Beast of a rose in an empty lot

hiclover(Sunset14)April 2, 2014

Today I pulled over to take a closer look at a rose that grows on an empty lot in my neighborhood. It is hard to get a sense of the scale from the pictures; this rose bush is literally the size of a bus. She is only just coming into bloom right now. Last year she was completely covered blossoms for at least a month in the spring.

It is the yellow in the back that I'm talking about, not the Good Doctor who snuck into the foreground. The guards at the gate of the National Lab across the street were giving me the stink eye as I was taking pictures, so forgive me for only taking a couple of bad shots.

Here is the blossom:

Looks like an HT to me. Perhaps someone can ID her?

Anyhow I just thought I would share because it makes me happy to see a rose thriving in such an inhospitable spot.

Marion

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catspa_NoCA_Z9_Sunset14

Good for you, Marion. I've been eyeballing that rose for a decade, meaning to go get cuttings, meaning to try get an ID for it, etc. etc. etc. and never quite getting around to it. So, thank you! Hopefully the experts here can help.

The rose does bloom off and on through late fall, has glossy leaves, and is indeed large (at least 10' x 15', say). It also apparently doesn't get a lick of irrigation all summer, but the water table there probably isn't too far down, or maybe there's a broken pipe or something. It certainly is a survivor.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 10:14PM
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hiclover(Sunset14)

Catspa, 10'x 15' or 20' and at least 10' tall is about right. What impressed me the most is that the root crown is probably 5' across with many healthy looking new green canes.

It is growing in a low spot, and I think it must get runoff from the road, which would at least partially explain its survival in an empty lot with nothing else but gravel and the usual annual grasses and weeds.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 12:41AM
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roseseek

Was there a house on the lot at one time? It's obviously fairly modern, and someone definitely planted it there. It might help to know approximately when it may have been planted. It's an impressive plant and the color is nice. Thanks for posting it! Kim

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 12:41AM
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hiclover(Sunset14)

Kim,

I'm a newcomer to Livermore and I'm not sure what might have been on the lot at one time. I didn't look carefully at the surrounding buildings. All I can say for certain that it is across the road from Lawrence Livermore National Lab, and in an area that was once orchards and ranches but has been taken over by suburbia in recent years. Maybe Catspa has a better idea of what might have been there at one time.

I will visit the rose again the next time I can get out for a bike ride without my kids (might be a while). I'll try to get some better pictures and clues about the age of surrounding buildings.

This is fun. Makes me feel like Nancy Drew.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 2:15AM
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Mendocino_Rose(z8 N CA.)

When I saw the distance shot I thought of Easlea's Golden Rambler, but the bloom is so bright.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 9:16AM
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catspa_NoCA_Z9_Sunset14

I can only say that it has been a vacant lot for at least 20 years. A good bit of the land at that end of East Ave. and on that side of it is still used for agriculture, despite incursions from residential and commercial development. The lot is very likely a remnant from a larger piece that was a farm and, being at the corner of two main roads in Livermore (South Vasco Rd. and East Ave.) and across from the lab, may be zoned for a special or particular use that hasn't been implemented yet.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 10:16AM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

There is a 1937 climber from Brownell -- 'Golden Glow' The color is about right. 'Golden Glow' flourishes in the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden, making a comparison possible. See 'Golden Glow' below.

Jeri

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 4:21PM
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catspa_NoCA_Z9_Sunset14

Here's an aerial photo from 1963 that the Livermore Heritage Guild has posted on the web that includes the lot that the rose is on. The lot is to the left of the asterisk I've added to the side of the photo. It looks like there's a house at the back of the lot, doesn't it? The caption on the photo reads:

"Livermore, California looking South West in 1963. Lawrence Livermore Lab is on the left, Sandia National Lab is on the right. The 4th side has not yet been added to the Sandia Engineering building. The intersection near the lower right is Vasco Rd. and East Ave."

Livermore Lab was opened in 1952 on the site of a naval air station used during WWII that, before then, was 625 acres of ranchland. I was wondering if the lot had been cleared as far back as that but, no, it looks like the lot had a house - or some sort of building - at least until 1963. Now, to find out when it became a vacant lot.

I've included the address for that page below. This photo is the second one on the page, scroll down.

Here is a link that might be useful: 1936 photo, 1963 photo of the labs

This post was edited by catspa on Fri, Apr 4, 14 at 19:28

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 7:26PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

OK Catspa -- Where on the lot is the rose? See below, I've zeroed in on it -- but there's just only so much detail I can pull out of it.

I'll keep trying, but it does look like there was a structure there. Maybe a driveway to it?

Jeri

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 8:12PM
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catspa_NoCA_Z9_Sunset14

It's hard to say, Jeri. My impression is that it would be between the end of the driveway and the intersection, but might be between the two driveways (or wait, is that a 2nd driveway that is further back from the intersection or is it the house on the tiny lot that visible on the Google Earth image below? Time to get out a magnifier, if it will help!)-- hard to get a sense of scale. The bush is right by East Avenue -- I've put a green X to the right of the rose on the Google Earth image.

I'll drop by there tomorrow in my travels about town and get its distance from the intersection and look for remains of driveways and such.

This post was edited by catspa on Fri, Apr 4, 14 at 20:58

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 8:50PM
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catspa_NoCA_Z9_Sunset14

Should add that the large shrub/small tree below the rose in the Google photo is some sort of Prunus, if I remember right -- could be a volunteer planted by birds, or not.

