“…the dark carmine climber named after Dr. Huey…has been tested for four years and it is distinct as a large, semi-double, deep red climber of one period of bloom. It is hardy and the color illustration portrays its beauty. The name for it, “Dr. Huey,” was announced at the meeting of the American Rose Society held in the Bloomfield Gardens on Jun 4, 1919 when the rose created great enthusiasm among the experts there.”
—The American Rose Annual
How soon we forget.
I have finally taken it upon myself to spend the last two weeks researching the nature of “rootstocks” and the current practice of the grafting of roses and of Dr. Huey in particular. It was Time. I began with an early morning jaunt in my own immediate locale and found plenty of evidence that Dr. Huey is alive and well in Mendocino County, home to many very old established gardens. Testimony began right at home. No need to convince me of the beauty of this lovely old fashioned rose.
Dr. Huey living happily among yellow blossoms
A climbing Dr. Huey lending its charm to a bare crepe myrtle
Dr. Huey with a happy pink and white companion
More Dr. Huey beauty
Dr. Huey bringing loveliness and color to a casual garden
Now, yes, yes, I know. Dr. Huey’s strength was recognized as a perfect rose to graft beautiful tea roses, fancy fare onto, borrowing from its qualities. Fine. I get it. I have a plum tree in my yard I would love to graft a “bigger, better” plum onto. However, I do think it’s sad that Dr. Huey, once honored by the American Rose Society, has fallen into disrepute as a “common rose” or, worse, a “weed rose.” It’s not.
I also fully understand that due to the vibrancy and resilience of Dr. Huey that he can actually “overtake” the rose someone probably “paid good money for” and that would leave the gardener less than happy. Even I, doing this research, had to come to the realization that one of my favored roses in my very own garden might possibly be endangered by Dr. Huey suckers (shock) and took out two or three of those this morning with no regret. However, I am imploring us to show a little respect for the Dr. Huey that has made so many other roses possible, and to perhaps considering there might be a place for its beauty just as it is in our gardens. There is in mine.
Sweet bouquet garnered from the fallen “suckers”
The rose is, according to fossil evidence, 35 million years old. Garden cultivation of roses began over 5,000 years ago, most likely in China. There is a history that I believe ought be respected, cherished, loved and to be grateful for. Dr. Huey most certainly falls into a very important part of that history. Be kind.
For the record, I did reach out to the David Austin folks in Texas. I was told I should email their technician, Michael, who was out of the country, but, bless his heart, he did get back to me straightaway. Here was his input:
Thank you for your email…Since I have never grown roses on Dr. Huey personally (we use Laxa over here in the UK) I am not sure of the answer but looking around gardens in the States I don’t think you see too many Dr. Huey so I think not a huge proportion will end up as it. The change of it happening [reverting] is, I am sure related to, as you say, the diligence of the gardener but it would also be related to the strength of the rose and one that suffers more from disease [or frigid winters] is more likely to have the Dr. Huey grow through than a strong growing, healthy variety.”
I must invite Michael to California for his own personal tour of Dr. Huey roses in May. It would not take long.
Love and rosey blessings,
Book News: An excerpt from Plant Whatever Brings You Joy has now been published in the June issue of the Dutch version of Ode Magazine. I cannot wait to see one of my stories translated into Dutch, particularly as that particular story took place in Amsterdam!
Southern California readers, please watch for an excerpt from Plant Whatever Brings You Joy in the June issue of Whole Person Calendar, on stands May 27th!
…I also hear tell that my book is being featured in the window at Santa Cruz Bookstore, which was heartwarming to learn. Thank you!
Posted on May 22nd, 2011 by Kathryn
Filed under: Plants