Horticulture 38: 478 (June 17, 1880)
H. B. Ellwanger
The Prairie Rose (Rosa rubifolia) is indigenous to America. Seeds of this were sown about 1830 by Messrs. Samuel and John Feast of Baltimore. The seedlings from this sowing were then fertilised by some of the best Roses grown at the time, and from this lot came Baltimore Belle and Queen of Prairies. The Messrs. Feast, together with Joshua Pierce of Washington, have raised nearly all the varieties of this class possessing any merit. Though inferior in quality to the Tea-Noisettes, their hardiness and vigorous habits make them of great value when the more beautiful Noisettes are too tender to be made useful. As an indication of their popularity we may state that, next to the Remontant Roses, more plants are annually sold of the Prairie than of any other class. Baltimore Belle when in blossom gives a display of which anyone may be proud, whether the flowers are viewed individually or in the mass. It is much to be regretted that no further development of this really valuable class has been made. There is no reason why we should not succeed in obtaining a new class of hardy climbers which shall in a great measure combine the good qualities of the Hybrid Perpetual, Noisette, and Prairie Roses. By patient study and care this may be done; who is there that will do it? To accomplish this desired result the Prairie varieties might be made the seed parents, and fertilised by different varieties of Remontant and Noisette Roses known to be good seed-bearers, and that are otherwise desirable.
In the list of American Roses there are several varieties with which I am unacquainted, and the descriptions, therefore, are those of the raisers; or, where in a few instances it was not possible to obtain these, they are described by reliable persons acquainted with the varieties. Whenever possible both the name of the raiser and the year when the variety was first sent out are given.
Prairie Roses possess great vigour of growth, bloom late in the season in large clusters, and though the individual flowers lack many of the desirable features found in other classes, none are more effective in the mass. The following are the leading varieties:—
There have been a few other varieties in commerce, but the above constitute those which have most commonly been grown, and are the only ones now propagated. The most valuable are Anna Maria, Baltimore Belle, Gem of Prairies, Mrs. Hovey, Queen of Prairies, and Triumphant.