Alister Clark Roses

Having discussed Australian rose breeder Alister Clark and the Alister Clark Memorial garden at Bulla in my two previous post this week, here are some specific notes about some of the roses he bred, for which I have photos, mainly taken at the Alister Clark Memorial Garden at Bulla. It is by no means an exhaustive list, as our visits to Bulla tended to be in early Spring or late Autumn. I have also included a few more prominent roses, which I have not photographed, with a link to other sites.

Lady Medallist 1912, named for one of his most successful race horses and his first rose.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.06.14Jessie Clark 1915 Clear Pink Single Climbing R. gigantea hybrid. Probably R. gigantea X Madame Martignier. Very large single clear pink roses borne abundantly on a vigorous climber in early Spring. It was the 1st R. gigantea seedling and the 3rd Glenara rose to be released, as well as his first great success as a rose breeder. Named after a favourite niece, who used to visit Glenara with her friends, Nora Cuningham and Gwen Nash, daughter of his great friend, Albert Nash, all of whom were also remembered in the names of his roses.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 14.57.07BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.16.06Sunny South 1918 A Hybrid Tea, which was a popular tall hedging rose between the two world wars. A cross between Gustav Grunerwald and Betty Berkeley. Large, very recurrent, profusely-blooming, semi-single, fragrant pale pink, flushed carmine, blooms on a very tall bush. I do not have my own photo, but have included it because it was one of Alister’s favourite roses, so please see: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/189015/.

Australia Felix 1919 Low growing Hybrid Tea;  A cross between Jersey Beauty and La France, the first Hybrid Tea rose; Small, semi-double, fragrant, silvery-pink blooms in clusters. Very recurrent. Australia Felix was also the name given by explorer, Thomas Mitchell, to the lush parts of Western Victoria. Another early success and an ideal rose for small gardens or the front of borders, as in the photo below, where it borders the decking on the left of the photo.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.16.33BlogAlisterClarkReszd20%IMG_4786Black Boy 1919 First Climbing Hybrid Tea; A cross between Bardou Job and Etoile de France; Another great success story; Large, semi-double, fragrant, dark red blooms. Again, I have no photo, but as this particular rose has never left the nursery catalogues for its entire life, you can see the rose here: https://www.diggers.com.au/shop/ornamentals-and-flowers/rose-blackboy/rblbo/.

Gwen Nash 1920 Climbing Hybrid Tea, named for a friend of his niece, Jessie Clark, and daughter of his great friend, Albert. Rosy Morn, another Alister Clark rose, is one of the parents. Large, semi-single, cupped, fragrant, soft-pink blooms with golden stamens. See: http://rosephotographer.blogspot.com.au/2015/03/gwen-nash.html. At Bulla, this rose is grown on the side pergola, near the front fence, on either side of her friend, Jessie Clark.

Golden Vision 1922 Gigantea hybrid  climbing rose with semi-double, fragrant blooms; Its parents are Noisette rose, Maréchal Niel, which gives it its soft creamy lemon-yellow colouring, and R. gigantea, which gives it its almost evergreen leaves. Only blooms once early in Spring.BlogAlisterClarkReszd20%IMG_7175BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.07.15Scorcher 1922 named for a hot day or scorcher! Climbing Hybrid Tea, Madame Abel Chatenay is one of the parents, R. moyesii could be the other unnamed parent. Non-recurrent, large, semi-double, open, slightly fragrant, brilliant scarlet-crimson flowers on a vigorous climber. See: https://www.antiqueroseemporium.com/roses/1133/scorcher.

