The Garden 63: 330-331 (May 16, 1903)


IT was a happy inspiration of M. Pernet-Ducher when he cross-fertilised the beautiful old Tea Rose Mme. de Tartas with Lady Mary Fitzwilliam, and thus gave the world the glorious Rose Mme. Caroline Testout, that bids fair to outrival La France and all other pink varieties, at least for the garden. Mme. de Tartas played a very important part some years previously in giving Rose growers a useful and, perhaps, one of the first Hybrid Teas, namely, Cheshunt Hybrid. On this occasion Prince Camille de Rohan was the pollen parent. Evidently, if we want good results we must look to this parent. In the case of Cheshunt Hybrid a somewhat dull colour was got by using the maroon-coloured Prince Camille de Rohan. Perhaps a bright scarlet or a brilliant pink or yellow would have given us something better in the way of colour, though I have nothing to say against Cheshunt Hybrid in any other respect. When planted out under glass the dulness of colour apparently vanishes, and I can still recommend the Rose as a climber for this purpose, and also for outdoors.

Probably no Rose has made more friends in so short a time as Mme. Caroline Testout. Is there one that combines such vigour of growth with an equal profusion of flowers and quality also as this Rose? And yet there is one defect, and an important one, too, namely, want of fragrance. Its Tea-like fragrance cannot be called sweet. Apart from this, Mme. Caroline Testout is very beautiful, and all who can afford to plant a dozen, fifty, or a hundred of it should do so willingly. As a standard there is no better variety to grow.

If pruned so that every topmost eye of each growth looks outward, and the centre is kept free, a head of blossom remarkable as much for vigour as for profusion will be the result.

A Rose such as this (almost every bloom is good) is sure to be a mark for the hybridist who desires to obtain others of different colours and forms, but bearing the impress of the parent; and already, since the introduction of Mme. Caroline Testout in 1891, we have some thirty varieties owing their existence, directly or indirectly, to this grand Rose.

In 1898 Herr Lambert introduced Grossherzogin Victoria Melita, a cross between Safrano and Mme. Caroline Testout, and a very good Rose it is, of a pale creamy colour. In 1899 a very lovely semi-double Rose, named Dawn, was introduced, which is supposed to owe its origin to Mme. Caroline Testout and Mrs. Paul. This fine shrubby Rose partakes more of the nature of the Bourbon variety in growth, but of the Hybrid Tea in colour.

From America in the same year a sport of Mme. Caroline Testout, named Mrs. Robert Garratt, was introduced. This never made much headway, though quite distinct. I believe it has been eclipsed by the far more beautiful Killarney, apparently another of Mme. Caroline Testout's offspring.

Messrs. Soupert and Notting have introduced since 1899 no fewer than eight varieties which owe their origin, either as seed or pollen parent, to Mme. Caroline Testout. In 1899 they sent out Duchess Hedwig d'Arenberg (Belle Siebrecht x Mme. Caroline Testout), and it is well spoken of.

In 1900 five varieties appeared, one of the best being a sport named Admiral Dewey. This is almost a white Rose, and promises to become a great favourite. Another variety, I think a seedling, appeared in 1900. Its name is Mlle. de Kerjegu. This, again, has won golden opinions, its colour being so very clear and brilliant.

Marie Louise Poiret was also of this year. It is a fine show Rose, beautiful in form, and very sweet. This is a cross between Mme. Caroline Testout and Marquise Litta. Other varieties of this year are La Favourite, Hofgarten Director Groebener, and Beatrix Comtisse de Buissert.

Six sorts, all emanating from Mme. Caroline Testout, appeared in 1901; of these Minna Barbanson (Mme. Caroline Testout x Mme. Abel Chatenay) and Mme. Edmee Metz (Mme. Caroline Testout x Ferdinand Jamain) are very promising. The other varieties are Elizabeth Von Reuss, Faivre d'Arcier, Mme. J. P. Soupert, and Papa Reiter. The latter, described as Yellow Testout, is very unsatisfactory here, but probably on the Continent it would prove of some value.

Last season, 1902, witnessed the advent of what must be a valuable new climber in Climbing Caroline Testout. This, together with England's Glory, which is not of the Testout race, will prove grand additions to our hitherto meagre number of pink climbing Roses. M. Guillot gave us William Askew, which appears to be a higher coloured Caroline Testout, and M. Croibier introduced Marie Croibier, apparently another seedling or sport. Laure Waltine and Frau Peter Lambert both have the Testout blood, the latter being a strange blending of Kaiserin Augusta Victoria, Mme. Caroline Testout, and Mme. Abel Chatenay, obtained apparently from two distinct crossings.

This season, 1903, there are twelve novelties announced already, each one bearing some relation to Mme. Caroline Testout. Probably two of the best will be Souvenir d'Helene and Marguerite Guillot, both from M. Guillot, who has hitherto given us some fine Roses. From other raisers we receive Alice Hewetson, Capitaine Soupa Clairette Onof, Dr. Huas, Edmee Roger, Souvenir d'Anne Marie, Helene Welter, Mme. Augustas Sommereau, Princesse Marie Mertechersky, Winnie Davis, and Pan American. This latter comes of good parentage, namely, American Beauty x Mme, Caroline Testout, so that it should prove of value.

All the above-named Roses, with the exception of England's Glory, owe their origin to Mme. Caroline Testout, either as seed or pollen parent or as sport, and it is reasonable to suppose that they all possess merit of no mean order. It is rather curious to notice that none of the hybridisers have used the seed parent of Mme. Caroline Testout in their experiments. One would have supposed if the good old Rose Mme. de Tartas had been crossed with a Rose equally as good as Lady Mary Fitzwilliam, but of yellow or crimson or white colour, that some varieties quite as striking as Mme. Caroline Testout would have resulted. In any case it is worth a trial, because if this glorious Rose can be had in yellow, crimson, and white, what grand decorative Roses we shall have. PHILOMEL.