Let Me Call You Sweetheart? AKA Is this 'Dorothy Perkins'?

vmr423July 21, 2014

We have a rose that was planted at the time the house was built, c.1954. Before my time.

It blooms once- around Mother's Day each year, and is not fragrant. It has small hooked thorns. It has survived with very little attention for most of its c.60 years.

The flowers and leaflets are quite small with blooms being 1" to 1.5" across. Flower color is variable, ranging from palest pink to dark pink.

The former lady of the house used to call it a "sweetheart rose".

The closest match that I can come up with is 'Dorothy Perkins', although HMF says DP has mild fragrance, and scattered bloom after the spring flush.

I know y'all must have seen numerous examples of 'Dorothy'- I hope you won't mind looking at my photos to confirm or rule out the ID?

Thanks,
Virginia

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malcolm_manners

I'm thinking not DP, but not sure. Does it mildew? DP, in your climate, is likely to go through a time of the year when it turns nearly white with powdery mildew. Not that that would guarantee that it is DP, but if it stays clean, it may rule her out.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 7:12AM
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Mendocino_Rose(z8 N CA.)

Does it make long lax canes? It doesn't quite look like DP to me either. I can't tell you for certain what it is. There is a lighter pink version of DP called Lady Godiva. There is a rambler called Sweetheart with flowers somewhat similar to these. The name Sweetheart Rose is usually in reference to Cecile Brunner, but this is not Cecile.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 8:16AM
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rosefolly

That was my first thought, too. If it doesn't mildew, it isn't Dorothy Perkins. I imagine there are places where DP would not mildew, but I have not come across that myself.

Rosefolly

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 12:09PM
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vmr423

Thanks for the responses.

Once I started reading the thread about the other rambler ID and realized that 'Dorothy ' was famous for mildewing, I thought 'DP' would surely have mildewed here after a month of almost daily rain (3 thunderstorms on Sunday). Nope. And I can't recall seeing mildew on her at other times of the year, either, and I think I would have noticed.

I checked out the Walsh rambler, 'Sweetheart', but I think the leaves looked long and thin in the HMF photos. On the other hand, I didn't know how far to trust the photos with the notice on the description page: "Modern Roses 10 says this rose is extinct"...

The description of 'Lady Godiva' said that flowers were darker in the center, but mine are light around the center, then the rest of the flower fades so that they look pretty solid-colored for a bit.

I will mention that I have seen DP in another yard and it is always escaping and needing to be cut back. Whatever this is looks very much the same, but it is pretty mannerly, and stays in its place by the fence, and I'm guessing that it has suckered a bit since there are 3 or 4 cane 'centers', but after 60 years, I would think anything remotely vigorous would have swallowed the yard by now.

And, yes, mendocino_rose, it does make long lax canes that I just try to keep on the chainlink fence. I cut back dead wood, and occasionally cut back anything that is looking too long, but generally, the canes do start to die back once they get that long anyway.

While reading about 'Lady Godiva', I encountered this quote: from a 1935 article called "In Praise of Ramblers":

"There are also dozens of sports and seedlings of Dorothy [Perkins] (Dorothy Dennison, Elizabeth Zeigler, Jean Girin, Lady Godiva, Mme. Auguste Nonin, Christian Curle, and Petit Louis are a few of them, some a little lighter in color, some a shade or two darker, some blooming a week or so earlier, others a few days later, but most of them so much like the original..."

So, who knows- I'll have a look to see if any of those names have photos at HMF, but a rose without fragrance or repeat, but with plenty of small thorns is probably not the sort of rose one would expect to be commercially popular.

One last tidbit in case it sends off any sparks for anyone: it is possible that the rose originally came from Upstate NY, since the original owners of the house came from that area.

Thanks,
Virginia

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 1:17PM
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Mendocino_Rose(z8 N CA.)

I have an extensive collection of ramblers. Some are easy to ID. Many look a great deal alike. Around the turn of the century they were very popular. Breeders produced 100's. Sweetheart came from a breeder called Walsh in Cape Cod. It's not extinct, just rare. Dorothy Perkins was so popular. It's true that usually when someone finds a rambler that it is DP. It came from Jackson and Perkins in NY state.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 8:52AM
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vmr423

Thanks, mendocino_rose. I had some doubts about this being 'Dorothy Perkins' her own self, but as you say, she is the usual suspect.

This rose's lack of mildewing, repeat bloom and fragrance makes me think she might be a 'DP' look-alike and/or descendant instead.

And speaking of 'DP' descendants, I don't suppose you have 'Dorothy Dennison' in your collection of ramblers? There aren't too many photos at HMF, but there are some striking similarities, such as the any-which-way thorns and the slightly fringed sepals. She's a once-bloomer, but I saw no mention of fragrance or mildewing tendencies...

On the other hand, she is said to be "very vigorous", and I can't say that of this-here rose.

One thing I did wonder about was whether some people used 'Sweetheart rose' to refer to a type of rose, and was interested to see that the Greenmantle folks have a 'Sweetheart' category of roses (link below). Have you encountered this before?

Thanks again,
Virginia

Here is a link that might be useful: Greenmantle's rose page

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 4:01PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

The rose I've most-often heard called "The Sweetheart Rose" is the Poly-Tea, 'Mlle. Cecile Brunner.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 8:34PM
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vmr423

Gosh, she's gorgeous.

I would be delighted if my Sweetheart were 'Cecile Brunner', and looking anywhere near that good. 'Confectionery' is the word that comes to mind...

It was actually your post about the delightful White Cecile B. that reminded me to finally ask about my "Sweetheart rose".

