old gardens and even waste land. We endeavour to identify these with limited success. One of the most common roses we get is Souvenir de Mme Leonie Viennot. It comes under different names, the ”Takapuna dunny rose”, the ”Chinaman’s Rose” jiust ”the dunny rose”.
Despite our successes, some “mystery” roses remain mysteries. The fact is there are literally thousands of roses that have been introduced over the years, but then slipped into obscurity. Only the chosen few stand the test of time.
I thought if we publish a few of our mystery roses, someone might recognize one, so to get the ball rolling, here’s a couple of mystery reds…We call this rose Sylvan Beauty. I found it my Aunt’s garden in Mt Eden (Sylvan Ave) when I was tidying the garden up to sell the property. Unfortunately my Aunt was in a vegetative state at this point, so no clues…It is a climber with china characteristics, pointy leaves, occasional white stripes on the very china- red flowers. The scent varies from very little to quite sweet.. At the time it was a very droughty December and it was flowering well in bone dry volcanic soil. It also flowers in the middle of wet winters in clay, so it’s what you’d call unfussy and a good flowerer
“Mum’s Old Red”. No excuses here, Mum was still perfectly with it when I moved her to a granny flat across the drive and downsized her garden. Unfortunately she couldn’t remember where she got the rose from some 40 years before. So it was around in the early 70’s maybe. All her roses had moved onto their own roots due to years of mulch being put on top of the garden, so when I moved it there were plants to share.
It’s leaves are large leathery hybrid tea leaves, but the flowers are flat and sometimes quartered, so not the average hybrid tea of the time.