This post was edited by catspa on Fri, Apr 4, 14 at 21:30

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 9:05PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

You know, I think you should just go take cuttings. ASAP.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 10:52PM
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catspa_NoCA_Z9_Sunset14

My talented DH just "draped" the 1963 aerial over Google Earth and we could see that what looked like it might be the end of a driveway into the lot is actually the house on the little lot visible on Google Earth. I've put a grey blob on your blow-up, Jeri, where the house on the little lot is and put red XX on it on the Google Earth image. (See below)

So the rose is located between that structure and the intersection and it doesn't appear to be there in the 1963 photo (???, or at least not at the size it is now...).

In any case, I will take cuttings. There's no shortage of material there (!) and it is a tough, pretty rose (thank you again, Marion, for putting it back on my radar). I wonder if it will be as vigorous without Huey?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 11:58PM
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paparoseman(z8 WA. PO.)

If this rose was grafted on Dr. Huey it is more likely than not that the good Doctor is the deceased in this case. When HE lives the rose that was grafted on top dies and as you noted the area where the canes emerge from the ground is quite a bit larger than would be expected from a grafted rose and still using the roots of Dr. Huey would be now.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 10:59AM
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catspa_NoCA_Z9_Sunset14

Okay, I'm putting my money on 'Golden Showers', 1956, bred by that famous (and somewhat infamous) one-time denizen of Livermore, Dr. Walter E. Lammerts -- which would be totally apropos. The rose has seemed familiar to me, which may be because my mom had Golden Showers growing up the woodshed for decades until its demise a few years ago. Other ideas?

Paparoseman, good observation on Dr. Huey -- Dr. Huey is separated by at least 6 or 10 feet from the base of the rose in question, so was no doubt the rootstock for a now-deceased rose. Being the obnoxious thing he is, photo-bombed Marion's photo -- he's in front, if you look closely.

This rose was planted near an almond tree that it apparently totally overwhelmed (dead carcass of almond pushed over sideways). There is a small birch tree nearby and willows on the lot, which answers the question of how it survives without irrigation. The "Prunus" I mention earlier is a living almond tree.

Here are some more photos I took this morning:

Open flowers:

Even closer:

Red filaments:

Portion of shrub:

Developed bud:

Young bud:

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 3:27PM
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roseseek

I think that's a good call, Catspa. The original photos were far too intensely colored and double for what Golden Showers does here. I was also considering Buccaneer as a possibility, but the foliage in your photos is more Golden Showers than that. The Huey several feet away could easily be a root sucker from that plant. Anything which broke that root could easily stimulate it into growth. That could be any mechanical damage, including gopher activity. Kim

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 3:56PM
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catspa_NoCA_Z9_Sunset14

There are a ton of gopher mounds in the vicinity and all around, Kim, so could easily be that the Dr. Huey bush did originate from that rose's rootstock.

What a magnificent specimen this rose is!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 5:15PM
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roseseek

Many roses become magnificent like that as long as they are suited to where they are and receive the minimum of what they need. Mostly, that means they're left unmolested. This thing really shows you that, other than keeping it "within bounds", pruning isn't required for survival, doesn't it? Now you can understand the historic stories of amazingly enormous roses in Southern California. Read Southern California Gardens by Victoria Padilla for stories about Cl Teas and Tea-Noisettes which achieved such mammoth proportions that guests at hotels were able to sit in their branches along the veranda. Our climates don't usually inhibit such performance, other than sun burn, gophers, fires and lack of water. Give them what they want, or at least, the minimum of what they require, leave them alone and they are amazing! Kim

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 5:45PM
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ArbutusOmnedo 10/24

I can't contribute anything to the id, but the buds and bloom on this rose are very very similar to those on the Rogue Valley Mystery Rose I recently made a post about. That is the exact style of "reddening" the Mystery Rose's buds possess. Possibly a few less petals, but it is a smaller plant right now. The foliage of this rose is much glossier and healthier looking than the Mystery Rose's though. Does Golden Showers have any foliage issues in SoCal as far you know Kim?

Jay

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 12:01AM
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roseseek

Immature, stressed and severely pruned plants can have some issues with all three major diseases, Jay, but I encounter ignored plants of Golden Showers which seldom suffer from anything. It's been a popular, inexpensive bare root and bud and bloom canned plant for decades and has often been planted by mow/blow/goers when something has been needed. Many locally are grown free standing as large, open, flowering shrubs quite successfully. It's definitely one which enjoys being permitted to do as it desires in these parts. Kim

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 12:17AM
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hiclover(Sunset14)

Catspa, I'm so glad you went to visit the rose today and got better pictures than I did. I think that the yellow color was more intense in my pictures because I took them right after the last storm passed through, so the blooms had not faded in the sun. That, and the Google image hosting software automatically cranks up the color saturation on the photos I post -- I'm going to have to figure out how to change that setting.

The historical images of Livermore that you linked to are really interesting too. My house, built in 1964, would be just below and to the right of the 1963 image that you posted. In fact you should have stopped by when you went to visit the rose today. You could have helped me rip out a sidewalk and build a stacked concrete wall -- just kidding-- but seriously, I would love your input on the garden that I am overhauling right now.

Thanks to everyone for indulging my curiosity and putting a name to this rose. I'm just so glad that I finally pulled over and took a closer look after eyeing it from the road for more than a year. It is truly an impressive specimen of a rose.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 1:28AM
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