The Section Featuring Shade Tolerant Roses: On the Top: 'Rush' under the roof, 'Pompon Blanc Parfait', left 'Prosperity'
City of Sakura, Japan | 2019 Calendar
City of Sakura, Japan | 2019 Calendar

A friendship forged by roses & the written word

This article is about a friendship that spans across the globe connecting hearts and minds by roses. This year’s Akira Ogawa’s package included ‘The City of Sakura’ 2019 Calendar with a rose mystery. Perhaps Meilland International can identify the ‘Mystery Rose’ of the Hotta Estate. Past President, Jolene Adams was editor of the American Rose Society American Rose Magazine when she explained she would invite authors from around the globe to contribute in-depth stories educating readers about their history and country’s experience with roses. Akira and I have exchanged calendars ever since I shared how much his story of the Rose Garden of Fukushima meant to me.

This section displays old garden roses originating in China, sent from the Zhun an Rose Garden in China,
This section displays old garden roses originating in China, sent from the Zhun an Rose Garden in China,

‘The Rose Garden of Sakura City’

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The Mystery Rose of the Hotta Estate

“In the estate of the Hotta Family in Sakura City, there is a rose which has been giving beautiful flowers for more than a century in front of the mausoleum holding the bones of the heads of the Family. It is said that the eleventh head of the family, Masatsune Hotta, obtained this rose when he visited Europe, and planted it in his estate.

The Section Featuring Shade Tolerant Roses: On the Top: 'Rush' under the roof, 'Pompon Blanc Parfait', left 'Prosperity'
The Section Featuring Shade Tolerant Roses: On the Top: ‘Rush’ under the roof, ‘Pompon Blanc Parfait’, left ‘Prosperity’

“Every year, from the end of April to the beginning of May, this rose gives hundreds of gorgeous pink flowers, fascinating all the visitors to the estate.”

The Mystery Rose of The Hotta Estate

The Mystery Rose Possibly 19th Century French Origin

Unfortunately, though we have been continuing our effort to identify this rose, we have not yet been able to specify its correct name. We consider it is a rose raised in France during the latter half of the 19th century, and suspect that it might be a variety which existed in Europe in those days, but has been lost there, and now can only be seen in this distant island country in the Far East. We tentatively named this romantic rose ‘The Mystery Rose in the Hotta Estate’.

Sakura Extends Beloved ‘Mystery Rose’ Throughout City

We are now planting this ‘Mystery Rose’ along several streets of Sakura City, dreaming of the days when the city is painted in the colour of this beautiful rose before extending to other cities in Japan.

The Hotta Family Connection To Tokugawa Shogunate

During the Edo Period (1603 – 1867), the  Hotta Family showed its  presence as a family of senior councilors of the Tokugawa Shogunate. The ninth head Masayoshi is widely known as the important government official who negotiated with the American Consul· General Townsend Harris toward the end of the Edo Period.

Features large pastel colored flowers flowers of Tea Roses. The roses covering the gate arch: Right: 'Triomphe de Guillot Fils', left: ' Cl, Devoniensis'
Features large pastel colored flowers flowers of Tea Roses. The roses covering the gate arch: Right: ‘Triomphe de Guillot Fils’, left: ‘ Cl, Devoniensis’

May The ‘Mystery Rose’ Live On & Thrive

The above-mentioned head, Masatsune, is the grandson of Masayoshi, and from 19l0s to 1930s, successively held jobs such as the President of the Japan Agricultural Association and the Imperial Navy Undersecretary.

‘The Mystery Rose in the Hotta Estate’ Description:

  1. Type: Climber (6m to 10m)
  2. Flowering Season: From the end of April to the beginning of May. Non-repeating.
  3. Flowers: Colour: pink Shape: perfect quarterly Fragrance: fruity
  4. Horticultural Classification:        Cl. Tea
  5. Health: Strong, nearly free from diseases and insect damage” *

Cover:   Fragrant Rose Section

This section, displaying the collection of fragrant roses, features a peaceful landscape created by the pale colors of old·fashioned roses. The rose on the near side is ‘Constance Spry’.

