Ruth Knopf and Noisette Roses
Antique 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.
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'.
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.