Number 43   July - August 2005


By Clair Martin

We just received three new roses from Roses Unlimited in South Carolina that will eventually be planted out in the Rose Garden a little later this summer. The three roses are: ?Tipu?s Flame?, ?Magic East?, and ?Golden Threshold?. Hybridized in India by our next Great Rosarians of the World honoree, Viru Viraraghavan, we are planting them to honor his visit to The Huntington. Viru and his wife Girija live in Kodaikanal, which is in the southern state of Tamal Nadu. Their home is in the Palni Hills at an altitude of 2,200 meters. Growing roses in the south of India with its hot climate can?t be easy but the altitude provides nearly temperate growing conditions for growing and hybridizing roses.

'Tipu's Flame'
'Golden Threshold'
'Magic East'

Viru has been hybridizing since 1965 and has introduced some 60 roses into the trade. He is currently developing roses for the hot, tropical conditions of India and other subtropical regions of the world. He is using two native rose species in his program, which he hopes will provide the necessary disease resistance and adaptability to subtropical growing conditions. Viru says that Rosa clinophylla is the only tropical rose and he hopes it will impart heat tolerance and evergreen foliage to his breeding lines and R. gigantea which he found growing right on the Indian border with Burma should bring in vigor and beautiful foliage as well.

The three Viraraghavan cultivars that will soon be planted in the garden are: ?Magic East?, a Hybrid Tea and introduced in 1995 is also known, as ?Bodisattra?, a blend of pinks with lovely deep pink mottling on the petals; ?Tipu?s Flame? a Shrub Rose from 1990 with bright red flowers and the Hybrid Gigantea ?Golden Threshold?, just introduced this year with deep yellow single flowers (5 to 10 petals). All three roses have been potted up into larger containers and are resting in the nursery until they have a chance to recover from the trauma of shipping before being planted in their new home.

The Huntington Rose Garden has many roses from many regions of the world but to my knowledge these are the first roses from India to be planted in this garden. Viru and his wife Girija will present a program on his work and her study of the history of roses in India here at The Huntington on Sunday, January 22, 2006. Their presentation will be the sixth in our ongoing annual lecture series honoring The Great Rosarians of the World. Mark your calendar because this annual series is truly becoming a world-class event.

Clair Martin, E.L. and Ruth B. Shannon Curator of the Rose and Perennial Gardens


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