Will the Real Seven Sisters Please Stand Up

-Linda Kimmel
Indianapolis Rose Society

There is some confusion about the Seven Sisters Rose, as there are several different roses by the same name. helpmefind.com has six different varieties listed. Can we get some clarity?

A Bit of History…

‘Seven Sisters’ is believed to be an old Chinese garden rose which was introduced from Japan to England by Charles Greville in the early 1800s. John Loudon (England), a most influential horticultural nurseryman and journalist of his time, wrote (1844): “The variety of the color produced by the buds at first opening was not less astonishing than their number. White, light blush, deeper blush, light red, darker red, scarlet and purple flowers, all appear in the same corymb, and the production of these seven colors at once is said to the be the reason why this rose is known as the Seven Sisters Rose.”

According to Charles Quest-Ritson, author of “Climbing Roses of the World”, writes “the clone currently in cultivation was likely grown from seeds imported from Japan and acquired by Phillipe Noisette, a London market gardener. Brent Dickerson, author of “The Old Garden Rose Advisor”, writes about R. multiflora ‘Polyantha’, also grown from seeds imported from Japan that “It is evidently quite variable, and the small number of seeding it has given us have sometimes differed from the type so much that none of the characteristics of the original are preserved.” So, is it safe to assume that seedlings of the ‘Seven Sisters’ roses, also R. multiflora, acquired from Japan may have varied in breeding lines and traits? Once the ‘Seven Sisters’ rose was introduced (1815), it took a few years for it to gain in popularity, but eventually in the mid-century, rose sales started to take off. As the public demand exceeded the supply, nurseries started selling knock-off versions of ‘Seven Sisters’, creating even more confusion.

Characteristics (common to the real ‘Seven Sisters’)

‘Seven Sisters’ is a medium pink blend Hybrid Multiflora, once-blooming in the spring or early summer, born in large clusters, with individual flowers being less than 2-inches. Height can reach 10 to 20-ft and can get 10-ft wide. Hardy from zones 4b to 9b but tends to be shorter and smaller in colder zones. ‘Seven Sisters’ is not picky, it will grow well in dry or wet, acid or alkaline soil. Prefers full sun but can tolerate some light shade. Being hardy and disease resistant, as well as easy to propagate, ‘Seven Sisters’ is an ideal rose to grow and share with your friends and rose enthusiast. After all these years, ‘Seven Sisters’ is still an intensely popular rose in the landscape.

‘Seven Sisters’ is the ARS approved registration name. Alternative cultivar names may include: ‘Grevillei’, Grevilli major’, ‘Oizimei’, ‘Rosier Multiflore a Grandes Feuilles’, Rosa thoryi, Rose multiflora f. platyphylla. Most American rose nurseries sell this version as the real ‘Seven Sisters’, so ladies, please standup.

Alias Seven Sisters includes (but not limited to): ‘Red Seven Sisters’ (not registered) and Félicité-Perpétue (HSem).

‘Seven Sisters’ is comfortable on an old farm fence or a formal rose bed. Regardless of where ‘Seven Sisters’ is planted, it will bring you happiness for years. Photo reprinted with permission from Jonquil Junction (Arkansas).

Labeled ‘Seven Sisters’, most likely the “Red” version.  ‘Red Seven Sisters’ is a found rose, hybrid multiflora, once-blooming, hardy zone 6b to 8. Growth habit is similar. Reprinted with permission by Rich Baer, photo taken at a Llama farm in Washington State.

‘Seven Sisters’ Félicité-Perpétue (Hybrid Sempervirens) was hybridized by Antoine Jacques (French breeder) in 1827. This ‘Seven Sisters’ is white or near white with a blush of pink. Its growth, habit, bloom and form are similar to her medium pink counterpart. Hardy between 6b and 10b.Reprinted with permission by Lee Tomlinson, photo taken at San Jose Historic Rose Garden.

2018 Calendar of Events

FROM THE PRESIDENT:

Glad you stopped by to see what’s going on this year!

We are looking forward to a full schedule for 2018 as we learn TIPS, TRICKS & HACKS FOR GROWING ROSES.

Our group is made up of people of all ages and stages of growing roses. Some have a few roses and some have hundreds. Some are just getting started and some have been growing roses for 40 years or more. A perfect place to learn and grow. And, you’ll meet the best people!

We meet on the 2nd Tuesday of the month at 6:30 in the evening at the Sullivan Munce Cultural Center in charming downtown Zionsville! That is except for special events and they are usually on the weekend. (Schedule below.) Our meetings are open to the public, so invite a friend to join you!

