"Everblooming Roses" by Georgia Torrey Drennan
Available on CD from the Heritage Rose Foundation:
by Georgia Torrey Drennan,
published in 1912.
Price $45.00. In PDF format.
Send $45 in cash, check, or money order to:
6356 Georgetown Road
Fairfield, Ohio 45014
In a discussion about the origin and identity of 'Champneys Pink Cluster' and 'Blush Noisette', Leonie Bell, in her article The Two Roses of Charleston * writes:
Mrs. Bell's research and study of roses frequently lead her into the rose books published in the 19th and early twentieth centuries by the likes of Prince, Redoute and Thory, Buist, Rivers, and Georgia Torrey Drennan. Born in 1843 on Round Hill Plantation, Mississippi, Mrs. Drennan would have been 69 years old when her book was published implying a long gardening career in the deep South. True to the title, Everblooming Roses, Mrs. Drennan writes about the repeat blooming roses she grew or was familiar with. Although not perfect in every detail, Mrs. Drennan's knowledge and perspective on repeat blooming roses grown in the southern United States is insightful and fascinating to read. She describes numbers of roses by using local common names which can be misleading. And she mistakenly claims that 'Souvenir de la Malmaision' was the first bourbon rose. In her chapter on Bourbon roses she writes: "I am not acquainted with a rose that remains fresh on the bush as long as Malmaison, nor buds that keep fresh and fadeless longer when cut. Apolline is not a very famous rose, but I have found it one of the most remarkable bloomers, and for bordering beds of larger, taller roses, I know of no rose to surpass this purplish-pink little Bourbon. It blooms as freely in such positions as petunias or any free flowering annual plant. The only regret is that purplish tinge. White flowers always improve the tone of such colour among roses."Her chapters discuss the following classes: Tea, Hybrid Tea, Climbing Tea, Bengal (china), Hybrid Perpetual, Polyantha, Bourbon, thornless roses, and Lord Penzance eglantine hybrids. Also included is a 54 page long descriptive list of roses by class and color with personal comments. There are a total of sixteen full page black and white photos. *Published in the 1983 Royal National Rose Society Annual. --kbk
Everblooming Roses: A Personal Introduction
The Rev. Douglas T. Seidel
It was my first week as a Freshman and I had been parted from my Old Roses and Rose books for the very first time. A visit to the caverns of the college library would soon ease my ache. A quick perusal of the "R" section of the card catalogue directed me to the shelf where Georgia Torrey Drennan's tome had been waiting just for me! The exceptionally fine black and white plates (are they the author's own? ---no other credit is mentioned) gave me my first idea of what some of the real classic varieties of the past looked like in a day when such photos were hard to find. 'Agrippina' (alias 'Cramoisie Superieure') was shown so carefully that it could easily eliminate all imposters. The pictures of 'Bon Silene' and 'Souvenir d'un Ami' helped me understand what the true Tea roses were supposed to be. So on that early September day a life-time ago I checked out Everblooming Roses and was the first to do so in the book's fifty-five years on the library shelf! As I got to know her pages, I would return many times to Mrs. Drennan and her roses.
Looking at Mrs. Drennan's volume today almost a century after its publication, her work is quite unique in two ways. First, she wrote in 1912, just twenty years before Mrs. Frederick Love Keays' premier article in the American Rose Annual. Mrs. Keays was at the forefront of an important revival of Old Rose research and preservation in the 1930's and 40's. But Georgia Torrey Drennan gives us a window into the rose garden at the dawn of the twentieth century. Dowager Teas were still holding their own with the new Hybrid Teas, and the Hybrid Perpetuals and Chinas were not yet passé. She gives us the picture, in other words, before the Old Roses were old.
Mrs. Drennan's work stands alone for a second reason. She writes as a Southerner for people who grow their roses where winter cold is not a factor. I have been growing these everblooming types above the Mason Dixon line for almost forty years. 'Old Blush China', many of the early small-flowered Noisettes, 'Hermosa', 'Louise Philippe', 'Safrano', 'Mrs. Dudley Cross' and some others will recover from winter devastation to bloom and rebloom decently. Bur their best show up north is only a shadow of their true capabilities. Mrs. Drennan writes from the American Deep South where such treasures grown almost effortlessly. Who else in the long line of Rose authors has penned prose so lovingly about 'Marechal Niel', the white Tea 'Niphetos' the elusive 'American Beauty' or the purple Hybrid Perpetual, 'Pius IX'?
A word of caution as you make forays into the pages of this book. Mrs. Drennan is an amateur in the true sense of the French word. She loves her subject and is eager to communicate a wealth of information. Some of this is quite accurate. She uses the spelling of Philip Stanislaus Noisette's name that occurs on his family papers. But there are times when she is recording the rose lore of plantation days, and one wonders if reliable facts haven't become obscured by the charm of the yarns she tells. When she equates the Shakespearean 'York and Lancaster' with a variegated China she knows, it is with the complete disregard that long-standing tradition has when it comes to the hard, cold facts of history. (But I always have wondered about that China). If one studies these pages thus advised, there is much Mrs. Drennan has to say to a whole new generation of people who love the Queen of Flowers and who treasure the Roses of the South.