January: The Entrance to the Old Rose Section

The Section Featuring Shade Tolerant Roses: On the Top: 'Rush' under the roof, 'Pompon Blanc Parfait', left 'Prosperity'
The Section Featuring Shade Tolerant Roses: On the Top: ‘Rush’ under the roof, ‘Pompon Blanc Parfait’, left ‘Prosperity’

The flowers of old roses decorate the screen and welcome visitors.

On the near side:’Pink Iceberg’; the white rose on the right: ‘Nonoka’ ( wild field flowers); on the scree n: ‘Louise Odier’.

February:    Gallica Roses in The History of Roses Section

On the near side (left): ‘Complicata ‘; on the right: ‘Cardinal de Richelieu’

March:   The Chinese Rose Section

The feature of this section is the large, pastel-coloured flowers of Tea Roses.

The roses covering the gate arch: right: ‘Triomphe de Guillot Fils’;              left: ‘Cl. Devoniensis’

April:    The History of Roses Section

This is the scene which comes into your sight when you enter the garden from the camping ground in the park.

Left: ‘Newport Fairy ‘;  center: ‘Phyllis Byde’; right (back): ‘Raubritter ‘ 

This section displays old garden roses originating in China, sent from the Zhun an Rose Garden in China,
This section displays old garden roses originating in China, sent from the Zhun an Rose Garden in China,

May:   The Chinese Rose Section

This section displays old garden roses originating in China, sent from the Zhun·an Rose Garden in China. Many of them give gorgeous double flowers. Dark pink flowers in the center : ‘Tian·nu·guan’ (meaning “heavenly maiden’s crown”

June:   The Section of Asian Species Roses

Toward the end of May, the pergola is entirely covered with single white flowers.  In autumn, they turn into red hips, dressing it up gorgeously.

The  near,  right side:‘R. .ihpes;          left side: R. mulligan.ii

July:    ‘Yellow Rose Section’

In this collection of yellow roses, flowers with different shades of yellow, from cream to orange, display their unique beauty.

White & Pink Rose SectionWhite & Pink Rose Section; Serentity garden of old garden roses Right trained round a pole: 'Cl Summer Snow', center, covering the pergola 'White Mrs. Flight', left 'Raubritter'
White & Pink Rose Section; Serentity garden of old garden roses Right trained round a pole: ‘Cl Summer Snow’, center, covering the pergola ‘White Mrs. Flight’, left ‘Raubritter’

August:     White and Pink Rose Section

Let’s take a rest for a while, surrounded by white and pink old garden roses, enjoying a sense of serenity you cannot find anywhere else.

Right, trained around a pole: ‘Cl. Summer Snow’; center, covering the pergola: ‘White Mrs. Flight’                         left: ‘Raubritter’

September:       The Santa Maria Valley

This is the section where roses donated by Mrs. Helga Brichet are planted. The creamy flowered rose is ‘Andre Brichet’,  named after her husband.  As they open, the  flowers are tinged with pink, changing their expressions little by little.

The Section Featuring Shade Tolerant Roses: On the Top: 'Rush' under the roof, 'Pompon Blanc Parfait', left 'Prosperity'
The Section Featuring Shade Tolerant Roses: On the Top: ‘Rush’ under the roof, ‘Pompon Blanc Parfait’, left ‘Prosperity’

October:      The Section Featuring Shade Tolerant Roses

This is the section which collects roses which do not mind a shady environment so much. On top of the  pergola: ‘Rush’; under the roof. ‘Pompon Blanc Parfait’; left: ‘Prosperity’

November:      The Section for Roses of Japanese Origin

This is the section where wild roses native to Japan and their hybrids are collected.

In  autumn, their red hips shine against the blue sky. The photo: hips of a variety of R.multi.iora.

December:       The Section Featuring Roses from China

Early in May, gorgeous flowers of a Tea Rose from Qing Yuan Xiang (China) stand out against the R. banksiae in full bloom.

*Information given on the last two pages of the ‘City of Sakura Rose Garden 2019 Calendar

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