My Garden: The intimate magazine for garden lovers, 20: 450-451 (1940)
China Roses
W. L. Carter

I am afraid I cannot go all the way with Mr. Marriott in agreeing that all China roses have similar characteristics in colour variation to Lemesle, the Le Vesuve of the early nineteenth century French rose authorities. By the way, it is not "Rosa" Lemesle, which would indicate it was a rose species instead of one of many China hybrids. This rose is not an instance of slight deepening or paling hue under the influence of the summer sun, but a darkening amounting to a complete colour change. This commences as a streaking, blotching and suffusion on the reverse of the petal it seems to radiate first from the veins until it reaches the edge over which it creeps, and then proceeds to cover the petal face in like manner.

Lesmesle belongs to a China type of which there are recorded other varieties whose colour changes were even more startling. Examples of these include Laffay's Courtesan [Belle Courtisane], a pure white changing to fiery red; Prevost's Camellia, pale rose passing to cerise; and Louis Noisette's Bengale grandes feuilles, whose double blooms opened a delicate rose, changed to carmine, and ended bright purple. A century ago there was a small class about a dozen of China roses with spotted, striped and blotched flowers, none of which, so far as I know, exist today, except in one or two rare instances. I certainly do agree that China varieties in general are among the most brilliantly coloured roses in gardens, and that they delight in hot sunny conditions.

R. chinensis mutabilis to which Mr. Marriott refers is identical with the Tipo Ideale and R. mutabilis I mentioned in my article. Another of its synonyms is R. turkestanica, although its association with Turkestan is obscure. I believe very little is known of its history. The late E. A. Bunyard said a drawing of it by Redouté was in the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, which gives it well over a century. Apart from that, I cannot recall any early reference to this undeniably attractive rose. It has been suggested that Tipo Ideale is of Italian origin, and it is a fact that around the beginning of last century Villaresi, who was superintendent of the Archducal gardens at Monza in Northern Italy, was much interested in China roses, and raised about two dozen new varieties. With me it was not nearly so hardy as other China roses this winter and was badly cut, although the bushes have made fair new growth during the spring and summer. — W. L. Carter.