Ruth Knopf and Noisette Roses

P. Allen Smith and Rosarina Ruth KnopfAntique rose expert Ruth Knopf designed the rose gardens at the 17th century plantation, Boone Hall. Ruth and I discuss the noisettes, an old-fashioned rose beloved by Charlestonians and for good reason!

Allen: The first American class of rose was established here, wasn't it?

Ruth Knopf, Rose Expert, Charleston, South Carolina: That's true. There was a plantation owner, benefactor, by the name of John Champneys and he loved flowers, had a wonderful garden, and he crossed what we believe is the old 'Musk Rose', the one that Shakespeare wrote about, with 'Old Bush', a repeat blooming rose that came from China. It's a smaller clustering rose that repeat blooms.

Allen: Now, Mr. Champneys actually ended up having one of these roses named for him, didn't he?

Ruth: Yes, we believe that was one of the first ones that he hybridized and it was chosen as 'Champney's Pink Cluster'.

Allen: Of course, one of the great qualities of the Noisette class of roses is that they are repeat bloomers.

Ruth: That's true.

Allen: Now, show me some of the Noisettes that we have in this beautiful bouquet.

P. Allen Smith and Rosarina Ruth Knopf
The Charleston Horticultural Society
dedicated their book Noisette Roses
to Ruth Knopf. It's a great buy
if you are interested in roses.
Visit the CHS website
to learn more.

Ruth: Well, I actually have one here.

Allen: Oh yes, look at that. Now is that 'Blush Noisette'?

Ruth: This is one that is a found one that I call 'Blush Noisette Type'.

Allen: Yes.

Ruth: And it has fatter buds. You see?

Allen: Look at all of the buds around one bloom.

Ruth: And it's just getting ready to burst into bloom.

Allen: Ruth this is one I recognize from the catalogues, is this 'Crepuscule'?

Ruth: Yes it is, we have this growing as a pillar rose in the garden, actually two pillar roses in the garden, and it's one that's easy to contain and makes a wonderful show, it repeat blooms so much.

Allen: It's an incredible color.

Ruth: It's a wonderful; I've seen it in gardens in Australia, New Zealand, different countries.

Allen: Really? So, the Noisettes have traveled wide and far.

Ruth: They really have.

Allen: Do you encourage first time gardeners to plant old fashioned roses in their gardens?

Ruth: Of course, that's the most important thing to plant! And you don't have to worry about growing roses. So many people that I talk to say, "Oh, you must really have a green thumb, I could never grow roses." But actually they are just like any other plant.

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