Squatter’s Dream 1923  A 2nd generation Gigantea bush rose (a seedling of an R. gigantea seedling), named after a racehorse. The bushy, thornless shrub is 2 metres tall, with soft apricot and saffron yellow, semi-single, open flowers.. It blooms for almost 12 months of the year and still had flowers on 1st June at Forest Hall in Tasmania. It is obviously the bee’s dream too, as can be seen in the bottom photo!!!BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.13.26BlogAlisterClarkReszd20%IMG_7183Harbinger 1923  Very vigorous climber and R. gigantea hybrid with large, single, soft-pink flowers. Named for the coming of Spring.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.08.46Lorraine Lee 1924 Second- generation Gigantea hybrid bush rose, bred from a cross between Jessie Clark and Capitaine Millet, and named for a distant cousin of the Clarks after her visit. It blooms all year round with open, double, rosy-apricot flowers with a beautiful scent and evergreen foliage, inherited from R. gigantea. It is the most popular rose ever grown in Australia. Between 1924 and 1934, nurseryman EW Hackett sold 44 000 plants of Lorraine Lee. Often grown as a hedge. She is a very tough rose, which thrives on neglect! It has both bush and climbing forms. BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 14.52.32BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 14.54.06Climbing Lorraine Lee was a sport of Lorraine Lee in 1932.blogcottagegardenrosesreszd20img_9104Baxter Beauty 1924 Gigantea bush rose; Another sport of Lorraine Lee; Not strictly an Alister Clark rose, it was discovered by Russell Grimwade before 1927 at Baxter, Victoria. Varies from light yellow to sulphur and a light salmon pink on outside of petals. It flowers in Winter like Lorraine Lee.

BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.22.06BlogAlisterClarkReszd2514-03-30 16.09.10Milkmaid 1925 A huge, recurrent-flowering rambler with dense, shiny green foliage and clusters of medium, open, semi-double, creamy-white flowers in Spring, the scent of milk and honey, hence the name. Very vigorous climber. Crépuscule is one of the parents.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.09.37

Tonner’s Fancy 1928 Gigantea climbing rose; Its parents were an R. gigantea seedling and an unnamed variety. Fragrant, large, globular, white tinged pink blooms, named after Ballarat gardener, George Tonner, who persuaded Alister to release it. Very short flowering period, but roses come so early in Spring, that they are often damaged by frost.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.09.03BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.12.46Countess of Stradbroke 1928 Climbing Hybrid Tea; A cross between Walter Clark and an unnamed variety; Large, dark, glowing, crimson, double, highly scented blooms, which are very recurrent. Named after the the wife of the 3rd Earl of Stradbroke, who was the Governor of Victoria from 1920 to 1926. The Countess raced horses and stayed with the Clarks; One of Alister Clark’s greatest successes, especially in the United States, so here is a link: https://www.helpmefind.com/rose/l.php?l=2.17985.0.

