All Rosarians everywhere should be aware that there is a valuable collection of roses at Sangerhausen in Germany that is experiencing financial difficulty. The collection holds cultivars that are to be found nowhere else on earth. I encourage you to read this posting and choose for yourself if and how you would choose to assist Sangerhausen in maintaining the collection. This is to communicate knowledge of this situation and it is up to the individual to decide if this is of importance to him or her. Thankyou for reading this notice.
(Photos by Lorrie Freeman of the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden.Posted by: Ed Wilkinson, Curator of the San Jose Rose Garden.
"As curator of the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden (that is, I'm resposible for collecting the varieties for the collection), I'd like to add my two cents to what Mel [Hulse, in a previous posting] has said. "Sangerhausen was founded by the German rose society Verein deutscher Rosenfreunde as a repository for as wide a range as possible of rose varieties; they maintained close ties until after World War II, when the Verein deutscher Rosenfreunde was reconstituted in West Germany, with Sangerhausen cut off in East Germany. The VdR has re-established its connection with Sangerhausen and is hard at work with German rosarians and rose nurseries to provide some financial support at the present.
"Sangerhausen is the larger of the two great European rose collections (the other is at L'Hay, outside Paris) that for nearly a century have been carefully preserving as many of the older rose varieties as they can. To a large extent the two collections do not overlap. Rose historians have long respected both as major repositories of the living history of the rose, but because Sangerhausen was located in what became East Germany after World War II, rosarians in the West were largely cut off from contact from it for over thirty years. It lies well inland in what was East Germany, away from major centers where the authorities could keep an eye on visitors from the West; I have even heard that it was particularly off-limits because it was close by a uranium-mining facility, though I can't vouch for the accuracy of that report! At any rate, Americans were fairly unwelcome by the former government; however, enough English rosarians, beginning I believe with Humphrey Brooke in the late 1960's, made it over there for there to be regular reports on it in the publications of the Royal National Rose Society, and when English nurserymen approached Sangerhausen they were given free access to budwood from the collection. We have many of the OGR varieties that have come into circulation over here through the intermediary auspices of Peter Beales, for instance, because they were preserved at Sangerhausen and nowhere else. A couple of examples would be 'La Reine' (HP, Laffay 1842) and 'Lady Mary Fitzwilliam' (HT, Bennett 1882), both superb roses and among the most historically important to their classes. A couple of more recent ones are the two sports of 'New Dawn', 'Weisse New Dawn' (white with a pearly pink center) and 'Awakening' (the same color as 'New Dawn' but far more double).
"By the time of the reunification of Germany, restrictions on travel visas had already been significantly relaxed, and something like a large-scale export of historical varieties at Sangerhausen had begun. In every case I have ever heard of, the rosarians at Sangerhausen were eager to share anything they had with their colleagues in the West. In addition to Beales, large groups of budwood went to Mottisfont (and GS Thomas) in England, to Mike Lowe in New Hampshire and to Trevor Griffiths in New Zealand; I believe that many of the "new" OGRs appearing in listings for German nurseries in the Combined Rose List came from Sangerhausen, and I believe that Heirloom and Pickering have also done significant importing from Sangerhausen.
"When I was starting to assemble budwood to be propagated for us under Tom Liggett's direction back in 1994, Sangerhausen immediately agreed to share budwood with us. Since then we have been given over a hundred varieties directly from Sangerhausen, never being asked for more than shipping costs. When one of the people closely associated with the SJHRG, Lorrie Freeman, visited Germany last year she was given absolute run of the garden for the week she had available, with much assistance from the staff, though Sangerhausen was in the middle of preparations for their yearly rose festival; we have been invited to come and take budwood on a large scale (*we* may be passing the hat for that in the future!). We now have over a hundred varieties directly from Sangerhausen, and perhaps four or five times that amount indirectly, as nurseries and other gardens that have benefitted from Sangerhausen's generosity have in their turn shared these varieties with us. (Special thanks in this respect are due to Mottisfont, the Deutsches Rosarium in Dortmund, the gardens at Wilhelmshöhe in Kassel, Mike Lowe, Pickering, and Vintage, which has also helped us with space in their quarantine block for some of our imports). This whole mass of 'new' old roses is beginning to find its way into American commerce. Some are fairly clearly mislabelled (as seems to be the case with all large collections of roses), though many of these are 'finds' in their own right, and many are only 'interesting', but there is a really substantial percentage that are going to be just plain good roses to have the chance to grow.
"The Rosarium occupies about 36 acres of land, including an arboretum with over 300 different kinds of trees and an outdoor theater; they currently have about 500 species roses and 6300 cultivars (hybrids). When I was working up a database in 1994 to try to figure out roughly what rose varieties were where in the world, I came up with a figure of over 3000 varieties that were unique to Sangerhausen, though that number is shrinking as Sangerhausen shares its holdings with the rest of the world. There are still major 'finds' waiting to be made at Sangerhausen; amazingly (in view of the fact that they are in the foothills of the Harz Mountains, which is to say in quite a cold climate), they have managed to maintain hundreds of unique Teas, Chinas, and Noisettes through nearly a hundred years, two world wars, and numerous economic ups and downs. Though rose collectors have been especially drawn to their OGRs, they have just about any HT, Floribunda, or Poly of any significance at all through the first half of this century (how many 19th Century and pre-WWI HT's do you know of floating around? They have hundreds...).
" The Rosarium itself is preparing what sounds like a killer website to go up, hopefully, later this year; it will include several photos *each* of all varieties in their collection, at high resolution and taken in such a way as to be most useful from a botanical point of view. When last heard from, they had amassed more than 5 Gigabites of material. When it goes up, it will be accessable by password to paid subscribers ; they eventually hope to expand it with materials from other rose collections throughout the world. I certainly hope that readers of this forum will support it, but that should not prevent them from giving direct help before that."
The address is:
Membership in the Foerder-Verein Freunde des Rosariums Sangerhausen
(Friends of Sangerhausen Assoc.) is 40 DM, or about $23 US.
(please note that this is in no way an advertisement for Sangerhausen's commercial effort. I have nothing to gain by posting this message, except that I may, in my own way, assist in preserving a valuable resource. After all, I have varieties in my garden that once existed only in Sangerhausen's collection! I feel I owe it to them to help by publicizing their need. Paul Barden)