‘Red Moss’ and ‘Old Red Moss’ are two different roses…

Red Moss June 2013 1Sometimes rose names and their actual identities give me a brain scramble. The plant you think you’re buying isn’t what you’re getting–remember this? It happens. These days I find that if a rose’s identity is dubious (HMF is a good source for that info) I just avoid it altogether. I don’t need the stress! 😉 However, a couple of years ago I purchased the rose seen in these photos with no more thought than I just wanted to add another Moss to our garden. Little did I know that it would turn into another question of identity. Sigh. Not again!

'Red Moss' and 'Old Red Moss' via Hedgerow RoseMystery: Heirloom Roses calls this rose I purchased, ‘Red Moss’ and in the description writes, “Rated as the second best of all old garden roses by the American Rose Society.” Hmm. Well, there was an Old Garden Rose in the ARS handbook that was rated as second best of all OGR’s but it is called ‘Old Red Moss’. Same rose? I emailed Heirloom, twice, to ask for clarification, and never heard back. (I don’t mean to be snarky, but I’m glad I didn’t email them with an actual product problem, because geez.) So then I emailed the American Rose Society, and got a lightning quick response from the Assistant to the Executive Director who wrote, “They are, indeed, two different roses.”

'Red Moss' and 'Old Red Moss' via Hedgerow Rose-2She also gave me this info from the Modern Roses Database in case you’re interested:

Registered Name: ‘Old Red Moss’; Synonyms: ‘Muscosa Rubra’
ARS Approved Exhibition Name: Old Red Moss
M, mr; flowers carmine-red, medium, very dbl., moderate fragrance; heavy bloom; nonrecurrent; vigorous (5 ft.) growth.

Registered Name: ‘Henri Martin’; Synonyms: ‘Red Moss’
ARS Approved Exhibition Name: Henri Martin
M, mr, 1862, Laffay, M.; bud sparsely mossed; flowers shining crimson, fading to deep pink, semi-dbl. to double, borne in clusters of 3 – 8, moderate fragrance; non remontant; growth upright (5 ft.) growth

'Red Moss' and 'Old Red Moss' via Hedgerow Rose-3 'Red Moss' and 'Old Red Moss' via Hedgerow Rose-4My guess is I was sold  ‘Henri Martin’ which is a synonym for ‘Red Moss’ not ‘Old Red Moss’ (‘Muscosa Rubra’), which is a different rose.* I wonder if the ARS members who rated ‘Old Red Moss’ in the past were actually growing ‘Henri Martin’ (‘Red Moss’) and were just as bamboozled about it as I was. (And to really lay it all out there, I just looked at the ARS handbook for 2014: ‘Henri Martin’ didn’t make the cut for top-rated OGR’s and I can’t even find ‘Old Red Moss’ (‘Muscosa Rubra’) in the handbook anymore.)

'Red Moss' and 'Old Red Moss' via Hedgerow Rose-5 'Red Moss' and 'Old Red Moss' via Hedgerow Rose-6Are you still with me? Did I scramble your brain, too? Well, let’s just say that these photos depict ‘Henri Martin’ otherwise known as ‘Red Moss’ and leave it at that. This is a lovely rose. If you haven’t tried growing Moss roses yet, I think this is a good one to start with. It hasn’t shown any disease, it’s covered with fragrant flowers in late spring/early summer–taking the win for longest blooming OGR in our garden–followed by fuzzy hips in autumn. Also, it grows like the dickens. See how it’s about knee-high in these photos? Well now it’s about 5′ tall. Goodness gracious!

*{Edit: For my own sanity, I am labeling this rose as ‘Henri Martin’ (i.e. ‘Red Moss’) but that doesn’t mean I’m right. The flowers are quite full and I’m not sure I would categorize these buds as “sparsely mossed” which makes me wonder. If anyone stumbles upon this post and has some insight into this mystery I’d love to hear your input!}

'Red Moss' and 'Old Red Moss' via Hedgerow Rose-7 'Red Moss' and 'Old Red Moss' via Hedgerow Rose-9Looking to buy one for yourself? High Country Roses, my favorite place to order bands from these days, is labeling ‘Henri Martin’ (‘Red Moss’) correctly…here’s the link. (As for the rose ‘Old Red Moss’ (‘Muscosa Rubra’), Burlington Rose Nursery in California say they have it if you live out that way.)

'Red Moss' and 'Old Red Moss' via Hedgerow Rose-11PS: Someone out there is probably wondering “Well, what is the number one highest rated OGR among ARS members?” For 2014, that honor goes to ‘Rêve d’Or’.

Last year’s results HERE.

'Red-Moss'-and-'Old-Red-Moss'-via-Hedgerow-Rose-12Henri Martin Rose Hips

6 thoughts on “‘Red Moss’ and ‘Old Red Moss’ are two different roses…

  1. well well well, it is annoying to find out you have no idea what you are growing! especially if it ends up huge when you wanted something compact… But the rose is glorious! so that is something : )
    I had a really good experience this time around with Heirloom Roses, the roses look heathy out of the box. I did not try to call them however! I am glad you love High Country for a selfish reason: they are in my neck of the woods! hahaha

    1. I’ve ordered a lot of roses from Heirloom–and still do! The quality of their plants is very good. High Country is awesome! You live in a beautiful part of the world, you lucky duck. 😀

  2. What a beautiful rose Henry Martin is! I must admit I am not really one for names. The most important things to me are the facts that it looks good, smells good and is strong 🙂

    Wishing you a Happy Easter!

    Madelief x

    1. I know what you mean! Try as hard as I might to remember all the botanical names, at the end of the day all I need to know is: Does it look pretty and will it grow in my garden? 😉
      Happy Easter to you!

  3. Never mind the different names, I am not in that leauge yet. But I kept on cutting my Henry Martin every spring here in Moss town ( he he ),Norway in spring not realizing I was doing wrongly. There did not appear any flowers at all. This spring I have learned and have now the most beautiful roses with scent. This rose must not be cut, only pruned after blooming :-))) You are never too old to learn

    1. Isn’t that the truth? I’m finding that the more I learn, the more I discover how much I don’t know!

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