Mrs Albert Nash 1929 Hybrid Tea Very dark red, very recurrent, fragrant blooms.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2514-03-30 16.02.12Peggy Bell 1929 Hybrid Tea named after a family friend for her 21st birthday. Mid-pink to salmon-pink and free flowering. Rose in the right-hand side of photograph below:BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.06.10Amy Johnson 1931 Soft pink, tall shrub rose; Large, cupped, fragrant, pink blooms; One of the parents is Souvenir de Gustav Prat. Named to commemorate the landing of Amy Johnson (1903-1941), famous English pilot and first woman to fly solo from England to Australia in 1930. She landed at the Moonee Valley Racecourse, where she was presented with a bouquet of Alister Clark roses.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 14.50.43Margaret Turnbull 1931 Large-flowered, climbing Hybrid Tea rose of unknown breeding; Very recurrent, large, double, slightly fragrant, mid-pink flowers. Named for a friend of the Clarks for over 50 years. Margaret Turnbull was a daughter of a Scots storekeeper, who became a Victorian Member of Parliament. At Bulla, it is growing at the front of the main pergola, facing the Council offices. The paler pink rose in the middle of the pergola behind Margaret Turnbull is Doris Downes (see next entry).BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.18.22BlogAlisterClarkReszd2514-10-19 15.52.34Doris Downes 1932 Climbing Hybrid Tea rose of unknown breeding; Named after a fellow rose breeder, who was a stylish Melbourne beauty and who married an Army surgeon. Very large, semi-double, cupped, fragrant, profuse but non-recurrent blooms.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.14.35BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 14.57.41 Broadway 1933 was found at Mrs Oswin’s garden in Broadway, Camberwell, Victoria and is probably a Clark Hybrid Gigantea climber. Unknown breeding.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.16.46BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.16.46BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.12.11Marjorie Palmer 1936  Polyantha, with Jersey Beauty as one of the parents. Very recurrent, double, very fragrant, rich-pink flowers in clusters on a short bushy plant. A good friend of the Clarks, Marjorie and Claude Palmer, who lived at Dalvui, near Terang, played polo and restored and extended the original Guifoyle-designed garden.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2514-03-30 15.59.41Sheila Bellair 1937 Large, semi-double, open, salmon-pink flowers with golden stamens. Hybrid Tea shrub rose;  Miss Mocata is one of the parents. Sheila met Alister through her father, who served on the Moonee Valley Committee with his friend. Sheila was an excellent horsewoman, who was a member of the Oaklands Hunt Club with Alister and  became a breeder of thoroughbred horses.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.22.30Cicely Lascelles 1937 Climbing Hybrid Tea. A cross between Frau Oberhofgartner Singer and Scorcher, with abundant, warm-pink, semi-double, open blooms from Spring to Autumn and Autumn; Named after a friend of the Clarks, who was a champion golfer from a landed family. Note these photos below were taken at the Walter Duncan’s Heritage Garden, in Clare, South Australia.BlogAlisterClarkReszd20%IMG_9468BlogAlisterClarkReszd20%IMG_9669 Nancy Hayward 1937 Very vigorous Climbing Hybrid Tea, a cross of Jessie Clark and a 2nd generation Gigantea hybrid,  with huge, single, scentless, vibrant lipstick-pink flowers all year round. It was named for the daughter of a Sir William Irvine, a Federal Minister and later Chief Justice of Victoria, as well as Patron and Vice Patron of the Rose Society from 1928 to 1943. She was also Susan Irvine’s husband’s aunt, so was one of the first ports of call when Susan Irvine started researching Alister Clark roses, although Nancy couldn’t tell Susan much and never liked that particular rose!BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 14.49.08BlogAlisterClarkReszd2514-10-19 16.05.04Sunlit 1937 Hybrid Tea bush rose of unknown breeding; Always in flower with small, double, soft apricot-pink blooms with a good scent on a compact bush. Very acclaimed in Australia at the time.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2514-03-30 16.09.26Lady Huntingfield 1937  Hybrid Tea; A cross between Busybody and Aspirant Marcel Rouyer.  Large, double, fragrant, rich golden-yellow flowers. Vigorous bushy plant and very recurrent. Named after Margaret Crosby, a New York judge’s daughter, who married Australian-born Baron Huntingfield, who became the Governor of Victoria from 1933 to 1939.

BlogAlisterClarkReszd20%IMG_4775Editor Stewart 1939 Cherry-red semi-double pillar rose, with wavy petals and red young foliage, named for his good friend, TA Stewart, who was editor of the Australian Rose Annual for 30 years.

BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.01.09Mrs Fred Danks 1951 Lilac-pink Hybrid Tea, released after Alister’s death. A highly scented shrub rose, named after a keen gardener, Dorothy (Fred’s wife!), who was a family friend of the Clarks. Unknown parentage. Very large, abundant, semi-double, fragrant, pink-violet flowers on a tall upright bush. She compliments Nancy Hayward (in the corner of the building in the background of the 1st photo) and both contrast well against the dark grey bluestone wall of the old council offices.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.22.57BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.23.09Many of the photos in this post were taken at The Alister Clark Memorial Rose Garden at Bulla, the subject of my next post tomorrow. It is a very special place to visit, a firm favourite of mine and not to be missed in the Springtime, when Broadway (on the left) and Tonner’s Fancy (on the right) are in full bloom! BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.21.13Now that we are in the midst of our Australian Winter, it is an excellent time to sit beside a cosy fire to read and plan future forays! Over the next few weeks, I will be posting book reviews of some of our favourite natural history books in our library. As this is a major passion of ours, we have lots of books on this subject area, so I have divided them up into four specific areas: Plants; Birds and Butterflies; Animals and Marine Life; and General Reference Guides (including books on geology, astronomy and weather). I hope you enjoy them!

