News about Roses Bermuda Rose Society and general Rosey News
Read all about our very own Mr Rose from "The Royal Gazette"
Bermuda’s Mr Rose
Bessie's Rose Mystery Rose
A bouquet of these yellow hybrid tea roses were –presented to Bermudian Bessie Ramsbottom when she visited the Rose Test –Gardens in the New York Botanical Garden.
The roses were from unnamed, unregistered hybrid tea seedlings found there. Considered unsuccessful, these seedlings were –destroyed.
Miss Ramsbottom took her bouquet back to Bermuda and her nephew, Basil Hall, managed to get one of the blooms to sprout roots and grow. It adapted fairly well to Bermuda conditions and grows into a sturdy bush 5ft tall.
Its leaves are dark green and glossy and new growth is red. The blooms open from pointed buds and are a –delicate clear yellow colour.
It was named Bessie’s rose on the occasion of Miss Ramsbottom’s 100th birthday in 1994.
Peter Holmes our very own "Mr Rose"
Peter Holmes took home 15 first place prizes for his roses at the Agricultural Exhibition last week. Mr Holmes is a dedicated member of the Bermuda Rose Society and has more than 150 different roses on his Tee Street, Devonshire property.
One of his roses that won many prizes was his carefree beauty rose, a modern shrub rose. It won the best rose in show trophy, best in class, first prize and the bloom progression trophy, a separate entry.
“The trick [to having them at their best for judging] is to catch them when they are just starting to bloom,” Mr Holmes said.
Sometimes knowing the mind of a rose can be a mite tricky. He only won third prize for Bessie’s rose, because of mistiming. Some people say, a real lady never lets herself be hurried, and this proved true with Bessie’s rose, classified as a Bermuda mystery rose, because its original identity is unknown.
“The one I had at the agricultural show hadn’t opened properly,” he said. “That was in the morning when they were judged. By the afternoon, after the judging, it had opened properly.”
In a competition, prize-winning roses have to also be extensively groomed; leaves out of place or with brown spots are a ‘no-no’.
Although Mr Holmes said he “doesn’t do much” to the roses growing in his garden, he and his wife Felicity spend about two hours each day working with them.
The Holmes are of a slightly experimental nature, and are always willing to try new things to improve their garden. Right now Mr Holmes is trying horse manure on his roses. He said it is too soon to tell whether they will be improved by the manure. He has also tried growing roses straight out of large bags of Miracle Grow, a soil mix product.
“It’s worked out all right,” he said. “Next year I might try my own mixture using compost.”
He also feeds his roses twice a year with a mixture that includes bone meal, blood meal and magnesium sulphate, commonly marketed as Epsom salt.
In his back garden he has erected a raised bed of roses with old cedar and spice tree trunks to provide a jungle gym for climbing roses. The rose beds have been raised because he recently had his knees operated on and can no longer bend down as easily.
“I started growing roses about 15 or 20 years ago, but only got into it seriously about ten years ago,” said Mr Holmes, who is a quantity surveyor by profession. “I have always had a green thumb, so I have always grown plants and flowers. We have a slat house full of things. Most of my roses were bought from the Bermuda Rose Society or I grew them myself. They are about $30 for a small cutting.”
Like many growers he highly prizes his Bermuda mystery roses. He has 27 different types in his garden.
“I am most proud of all of my entire rose collection, although some of them grow better than others,” he said. “For example, I have a rose called ‘Françoise Juranville’. It was a mystery rose named after Elizabeth Carswell who is a former president of the Bermuda Rose Society. The mystery of Mrs Carswell’s rose was solved through DNA testing and it was identified as ‘Françoise Juranville’. It is a prolific rambler. It will grow an inch a day if it is not pruned regularly. I have let it go right now because it is flowering. ”
Mr Holmes said if you are looking to start a rose garden, you might start with Bermuda roses, which have grown on the Island for centuries with little intervention. They are survivors and have stood the test of time.
“They tend to do better than hybrid roses which are often meant to be grown in the United Kingdom and the United States and do not like too much heat,” said Mr Holmes. Hybrids are a genetic combination of two different roses, sort of like a mixed breed. They are often flashier and more fragrant than other rose types.
Mr Holmes thought August might be a good time to start a new rose garden, when cooler temperatures and increased rainfall are only a short time away.
“You don’t need to water your roses every day, but they like a bit of water now and again,” he said. “After prolonged periods of drought they do start to droop a bit.”
A good way to learn more about rose growing is to attend a meeting of the Bermuda Rose Society. They will be having their annual general meeting on May 4 at the Horticultural Hall at the Botanical Gardens. The public can have a look at roses on sale for members from 1pm to 2pm. The members’ sale is at 3pm. Membership is $30 annually and the group meets once a month, from October to May.
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Gregg Lowery of Vintage Gardens Antique & Extraordinary Roses. California. http://www.vintagegardens.com/
Gregg's blogg on his recent visit to the Bermuda Rose Society February 2010
Now before you summon up a picture of me sifting sand through my toes on the beach, let me paint a picture rather chilly temperatures—not much different than Northern California at the moment. Roses were leafless, yet blooming. My hosts, Peter and Felicity Holmes took such good care of me that I really wasn't ready to return home today... They kept me stocked with coffee and sandwiches, cold beer and 'Dark and Stormys'—dark Bermuda rum and ginger beer—and all manner of lovely feasts. And the whole community of old rose lovers in the Bermuda Rose Society saw to it that I visited dozens of gardens, nurseries, and the wonderful propagation facility at Tulla Valley. Dinner parties are a splendid respite from pruning!
The roses of Bermuda are a very special thing; and while we often think in America that we invented the idea of collecting old roses and passing them around, the Bermudians have been at it a good deal longer than we have, starting in the early 1950s. They take special pride in having preserved all of the roses that have been found on the islands there, and passing them around so that Bermuda is full of roses, peaking out from every hedgerow of hibiscus, and spilling over the old limestone walls, and climbing up to the glistening white roofs that make Bermuda such a beautiful place.
Over these years the Bermudians have taught us a lot about preservation, and I tried to share with them just how important their efforts have been to the old rose community. Such a dedicated group of people, and they haven't let up in more than half a century.
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One of our favourites for cutting, this has been moved back from the ‘Tea’ classification (though it is obviously a Tea) to Mysteries, because its colouration is at variance with the descriptions of ‘Anna Olivier’ (Ducher 1872) grown elsewhere.. This is a vigorous bush with good form, growing to a height of 5-6 ft. (1.5-1.8 m). The foliage is light to medium green. Buds are pointed, showing faint pink colour and open to buff or pale creamy-yellow high-centred blooms sometimes tinged with pink. Turning a deeper yellow with maturity, the blooms can be as much as 3 ½ in.(9 cm) across. When fully open, the centres are quite muddled. Both peduncle and receptacle are finely bristled. Balls in wet weather and can be prone to blackspot. Blooms all year, prolifically. When the Australian ladies and authors of the book, Tea Roses, Old Roses for Warm Gardens, visited Bermuda in 2010, they were most positive that our Anna Olivier is the rose ‘Etoile de Lyon’. Gregg Lowery of Vintage Gardens agrees with this identification. They also said that in Australia it has been sold under the name ‘Lady Roberts’.