American Rose Annual 28: 22-24 (1943)
The Walsh Ramblers
Secretary, American Rose Society

In commerce as 'Evangeline',
but probably 'America'


Bonnie Belle







Lady Blanche

Lady Gay


Milky Way


Mrs M H Walsh





Wedding Bells


THE mad rush for something new since the first World War cracked the balance-wheels of too many of us, has just about driven out of gardens a large group of the finest climbing roses ever produced. I refer particularly to the Ramblers and especially to some 38 varieties originated 1901-20 by the late M. H. Walsh, of Woods Hole, Mass.

These Ramblers provided bloom in profusion, flowers in such quantities that both plant and the fence, trellis, or whatever support was used were hidden under the masses of lovely little roses, and a few varieties really did repeat in autumn with as much of a display as that made by most of the more modern so-called everblooming Climbers. The plants of the Walsh Ramblers were all reasonably hardy, and as one parent was the beautifully foliaged Rosa Wichuraiana, most of them had attractive foliage which was not hard to keep clean.

Putting up new canes from the base each year a Rambler can be kept always young by simply removing all old canes after the blooming period is over. For a greater display a popular method is to use the theory of "the more plant the more bloom" and let the plants severely alone, except to remove dead canes, until the tangled mass of canes and branches becomes too great for the allotted space, when the entire plant is cut off at the ground and starts over again. Of course this means a loss of one year's bloom until new canes can be grown.

Cuttings of the Walsh Ramblers root readily, so that increase is easy, thus accounting for the fact that in sections in New England they are about the only climbing roses seen. Usually there is only one variety in a locality. Someone was probably presented with a plant, and soon every flower lover in the neighborhood had rooted a cutting or two. With pliable canes coming from their Wichuraiana parent they make much better roadside material than many of the plants now used for the purpose.

According to records Mr. Walsh named thirty-eight Ramblers, about two-thirds of which were quite widely distributed. A few were so like other varieties that they did not "catch on" and have apparently disappeared, while three or four were so unimportant that we have nothing left but the names. If anyone can supply a description of Celeste, Gaiety, Luisante, or Princess, we would appreciate the information.

Although most rosarians know Excelsa and accept it as the best double red Rambler, few are acquainted with Arcadia or Troubadour, either of which could well replace Excelsa. Arcadia is a darker red than Excelsa and is more double, while Troubadour's distinctiveness comes from a bright red basic coloring overspread with maroon. Neither of these are as addicted to mildew as is Excelsa.

Two of the finest of the double-flowered group are the clean-foliaged Minnehaha, with lovely l 1/2-inch pompons of satiny pink which are produced in large clusters, and Nokomis, whose rose-pink flowers are somewhat larger than those of the betterknown Lady Gay (virtually identical with Dorothy Perkins), and are delightfully fragrant.

In singles and near singles, instead of sticking to Evangeline and Hiawatha I would recommend America, Delight, the flame-colored La Fiamma and the distinctly different Paradise, with its quilled and twisted pink and white petals.

Instead of the mildewing Mrs. M. H. Walsh, which is in reality a trailer and not a Climber, there are several other whites. Lady Blanche or Snowdrift are better double whites. Milky Way is a distinct and desirable single white.

So that there may be made available a permanent record of these roses, there follow the names of thirty-eight Walsh varieties with short descriptions of most of them, taken either from old Walsh catalogues or as compiled by Prof. Hamblin.

The flowers range in form from the purely single, through semi-double to well-filled pompons, usually in great clusters of bloom which are all good cutting material.

For some five years Dr. McFarland has endeavored to establish at Breeze Hill a memorial collection of these Walsh roses, established along the 580-foot curved wire fence which is the Hillside Road boundary. Prof. Stephen F. Hamblin, of Lexington, Mass., has provided many plants.


Visit Cape Cod Heritage Roses for more pictures and information.

Walsh: Breeding Ramblers (1907)