 

 

Alister Clark Memorial Rose Garden

This garden is devoted to showcasing the beautiful roses bred by Australian rose breeder, Alister Clark, about whom I wrote in the previous post.

Alister Clark Memorial Rose Garden

96 Bulla Rd. (Corner of Sunbury Rd and Somerton Rd, signposted Green St.)

Bulla, Victoria 3428  10 km NW of Melbourne (35 minutes from Melbourne CBD) and 7 minute drive from Tullamarine Airport.     Melways 177 A8/ B7

Open all year round, every day from 9 am to 5 pm, though other sources state: Daylight Hours. Free.

BlogAlisterClarkBlogImage (572)There is a free brochure at the gate with a garden map.BlogAlisterClarkReszd30%Image (569)

https://www.hume.vic.gov.au/What39s_On_amp_Things_To_Do/Things_to_do_in_and_around_Hume/Hume_Attractions

Situated between an old bluestone church and the Old Bulla Shire Council office, this pretty garden is one of my favourite rose gardens of all!BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.24.07BlogAlisterClarkReszd2514-03-30 15.56.33BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.00.15BlogAlisterClarkReszd2514-10-19 16.04.48 This pretty garden mixes Alister Clark roses with trees and shrubs like Eucalyptus citriodora (1st photo); a Quince tree (2nd photo); Silky Oaks Grevillea robusta (3rd photo); Echiums and Lilacs (4th and 5th photos);BlogAlisterClarkReszd2514-03-30 16.04.32BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.16.33BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.19.08BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.01.40BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 14.46.11 lavender hedges;BlogAlisterClarkReszd2514-03-30 16.06.05 and bulbs and perennials including : Agapanthus, Ajuga, Anchusa, Aquilegia, Bergenia, Bluebells, Catmint, Clematis, Daffodils, Day Lilies, Erigeron, Forget-Me-Nots, Geranium, Grevilleas, Hebe, Heliotrope, Hellebores, Heuchera, Iris (Bearded, Louisiana), Japanese Anemones, Jasmine, Kniphofia (yellow), Lambs’ Ears, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Lilac, Mignonette, Nasturtium, Nigella, Persimmon, Poppies, Queen Fabiola, Salvias, Scabiosa, Scilla peruviana, Snow-in-Summer, Statice, Verbena (Candy Stripe), Vervain, and Viburnum opulus.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.01.36BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 14.58.05BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.05.33BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.15.46 There are 650 plants and 68 varieties of Alister Clark roses, including climbers, pillar roses, Polyanthas and Hybrid Tea bush roses,BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.14.19BlogAlisterClarkReszd2514-10-19 16.04.52 and all these roses are identified, with interpretive boards about the dedicatees.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 14.57.22

It is the only publicly accessible and complete collection of all the Alister Clark roses, still available today.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 14.51.05

 

BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 14.53.42The garden is dedicated to growing, displaying and promoting Alister Clark’s life work and is maintained by the Hume City Council and volunteers from the Friends of the Alister Clark Memorial Rose Garden, who hold regular monthly working bees on Fridays and Saturdays between 10.30 am and 2.30 pm throughout the year. Here are some photos of the back entrance, shed and garden:

BlogAlisterClarkReszd20%IMG_7173BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.24.49BlogAlisterClarkReszd2514-10-19 16.05.11 Roses were sourced from all over Australia, including many of the old gardens of the original families, after whom Clark had dedicated his roses. The best time to visit is in Spring, though there are roses in bloom from October to March, and while the garden is open every day, there is an Open Day on the Saturday after the Melbourne Cup each year, when you can chat to the volunteers, who maintain the garden.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2514-10-19 16.05.33BlogAlisterClarkReszd2514-10-19 16.04.59Tomorrow is my final post about Alister Clark, with a few notes about specific Alister Clark Roses, whose photographs were mainly taken in this beautiful memorial garden!

