American Rose Magazine 4(1): 27-28 (Jan-Feb 1941)
"Ragged Robin"
J. H. Lowrey, Augusta, Ga.

THE request for additional information about the understock known as "Ragged Robin" is at hand. Its correct name is given as Gloire des Rosomanes in "Modern Roses II" which lists it as a Climbing China introduced by Vibert in 1825, and describes it as "very large, semi-double, fragrant, glowing crimson; large cluster. Very vigorous; blooms all season."

William Paul, in his first edition of "The Rose Garden" published in London in 1848, spells it Gloire de Rosomene.

In the twenty-three years that had then elapsed since its introduction this rose had galloped its way over the gardens of France and England. Although Paul listed it under various classes he always refers it back to his classification "Rosa Indica" (which name is used as synonymous with China Roses) bearing the subtitle "Gloire de Rosomene." Concerning this entire subdivision he has the following to say:

"Whence arose the Gloire de Rosomene, the type of this group, it is difficult even to conjecture. It was raised by M. Vibert, but I believe he knows not from what source. The brilliancy of the flowers caused some stir when it was introduced, and cultivators have long been striving to obtain full roses to vie with it in color. I have raised several seedlings, some more brilliant, but none more double. . . . All the kinds of this group do not grow so vigorously as the type: some are moderate growers. . . . The Gloire de Rosomene suffers from severe frost; the progeny is hardy."

In addition to the name type, Paul lists eleven other varieties under his grouping of "Rosa Indica, Gloire de Rosomene." Furthermore some of the varieties he lists under the Bourbon classification he refers back to the above group. Of the variety Gloire de Rosomene (No. 8, Group 29) his description is "Flowers crimson scarlet, velvety, sometimes shaded purple and striped with white, large and semi-double; form, cupped. Habit, branching; growth, vigorous, producing the flowers in clusters. A fine Pole Rose. A free seed-bearer."

CybeRose note: Beaton (1850) recommended
"Gloire de Rosamene" for hedges.

Now a "pole rose" in the England of Paul’s day was a pillar rose. In this book he describes, in great detail and with illustrations, his method of growing them. (It is still the best guide I know for anyone to follow who wishes to grow pillar roses in his garden.) Yet despite his describing it as a "pole rose," Paul, in another part of his book, names "Gloire de Rosomene'' in his list of "Climbing roses of vigorous growth, suited for covering arches, trellis-work, and etc., quickly." Its name does not appear in the varieties he lists under "Pillar or Pole Roses; nor does it appear, nor any member of its group, in his list of "Roses for Hedges. Yet the variety that is today called by the name "Gloire des Rosomanes" is extensively used as a hedge in California. In that case, if the variety is the same, its adaptability for that purpose was discovered much later, although it seems odd that a variety he considered vigorous enough in the English climate to cover things quickly would lend itself to the restrictions of hedge planting in the lush California climate. Still it may be the same variety, or it may be another member of the classification. Maybe the noted old-rose authority, Mrs. F. L. Keays, would do some of her excellent detective work concerning it.

Whatever else it is, Gloire des Rosomanes (in America it is Ragged Robin) is used extensively as an understock by southern California rose-growers. Its roots are said to be particularly resistant to nematodes, and its sap-flow claimed to be highly agreeable to Hybrid Teas in general and Pernetianas in particular. In Georgia it gives highly satisfactory results in gardens that have ample drainage; it stalls or dies if too much water stands around its roots. The belief held in some quarters that plants budded on it do very little after the first year is entirely unfounded. I know of roses budded on it now entering their seventh year in perfect health and in full vigor. It enjoys with Odorata 22449, the happy faculty of quickly establishing itself after spring planting, and sending forth abundant growth and flowers the first season, it planted with drainage conditions to its liking, it, also like Odorata, transplants easily with first-year mortality rate at the vanishing point.