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Sally Holmes

Rose of the Month For May, 2004
by Nanette Londeree, Consulting Rosarian

Several years ago I converted a small storage area outside my office into an enclosed patio. Sloat Nursery had the perfect fountain on sale and Sunnyside offered two oversized clay pots. But with northern exposure and a ten foot fence, the lack of direct sunlight was a major concern. I chose two Sally Holmes and have never been happier.

I am looking out my window at bunches and bunches of clustered white roses the size of large cantaloupes, some with as many as twenty blossoms per stem. The canes, now heavy with bloom, reach way over and through the redwood lattice, much to the delight of passing pedestrians. Songbirds find refuge in the dark green foliage, dropping down to bathe and sip from the sparkling fountain.

The American Rose Society lists Sally Holmes as a shrub but she grows like a climber. Introduced in 1976, Sally Holmes is a cross between Ballerina (hybrid Musk) and Ivory Fashion (floribunda). Not many realize her hybrid Musk parentage that was popularized by the Englishman, Rev. Pemberton after World War I. Sally Holmes is a vigorous hardy grower of large proportions, and probably not for a small garden.

Sally Holmes as a Climber

Aside from seasonal aphids, which I wash off with water, neither have suffered any insect damage, perhaps because of the symbiotic bird life. My concerns that lack of sunlight would encourage mildew, blackspot and rust also have been ill-founded. These plants have been completely disease resistant. I do water regularly and deeply, much more than in the home garden, where we have two more of equal performance. And periodically, I mix in a couple of tablespoons of Maxsea fertilizer, but thatís it.

Sally Holmes is described as a white rose but you can find photos of her tight buds almost apricot in shade, unfolding into petals trimmed with a pinkish tint, ending in a perfect white. The single, five petal blooms, sometimes reach four inches in width. A simply spectacular rose.

Sally Holmes

In her 1983 Roses of Yesterday and Today, Dorothy Stemler describes Sally Holmes, ďA show-stopper in our garden - visitors gasp and cross the garden to get a closer look at a rose that has bloom trusses of a size that are truly unbelievable!Ē Sally Holmes justly deserves her 8.9 ARS rating which places her in the top 1% of all rated roses.

Previous Roses of the Month:

April, 2004
Double Delight

March, 2004
Gartendirecktor Otto Linne

February, 2004
Little Artist

January, 2004

November, 2003

October, 2003

September, 2003

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