Our time together includes friends, fun, food and loads of ROSE TALK! Door Prizes Too!

Teresa Byington
President

2018 PROGRAMS . . .

TUES, MARCH 13, 6:30 pm
GETTING OUR GARDEN OFF TO A GOOD START
Location: Sullivan Munce / Zionsville
Special Guest: Diane Sommers, ARS District 5 Director, Master Rosarian and VP Candidate for ARS
Program: Let’s Grow Together
Diane will share her tips for getting our gardens off to a good start and her vision for the American Rose Society.
 For more about Diane, read on here.

TUES, APRIL 10, 6:30 pm: SOIL HEALTH
Location: Sullivan Munce / Zionsville
Speaker:  Kevin Allison, Marion County  Soil Health Specialist
Kevin Allison, Marion County SWCD Soil Health Specialist, will lead a discussion on using the principles of soil health to organically improve soil: Minimizing soil disturbance, maximizing diversity, keeping the soil covered, and providing a continuous living root.
Kevin will explore how amendments, diverse mulching and cover crops can be integrated into flower production and preparing new beds.
**Q & A with Kevin

TUES, MAY 8, 6:30 pm: EARTH-KIND ROSES
Location: Sullivan Munce / Zionsville
Speaker: Carol Tumbas, Rose Expert & Former President of Indianapolis Rose Society
The Earth-Kind testing program is responsible for so many sustainable plants for our gardens.
**Round-Table Discussion: What pests are bugging you?
**Panel: Carol Tumbas, Linda Kimmel, John Hefner

SAT, MAY 26, 9 – 3: ROSEFEST: ROSES OLD AND NEW
Hamilton Co. 4-H Fairgrounds, Noblesville
Focus on Early Bloomers: Old Garden Roses, Rugosas, as well as the new modern roses etc.
Speaker: Mike Shoup / Author and Owner Antique Rose Emporium
In addition:  There will be Garden Tour, Rose Show, Educational Displays, Workshops, Roses and Rose Products for sale
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBIC!

THURS – SAT, JUNE 7 – 9
STATE MASTER GARDENER CONFERENCE

4-H Fairground in Danville, IN
Carol Tumbas, rose expert and former President of Indianapolis Rose Society, will give a program entitled The Incredible Edible Rose
**The Indianapolis Rose Society will have an information booth and will sell roses.

TUES, JUNE 12, 6:00 pm: ICE CREAM SOCIAL & GARDEN PARTY
Location: Marilyn and Dick Ferguson’s  beautiful garden
**More details to come.

TUES, JULY 10: PROPAGATION WORKSHOP / CUTTINGS
Location: Sullivan Munce / Zionsville
Humberto DeLuca & Masiel Milligan,  will show us techniques for taking rose cuttings
**Round Table Discussion: How to care for roses in extreme heat.
**Panel: Mark Nolen, Teresa Downham, John Hefner

SAT, JULY 21, 5 pm: PROPAGATION / BUDDING WORKSHOP
Location: Mark & Cathy Nolen’s amazing rose garden
Mark Nolen and John Hefner will show us techniques for bud grafting roses.
**Bring a salad, dessert or appetizer to share
**RSVP to Mark at Markbnolen@comcast.net.

TUES, AUGUST 14, 6:30 pm: CLIMBING ROSES
Location: Sullivan Munce / Zionsville
Linda Kimmel, immediate past president of the Indianapolis Rose Society, will share with us the charm and grace of climbing roses—which ones to grow and how to care for them!
**Round Table Discussion: Overwintering roses in pots
**Panel: John Hefner, Linda Kimmel, Teresa Byington

SAT, SEPT 8: DISTRICT MEETING & ROSE SHOW
Hosted by Indianapolis Rose Society
Boone Co. 4-H Fairgrounds
KEYNOTE: Bob Martin, American Rose Society Vice President
**Details are coming together and will be available soon.

OCTOBER TBD: FALL GARDEN PARTY
Teresa Downham’s garden
Costume party (dress as a rose name) and Chili Cookoff.

SAT, DEC 1, 6 pm: HOLIDAY PARTY  / AWARDS BANQUET
Join us for a holiday party in the Hefners’ holiday wonderland.
We will also give out 2018 awards and install our 2019 board.
A ‘not to miss’ event — Food, Fun, Outstanding Decor, Awards!
**RSVP to John and Donna at jdhefner63@gmail.com
**More details to come.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS! There is so much to learn and do and it will be more fun if you are there.

We are open to the public so invite a friend!

If you have any questions, contact us HERE.