'Singles Better' (red) and 'Simplex'
(white) with the small-flowered Gallica, 'Cramoisi Picote' in the
1870's granary restored and renovated into a small home for our petite
daughter, Melanie, cried out for a garden of diminutive plants to
surround it. So
that's what Melanie started designing and planting as soon as she
helped clear up the
area surrounding it. The clearing up was a significant one, involving
all the detritus connected with leveling, squaring, reinforcing,
plumbing, and electrifying this building built of stacked Douglasfir
1875 by one of
Cache Valley's earliest settlers.
A fuller story of the conception and
complicated job of the granary's
restoration appears in An 1875 Granary in
Utah Gets a Facelift.
Miniature and Small-flowered
charming are Melanie's myriad miniature and small flowered
roses that have just recently burst into their early summer bloom,
and which were among the first she planted.
small flowered roses of compact habit are excellent for use in small
spaces where they can be enjoyed individually. Their use in edging beds
of traditionally sized roses makes for a charming sight. They are
excellent as well as for
according to Sean McCann (Miniature
for the marking off of mixed borders.
I have a small
display of miniature roses given me by Melanie over the years as gifts
along the edge of our brick patio east of the front porch where they
can be enjoyed while sitting on the benches there.
Melanie reminds me that miniatures are not all the same size by any
means. In fact, of the small bush plants, there are good sized roses
with small flowers and small leaves able to hold their own fairly well,
whereas the smaller micro-minis can be swamped easily by larger plants.
The "Rouletii" described below is a case in point. A tiny plant,
Melanie has constantly to keep clearing away nearby violets to give the
rose breathing room.
Melanie's front garden is
planned with this thought (of swamping) in mind. Close to the building is her
row of mixed
small shrubs, perennials, and the two climbing roses (shown right). In
front of this row is a stone path, then the miniatures and polyanthas,
then a row of antique small-flowered roses and species roses, then,
next to the drive in front of the house, a row of the smaller minis and
The Granary with Climbers 'William Baffin'
(right) and 'John Davis' (left) (Larry Cannon)
Another suggestion for miniatures' is their use in raised beds and, in
Europe, balconies and windowboxes are used extensively to display
miniatures, especially the trailing and cascading types. The miniatures
also afford a wide
variety of roses for the collector who must confine her gardening to
the three sides of a thirty by twenty feet, two-storied house.
The photo at the head of
this piece includes two of Melanie's miniatures by
the Granary's front porch. The oddly named 'Single's Better',
introduced in 1985, is a bushy
miniature rose with semi-glossy green leaves and mossy buds. The
five-petaled flowers are red with a yellow tinge but have little
Also only slightly fragrant is the vigorous white, single rose,
'Simplex', a variety said to have sparked
American gardeners' interest in single-flowered miniatures. Introduced
in 1961 by California's pioneering miniature rose breeder, Ralph Moore,
the blossoms' five white petals surround a gold center.
small-flowered Gallica, 'Cramoisi Picote', shown in the foreground, is
an heirloom rose,
introduced by Vibert in France in 1834. Her stems are
nearly thornless and carry small dark green leaves. The flowers, a
pom-pom type of around two inches across, are full, mottled pink and
crimson but, sadly, have no fragrance. This small-flowered plant needs
plenty of room for, like many Gallicas, it suckers freely and can
spread a square foot in a season. The photo shown was taken in 2000.
The 'Cramoisi Picote' has been since banished to the back garden of the
Granary where it can spread to its heart's content without vanquishing
its more diminutive neighbors in the front.
south in front of the Granary is a charming grouping (shown left). The
modern groundcover miniature,
'Royal Edward', is in the foreground. Directly behind is Rosa wichuriana poteriifolia and
behind that is the taller miniature, the white
'Gourmet Popcorn.' Scattered over the ground below these roses are the
white flowers of Silene unifolia,
a groundcover, and the yellow
blossoms of the tiny Sedum acre.
Lightly scattered throughout are
the delicate blue cup-like
blossoms on the
slender stems of campanula.
'Royal Edward' is a recent introduction (1995) by William D. Ogilvie of
Canada. The medium pink flowers are semi-double and slightly fragrant.
(otherwise known as the Compact Memorial Rose) is a species groundcover
rose of delicately tiny habit, a sport of the larger 1891 species rose
on many grave sites in the last century, R. wichuraiana or Memorial Rose.
This rose has half-inch white pom-pom like blossoms with a slight
fragrance. 'Gourmet Popcorn', a 1986 sport of the 1973, honey-scented
'Popcorn', is a taller miniature with pure white, semidouble slightly
fragrant blossoms in full sprays. Melanie informs me that this rose is
seldom out of bloom.
