The Rose Annual, 1955, pp. 95-97
My Masterpiece
GERRIT DE RUITER
Hazerswoulde, Holland

It was August 1914, when cutting budwood as a youth, I found a pretty red flowering shoot amongst a lot of pink polyantha roses, var. Orleans Rose. This I thought a great deviation of colour. Off this shoot a year later I had grown four bushes. This was the start of my first novelty, the polyantha rose Miss Edith Cavell. After I happened to find this sport my hobby was created to observe and select varieties of roses carefully. By this I succeeded in getting varieties in colours as pink, salmon, red and orange, which altogether could be described as the "Orleans Rose Group".

Most of the varieties have been re-selected since, in order to obtain colour fastness, and those later selections have been listed under the same names, but in order to distinguish these varieties from those earlier introduced I have added the varieties from those earlier introduced I have added the word "Superior" in each case.

The following belong to the "Orleans Rose Group":

Miss Edith Cavell 1917
Locarno 1926
Golden Salmon 1926
Superb 1927
Magnifique 1928
Gloria Mundi 1929
Sparkler 1929
Paris 1929
Dolly Varden 1930
Dainty 1931
Ruby 1932
Cameo 1932
Gloire du Midi 1932
Byou 1932
Salmon Glory 1932
Princess of Orange climbing 1935

With the above group I should also mention the following varieties introduced in the United States of America:

Luminous 1932 Orange Rosette 1941
Coral Beauty 1941 Torch 1942

Your request to mention "my masterpiece", I think very difficult to answer. If any one of the varieties I have introduced can be termed as a masterpiece, I would select Gloria Mundi introduced in 1929. The flowers were of a pure vermilion with an orange shade. I do not hesitate in stating that this colour at that time was a complete break, greatly admired by many rosarians as well as by the public at large. Faults as well as disappointments after introduction unfortunately occurred, but re-selected Gloria Mundi Superior are still planted in thousands, especially in greenhouses for forcing and cutting purposes.

As out of this "Orleans Rose Group" no further deviations which were worth introducing could be selected by me, my interest went over to hybridizing of roses.

In 1941 I started to hybridize, and after World War II, my first result was introducing De Ruiter's Herald in 1947. This "Herald" rose has been followed by:

Border Queen Pompadour Red Rosemary Rose
Border King Salmon Perfection Red Wonder
Pompon Beauty Signal Red  

Besides all these hybrid polyanthas the park- or shrub-rose, Lyric, was also introduced.

Last year a British firm introduced my first rose polyantha compacta roses. Certain crosses resulted in a number of rose varieties with compact habit, very hardy, and extremely disease-resistant. The very compact growth makes these varieties particularly suitable for pots, rock gardens, edging and small gardens. The first seven hybrids of this type were named after Walt Disney's noted characters—the seven dwarfs: Happy, Dopey, Doc, Bashful, Sneezy, Grumpy and Sleepy.

Might Gloria Mundi be called "my masterpiece" out of my former introductions; as to my novelties of late years I am convinced that the variety Red Wonder has all the good qualities for the title of "my masterpiece". This is a hybrid polyantha with large red flowers. Red Wonder (Better Times x Poly, seedling) has been tested by me during a number of years and I have always come to the conclusion that the qualities of growth and disease-resistance of this plant as well as strength and colour-fastness of the flowers may be really called outstanding. There is no doubt that this rose, which will be put on the market in the autumn of 1955 in England, will be a good stayer. In front of my house I have planted a border of this variety with the result that throughout the summer I have a border with flowering roses. The flowers last long and drop cleanly before discolouring. I would also mention as one of my best novelties, Rosemary Rose, a very free flowering hybrid polyantha, the colour being rich currant-red, delicately suffused pink. It was awarded the Prize of Rome 1954 in Italy, as well as the N.R.S. Gold Medal.