A Google search shows that florists use the phrase to refer to any type of small-flowered rose. Apparently, it used to be for roses that resemble 'CB', but is now used for any kind of miniature rose. Google really can be educational, huh?

Thanks for posting that photo- she's definitely a looker!

Virginia

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 10:02PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

Virginia -- in CA, she's almost a cliche -- but a really lovely one.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 10:32PM
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summerseve_gw

It looks like my "Blushing Lucy"......a rambler. It only blooms once for me in zone 6a for the past 7-8 years. "Blushing Lucy" re-blooms in many states, I will try deadheading this year.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 10:38PM
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Mendocino_Rose(z8 N CA.)

I didn't get that you said the rose reblooms. DP definitely doesn't. Reblooming narrows the list. Blushing Lucy does rebloom here(zone 8) Jeri's photo of Cecile looks a lot like your blooms but the leaves are different. I don't have Dorothy Dennison. I'm not very good at IDing from photos. I think I remember hearing about a reference to Sweetheart roses as small roses. It's an old-fashioned term.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 8:46AM
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vmr423

So sorry, mendocino_rose, I must not have been clear- this is definitely a once-bloomer. No mildew, no repeat bloom, no fragrance. She's definitely a survivor, but I wouldn't call her 'vigorous'.

I don't think the leaves or flowers are right for 'Blushing Lucy', and supposedly, she has a strong fragrance, while my rose has no detectable fragrance, alas!

Summerseve, is your 'Blushing Lucy' "strongly fragrant" as described on HMF? She looks pretty sweet in the photos, but the flowers look a bit less petal-y, and the leaves look larger than those on my plant. The leaves on my plant are pretty small, and tend to have seven leaflets...

I'm kinda leaning towards 'Dorothy Dennison' as a possible ID, though I would like a few more photos for comparison.

I read in an old "Garden and Home Builder" in Google Books, that she is not fragrant, with flowers slightly more double than 'Dorothy Perkins', and also that she was sometimes sold under the name 'Lady Godiva'. (Walsh's 'Lady G' was a 1908 release and 'DD' was 1909.) 'DD' is supposed to be "very vigorous", but perhaps mine's a more mannerly clone?

Oh, and the Polish Rose Encyclopedia says that the color is unstable, starting out bright pink, but often fading to pale pink. Just like my rose. And it agrees about the lack of fragrance. (I don't work for Google, I swear, but I do like their 'Translate' service...)

It's hard to say anything for sure with so many similar plants out there, but this seems to be the most similar, I think. Maybe.

Thanks,
Virginia

Here is a link that might be useful: 'Dorothy Dennison' description in Polish

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 3:13PM
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vmr423

jeri_jen, I'll trade your CA cliche of 'The Sweetheart Rose' for our SC cliche of 'The Knockout Rose' any old day...

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 3:15PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

vmr, it sounds like your rose is not nearly vigorous enough to be Dorothy.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 3:55PM
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Patricia43(z8 AL)

I think it looks somewhat like a Pemberton which would have been a rose commonly used in your area, but so would have been Cecile Brunner. Not sure, please someone point out to me why it would not be a Pemberton. Based on what I see, it certainly looks like one. It is too soft in color for some of the others I have in mind. Could it be Cornelia, Felicia, Penelope, etc. I cannot inspect foliage as all my hybrid musks were rounded up.

This post was edited by patricia43 on Fri, Jul 25, 14 at 16:50

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 4:46PM
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Mendocino_Rose(z8 N CA.)

Oh gosh. Looking closely at the foliage I think would rule out Wichurana type ramblers, which includes things like Dorothy Perkins and Blushing Lucy. Patricia might be on to something except the Hybrid Musks should rebloom and I'm thinking the foliage is different. I wish I was a perfect expert. I'm just guessing and probably confusing things more.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 5:35PM
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Patricia43(z8 AL)

Thanks, Pam. I cannot remember foliage but that was my first concern was foliage. Foliage memory is poor. ;-)

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 6:16PM
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vmr423

Were any of the Pemberton musks unscented? I thought they mostly had at least some musk fragrance.

To me the leaves- and flowers- look so very much like a friend's 'Dorothy Perkins' that I pretty much assumed that it must be part of the same general family.

The flowers and leaves are all quite small- the photos might not reflect that too well, so I'm attaching another photo with my hand in it to show scale...

Thanks,
Virginia

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 7:56PM
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Patricia43(z8 AL)

I found DP on another website, ph-rose and I do believe, after that and seeing old photographs c. early 1900s, with the hooked thorns, this is your rose. However, it is stated in several locations that it is highly fragrant. That's the rub as it might be for a Pemberton (fragrance). Incidentally, Pemberton roses also have hooked thorns. Enjoy it and if you take it to Pat at Roses Unlimited, I bet she can positively identify it, or deny its identity as either/or.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 1:22AM
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Mendocino_Rose(z8 N CA.)

That would be a great idea to take it to Roses Unlimited and have them take a look at it personally.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 8:08AM
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vmr423

I was considering a trip up to Laurens this fall to see what's blooming then. When I corresponded with Pat Henry about my summer sale order, she did mention that I should visit in the fall. They're 3 hours away, but I tend to like a road trip in the fall...

I hadn't thought of taking a bit of this rose up for an ID, but I had considered taking some of another rose I'm fairly certain is 'Pax'. They don't have it listed in their stock, but a) someone might recognize it anyway and b) perhaps they would like to carry it, if it can be ID'd as 'Pax' or something else. It is a lovely rose, even if it isn't 'Pax'.

Thanks,
Virginia

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 1:52PM
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