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Cassandra Bernstein, California


"Moser House Shed Rose" graces the woodshed of a landmark Gold Country home in Calaveras County, California that dates from the 1870's. This mystery rose will surely be identified one day. Thanks to the work of California Gold Country rosarians Fred Boutin, Bev Vierra, Lynne Storm and Judy Dean, this large rambler is being studied by rosarians from California and around the globe. This page summarizes part of their work and research.


Storm and Vierra have uncovered details about the provenance of this rose. Samuel Moser, a prosperous school teacher- turned-hydraulic-miner, bought the home around 1870. With his wife Almena and their three daughters, he lived in the Mokelumne Hill, California, home until his death in 1922. An old etching of the Moser House confirms that the home was, in its time, noteworthy and surrounded by trees and gardens. By digitally enhancing an old photo found in a local historical society, we know Samuel and Almena Moser posed for a photo before "The Shed Rose," attesting to its considerable age. While the exact date of the photo is uncertain, the Mosers' clothing is consistent with the attire of the first two decades of the 20th century. A family photograph published in The Romance of Mokelumne Hill depicts Samuel and Almena Moser dressed in the same style clothing with names family members.Their grand-daughter Harriet, born in 1900 and dressed in a middy, appears to be between 11 and 15 years old. By my reckoning, the apparent age of this child helps date the family photo somewhere between 1910 and 1922, the date of Moser's death.


Members of the Moser family continued to reside in the Moser House until at least 1957. Daughter Eugenia, an avid rose gardener, is mentioned in her sister's obituary that was published that year. Other parts of this naturally watered garden have endured for more than a century. "The Shed Rose" is at least 84 years old and probably considerably older - - a rose that large doesn't grow in year.


The bloom form is reminiscent of the wichurana rambler, 'May Queen.' There the similarity ends. 'May Queen' sports shiny, apple green foliage, while the leaves of the "Shed Rose" have an unmistakably grayish cast. Suggested identifications have included the setigera hybrid, 'Baltimore Belle' or other early hybrid setigeras. A rose labeled as 'Baltimore Belle' and photographed by Kent Krugh in a Lynchburg, VA cemetery bears a resemblance to the "Shed Rose." Similar bloom form is shared by "Arcata Pink Globe," which Gregg Lowery found in Arcata, California on California's north coast. I know of only a few setigera hybrids that were blush pink like "The Shed Rose" : Samuel Feast's 'Pallida' and 'Superba' and Joshua Pierce's 'Mrs. Pierce' and 'Jane.' Your comments and suggestions would be appreciated.




Overall Appearance: This vigorous, once-blooming climber clothes itself in pale pink bloom in late May. In my single visit to the Moser House in mid-May 2005, I detected no distinctive fragrance, unusual for a rose with so many blooms. The foliage appeared completely healthy in springtime. 




Growth habit is climbing.





Bloom Form: Blooms are about 2-3 inches, cupped and quartered with a button eye. Color is pale pink. Blooms appear in clusters of at least 7 or 8. Petals are emarginate. Other rosarians report the faint scent of baby powder, but I detected none during my visit. This is how 'Baltimore Belle' finishes. I photographed this rose only once and have never had an opportunity to see if the blooms fade to white. 





Foliage: The matte, tidy leaves impart the overall impression of light gray green, not pewter toned and not nearly so dark as the Albas. Stipules are gland ciliate, petioles glandular. Compare the foliage of 'Baltimore Belle' as photographed by Kent Krugh.





Prickles: The flowering laterals don't appear nearly so heavily armed as the canes from which they spring. The larger canes are distinctly glaucous with two layers of armature: setaceous prickles and small declining prickles in light tan. Unfortunately, I have no detailed information about the basals, their armature or their relative size.





Buds: Buds are quite small and rounded. Sepals are ovate-acuminate, with the edges pubescent and consistently showing two air-borne "horns." Bracts are acuminate. Here is a large close-up for detailed inspection. Peduncles are glandular. The inflorescence seem to be in panicles, though my photos are far from clear.





Hips: Unfortunately, I have no information about hips.




Judy Dean, Lynne Storm, Bev Vierra and Fred Boutin, Personal Communications, 2005-6.


Zumwalt, Eve Starcevich and Zumwalt, Pamela Henrietta, The Romance of Mokelumne Hill, Pioneer Publishing Co. (1990), pp. 171-174. Available from the authors at P.O. Box 96, Mokelumne Hill, CA 93524.


Photograph courtesy of Pat Toolan, Old Rose Conservator, South Australia. Read about Pat.


Kent Krugh, A Woodland Rose Garden


Gregg Lowery, Vintage Gardens.


























© Copyright Cassandra Bernstein 2006. All rights reserved.


"Moser House Shed Rose"

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