 

 

 

Alister Clark: Australian Rose Breeder

Alister Clark was one of Australia’s most famous and prolific rose breeders, producing many very well-known and popular roses, well-suited to Australia’s hot dry climate, so I am devoting three posts to him this week: his life (today), Alister Clark Memorial Garden at Bulla (Wednesday), and a few notes about the specific roses he bred (Thursday). Below is a photograph of one of his most famous and popular roses, Lorraine Lee 1924.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 14.56.10Alister Clark was born in 1864 to Walter and Annie Clark of Glenara, Bulla. Walter Clark (1803-1873) was a Scottish immigrant from Argyllshire, who arrived in Australia in 1838, started in the Riverine area of NSW, where he made money out of stock during the gold rush, overlanded stock to Melbourne and then in 1857, he bought 485 acres at Deep Creek, Bulla, where he built a large single storey Italianate house of brick and rendered stone (granite and bluestone), with a hipped slate roof and encircling verandah with open work timber posts and lintels, on an elevated site above Deep Creek Gorge, which he called  ‘Glenara’. See the bottom of this post for more about ‘Glenara’.

The Melbourne architects, Albert Purchas and Charles Swyer, also designed the garden around the house, including a terrace with stone steps, urns and a sundial to the west and an extensive network of paths cut into the rocky outcrops to the south. In 1872, Walter built a rustic wooden bridge across the creek to a romantic stone folly, a bluestone lookout tower, on the opposite hill. He also established a vineyard, being one of the first landowners to grow grapes in the Sunbury region and gradually expanded the property to 4079 acres by his death in 1873 . He was President of the Shire of Bulla, now part of the City of Hume, from 1866 to 1871. Below is Nancy Hayward 1937, an equally famous Alister Clark rose, which is never out of flower.bloghxroses20reszd2014-10-19-13-17-23Alister’s mother, Annie, died when Alister was 1 year old and his father 8 years later, so Alister and his older siblings, brother Walter and 3 sisters, Annie, Jessie and Aggie, were raised by relatives. Alister was educated in Hobart, at Sydney Grammar School (1877-1878) and at the Loretto School in Scotland. He studied Law at Cambridge University (1883-1885), but never practiced, though he was a Justice of Peace. On the boat home to Australia after his graduation, he met Edith (Edie) Rhodes, daughter of wealthy New Zealander, Robert Heaton Rhodes, and married her in Christchurch, New Zealand, on the 7 July 1888. Alister bought the Glenara homestead block (830 acres) from his father’s estate in 1892 and by his death, the property was 1035 acres.

Alsiter and Edie never had any children and lived most of their life at Glenara, where Alister bred roses, daffodils and nerines and pursued his other passions like playing polo, billiards and golf, being a founding member of the Royal Melbourne Golf Club. He frequently visited his good friend, Albert Nash, to play golf on his private golf course in Cranbourne. He added a billiard room to the eastern end of the homestead in 1895. Alister also loved his horses, keeping steeplechasers, draughthorses and ponies at Glenara. He was Master of the local Oaklands Hunt Club and Founding Chairman of the Moonee Pond Racing Club in 1917. The Alister Clark Stakes, named in his honour, are still run at the Autumn race meet at Moonee Ponds every year. Like his father, he was President of the Shire of Bulla in 1896, 1902 and 1908. The rose below is Squatter’s Dream 1923 , named after a racehorse.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.13.21Alister was involved in the breeding of a number of new species of daffodils, his best known being Mabel Taylor, which is still grown and used in breeding today and which Alister believed was the first pink daffodil in Australia.  In 1948, he was awarded the Peter Burr Memorial Cup from the Royal Horticultural Society in England, but it was roses for which he became famous!BlogTeasReszd2014-10-19 13.24.37blogadelaidebgreszd20img_9334Alister Clark was one of Australia’s most famous and prolific rose breeders. He bred over 122 (some sources say 138) varieties from 1912 to 1949, using a huge species rose from Burma and the Himalayas, Rosa gigantea (photos above), to create roses specifically suited to Australia’s hot dry climate, one of the first rose breeders to do so on both counts (ie the use of R. gigantea in breeding, as it does not thrive in the cooler climates of Europe, where many of the rose breeders hailed from at that time; and the breeding of roses ideally suited for Australian conditions). They were the most widely planted roses in Australia in the period between the two world wars. See : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Alister_Clark_roses for a list of Alister Clark roses. Another useful site with photographs is: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alister_Clark_Memorial_Rose_Garden.

