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Capitol Corridor
Capitol Corridor
University of California
Capitol Corridor

My Holy Grails

We all have a plant that we’re willing to sell the kids for (or at least rent them out).  Does this sound familiar to you?  I sometimes feel that ya can’t be a dedicated gardener without one “gotta have” plant.  Well, my plants are 2 roses.  I know, everybody on the block seems to sell roses.  BUT I don’t desire any old rose; no sir, I have my heart set on 2 roses that are somewhere in the world, but where?

My quest, on and off for 30 years, started when a dear friend of my mother’s gave her a cutting of ‘McGredy’s Yellow’.  This particular rose was introduced in 1934 the father of the present Sam McGrady and was advertised at the time as a “buttercup” yellow.  Unfortunately, the writer of captions in The Ultimate Rose Book by Stirling Macoboy disputes this description and claims, “Light lemon yellow would be more accurate in cool climates; in hot, the color could be very pale indeed.”  He then continues on about “the rose has deteriorated with age and it takes real skill to grow it to perfection.”

Not will to take the experts on head first, I can tell you that in Santa Rosa, CA, that cutting grew into a magnificent rose bush with butter colored, large blooms.  Maybe the bush never read the “expert” review!

Forward on to twenty years plus- years ago.  I started to live in Vallejo in a house with a totally non-descript yard.  Green foliage plants sparsely planted – no color and no interest.  I got a cutting from my mother’s rose bush and as it grew, planted in the front yard next to the porch.  I received lots of compliments from the neighbors when it bloomed.  By the way, this is considered to large flowered tea rose.  In fact, the rose bush was a major selling point when we sold the house.  Just one proviso from the buyer:  DON’T TOUCH THE ROSE BUSHES, ESPECIALLY THE YELLOW ONE!  Okey dokey, will do!

I figured I could always get another rose.  WRONG!  I have looked all over the internet: finally found two sources!  Yea, the looking is almost over –NOT!  Both sources: Beales in England and Vintage Gardens in Sebastopol, ca,  appear to be gone!  Beales never answered by emails (Peter has died) and Vintage Gardens is holding its going-out-of-business sale this month, limited to stock on hand.

Lucky for all of us that Darrell Schramm is a Master Gardener; he also belongs to the Heritage Rose Group.  One of the members is running my plea to anyone for cuttings.  My fingers are crossed.

Of course, I can go back to the old homestead and see if “my” rose bush is still there.  But I don’t to be the crazy old lady having the hissy fit if it isn’t.

The other rose that I had to leave behind over 30 years ago is the ‘Sunset Jubilee’, another rose that is not in production anymore.  Jackson & Perkins introduced it in the mid 60’s to honor Sunset Magazine.  After a couple of years they renamed it and now positively state they never had such a rose with such a name even when confronted with an old copy of Sunset’s Rose Care Book with the rose on the cover.  That search I’m saving for later!

Posted on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 10:11 AM
Tags: heritage (1), holy grail (1), hybrid tea rose (1), rose (10)

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