A Polyantha and a Species
around the turn of the 20th century that a group of small,
cluster-flowered roses started appearing. These roses were bred from
the larger multiflora roses which were then called polyanthas.
Accordingly, these new roses were called dwarf polyanthas. These roses
are hardy, adaptable to many soil types, and are
a cheerful addition to any small garden. One of the earliest
still available, 'Mignonette' (lower right), introduced by Guillot Fils
in 1880 in
France, is a sweetly fragrant rose, blooming in dense pink clusters of
single pink flowers rimmed in a darker pink. Just visible behind
is the fascinating Rosa glutinosa,
which appeared in cultivation in 1821. Closely allied to Rosa Eglanteria with its
apple-scented foliage and stems, R.
glutinosa emits a penetrating pine scent from its sticky buds,
thus its common name,
Pine Scented Rose. In the fall it produces large, bright red hips.
Another clump of Silene unifolia
is blooming to the side.
Sean McCann's excellent survey of miniature roses (Miniature Roses: Their care and cultivation),
he recounts the bewildering array of theories arising from
efforts to trace the evolution of the thousands of modern miniature
varieties available today. "[T]he roses came from
Mauritius;" he writes, "they were always grown in France; they were
Britain to France as potted roses; they came from China; they were
cultivated from a bunch of seeds from a larger rose." Of these
theories, a popular one among authorities is that today's miniatures
started with an original small rose, R.
chinensis minima, though its very existence seems to be in
Regardless of its ancient beginnings, the little roses were a
staple on European balconies during the 1800s, and in 1917 the
miniature pioneer, 'Rouletii' was introduced by a French nurseryman,
Henri Correvan, and this introduction is considered the beginning of
the modern miniature rose culture. Beginning with small, tight red
buds, the blossoms open into slightly double, one-inch blooms of
China pink. The most apparently legitimate history of this rose is
outlined in McCann's book. Thriving as a pot plant for many decades in
Switzerland, it caught the eye of a Swiss friend of Correvan's, a
Roulet, who then obtained cuttings of the rose and gave them to
Correvan to propogate. The nurseryman named the rose 'Rouletii' in his
friend's honor. Another, similar, miniature rose was introduced
in 1839 as 'Pompon de Paris'. This little rose had almost identical
flowers with a more leggy habit.
At the right is a photo of Melanie's tiny 'Rouletii' on August 6, 2003,
with one small bud preparing to open. Melanie tells me that 'Rouletii',
a China type, is among the first roses to bloom in her garden and
continues to bloom intermittently throughout the season.
A couple of interesting sidelights to these small roses is that they
were at first called Fairy Roses or Lawreniana Roses. Also, people
assumed miniature roses had to be grown in pots and brought inside
during the winter because of their China rose connection. So, miniature
roses didn't really take off in popularity until buyers discovered
their hardiness out of doors.
'Rouletii' was crossed to other plants by a Dutch breeder, Jan de Vink, producing the miniature
'Peon'. 'Peon' was eventually marketed, in partnership with de Vink, by
Robert Pyle, who renamed it 'Tom Thumb' and introduced it in the United
States in 1936. Thus began the burgeoning hybridizing and marketing of
miniature roses which soon spread to Britain, Spain, and around the
globe, until today thousands of varieties are introduced by breeders
Of these breeders, Ralph Moore
of California is accepted as the strongest influence among miniature
rose nurserymen today. As McCann put it, Moore "really placed miniature
roses on the map." Among other breeders well known for their miniature
roses are Dickson, Harkness, and McGredy (see sources, below).
read about the granary's restoration, go to:
An 1875 Granary in
Utah Gets a Facelift
Book mentioned in this
Roses, Their Care and Cultivation -- Sean McCann
where noted in parentheses, all photos
by Joan Katherine Shaw
for more on Roses:
Climbing Roses for the North
of the Middle East
Links and Addresses for miniature and
24062 NE Riverside Drive
St. Paul, OR 97137
Hardy Roses of the
North (Links and addresses)
8285 SW 185th Ave.
Beaverton, OR 97007
Nursery (Ralph Moore)
A search for
"Miniature Roses" on the Internet with give you many additional sources
On to: Plague
Year: Utah's Fifth Year of Drought
to: Cutting Back II - The Terrible Two
Return to the garden
for more books on miniature roses:
American Rose Society site
and Produced by jkshaw
Member American Rose Socieety
Member American Horticulture Society
2000-2009 by Joan K. Shaw. All rights reserved.