He bred his roses with a number of specific aims in mind…

Firstly, he wanted to produce the first rose to flower all year round. His first generation crosses of R. gigantea were Spring blooming only eg Jessie Clark; Courier; Golden Vision and Tonner’s Fancy; However, he  achieved his aim with second- generation crosses, Lorraine Lee and Nancy Hayward, both bred from Jessie Clark. A bunch of Lorraine Lee (photo below) was shown at every meeting of the National Rose Society for 20 consecutive months.BlogAlisterClarkReszd20%IMG_9113

He also aimed for roses, which performed well in ordinary gardens, rather than show roses, so his roses were very popular with the general public in Australia. An Argus poll in 1937 of 230 varieties of garden roses and 99 different climbing rose types resulted in Lorraine Lee being voted the most popular garden rose, while another of his roses, Black Boy, polled as the most popular climbing rose. While Lorraine Lee, Black Boy and Nancy Hayward (photo below at Werribee Park) are considered to be some of his most successful roses, Alister believed that Sunny South and Gwen Nash were some of his best roses.

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He wanted to breed tough roses, which did not require pampering or coddling and he did not believe in using chemical sprays and fertilisers, preferring to encourage birds for aphid control. Our little Eastern Spinebill is an excellent rose guardian!BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-06 14.13.19Alister named his roses after horses, people and places. His first rose, Hybrid Tea, Lady Medallist 1912, was named after a successful racehorse, as was Squatter’s Dream 1923, Tonner’s Fancy 1928, Flying Colours 1922 and Courier 1930, while many of his roses bred the name of family friends, especially women, like climbing rose Gwen Nash 1920 and bush roses Peggy Bell 1929; Mary Guthrie 1929; Marjorie Palmer 1929; Countess of Stradbroke 1928 (the wife of the 3rd Earl of Stradbroke, who was the Governor of Victoria from  1920 to 1926) and Cicely Lascelles 1937 (photo below). He named Amy Johnson 1931 after the famous English pilot, who was the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia, to commemorate her landing and Edith Clark 1928 after his wife, who was also the Patroness of the Victorian Rose Society.

I will be writing about specific Alister Clark Roses on Thursday, but for more on the naming of his roses, read: ‘The Women Behind the Roses: An Introduction to Alister Clark’s Rose-Namesakes 1915 – 1952’ , written in 2010  by Andrew and Tilly Govanstone. It is also well worth reading ‘Man of Roses: Alister Clark of Glenara and His Family’ 1990  by Tommy R. Garnett and Susan Irvine’s Rose Gardens: Garden of a Thousand Roses with A Hillside of Roses by Susan Irvine 1992  for more information on this amazing rosarian, as well as an illustrated list of his roses.BlogAlisterClarkReszd20%IMG_9470Being a gentleman of private means with a philanthropic nature, Alister never bred or grew roses commercially, preferring to donate them to rose societies and charities for their fundraising efforts, as well as giving them as gifts to the people, after whom he had named his varieties. For example, Jessie Clark (photo below) was donated to the National Rose Society of Victoria to contribute to prize money at rose shows.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.15.58Alister Clark was the founding President of the National Rose Society of Victoria in 1889. He was highly regarded in the USA and was awarded a Honorary Life Membership of the American Rose Society in 1931 and elected as Vice-President of the Royal Horticultural Society of London from 1944 – 1948. In 1936, he was awarded the Dean Hole Medal from the National Rose Society in London, the highest honour in the rose world. Here is a photo of gold rose: Baxter Beauty 1924, not strictly bred by Alister Clark, but a sport of Lorraine Lee :bloghxroses20reszdimg_4796Alister died in 1949 and after his death, interest in his roses waned with the renewed availability and popularity of roses from Europe and America after the end of the Second World War. Also, they are large roses for large gardens and most bloom only in the Spring, so are unsuitable for gardens with limited space. While Black Boy, Nancy Hayward and Lorraine Lee remained constantly in nurserymans’ catalogues, many Alister Clark roses were lost during this period.

Interest in Alister Clark roses was revived in the 1980s, especially through the efforts of nurseryman, John Nieuwesteeg, and roselover, Susan Irvine, who grew many of them at her various gardens at Bleak House and Erinvale, Victoria and Forest Hall, Tasmania, about which she has written, the former two gardens faeatured in her book photographed below. It is also worth reading the interview with John Nieuwesteeg: http://gpcaa.typepad.com/settings/2011/02/alister-clark-roses.html  for more information about the search for Alister Clark roses and the establishment of the GPCAA’s Alister Clark Collection.blogrosebooks30reszdimage-233

Alister Clark roses are now grown in the Rex Hazlewood Rose Garden at the Old Government House in Canberra (26 Alister Clark roses); at the Alister Clark Memorial Rose Garden in the St. Kilda Botanic Gardens on Blessington St, St. Kilda (5 unlabelled Clark roses including Black Boy and Lorraine Lee. See: http://www.melbourneplaces.com/melbourne/alister-clark-rose-garden-%E2%80%93-botanical-gardens-st-kilda/) ; the Alister Clark Memorial Garden at Moonee Valley Racecourse; the John Nieuwesteeg Heritage Rose Garden at Maddingley Park, Bacchus Marsh; and the Alister Clark Memorial Rose Garden at Bulla.  Ruston’s National Rose Collection contains nearly all Alister Clark’s climbers, while State Rose Garden of Victoria at Werribee Park has a large collection of Alister Clark roses, especially the Gigantea climbers. The Geelong Botanic Garden grows Borderer; Lady Huntingfield; Mrs Fred Danks; Squatter’s Dream and Mrs Maud Alston, and the rose maze at Kodja Place, Kojonup, Western Australia has a hedge of Australian bred roses, including 32 Alister Clark roses.

Private gardens featuring Alister Clark roses include Richmond Hill and Forest Hall, Tasmania; and Carrick Hill, South Australia. They are also grown in some of the world’s greatest rose gardens like Bagatelle in Paris and Sangerhausen in Germany. Here is another photo of Nancy Hayward 1937 at Werribee Park.

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And finally, a few notes about Alister’s family home, ‘Glenara’.

Glenara

10 Glenara Drive, Bulla, Hume City

Once the mecca of rose lovers all over Australia and home to famous rose breeder, Alister Clark, the 25 acre garden was started by his father Walter and ran right down to Deep Creek. The garden was designed by Charles Swyer and included fruit trees and a specialised collection of conifers and unusual Australian natives. The property was painted by Eugene von Guerhard in 1867, the painting now held in the National Gallery of Victoria.

When Alister owned Glenara, the garden was an informal garden, with drifts of daffodils carpeting the hillside opposite the house and roses planted informally through the garden. He employed up to 8 gardeners. After Alister’s death, it fell into disrepair with blackberry, smilax, kangaroos, possums and rabbits overtaking the garden.

The old house is now classified by the National Trust and listed on the Historic Buildings Register. See : http://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/177.

The verandah is festooned with blue wisteria and the yellow Banksia rose R. banksiae lutea, with China rose, Cramoisi Superieur, in the front bed. At the start of her quest, Susan Irvine visited owner Ruth Rendle at Glenara, where she was entranced with the wild and woolly garden, overgrown with periwinkle, smilax, agapanthus, long grass, wild daffodils and sweet peas and huge mounds of surviving roses including Jessie Clark; Milkmaid; Traverser; and Tonner’s Fancy. She took cuttings from 64 different bushes, but unfortunately, there were no labels, garden plans or records. A good proportion of them struck, though many of the climbers did not, those bred from R. gigantea stock being notoriously difficult propagate. Tonner’s Fancy 1928, photographed below, still flourishes at Glenara.

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Tomorrow, I will be writing about the Alister Clark Memorial Rose Garden at Bulla, one of my favourite rose gardens in Victoria!