Finding Roses in the Foothills – part 2

On Thursday morning, there were more visitors to Judy’s garden, so we didn’t start our trip till after lunch. We drove through Sheep Ranch, Murphys, Douglas Flat, Columbia, Sonora, and Coulterville, before looking for a place to spend the night in Groveland. The return trip on Friday took us through Greeley Hill, back to Groveland and Sonora before heading back to Judy’s house.

In Sheep Ranch, we found nothing of interest for me, but there was a Weisse New Dawn that Judy collected. Judy and I have different collection methods. Since she drives around the foothills all the time, she keeps supplies of zip lock plastic bags in the car all the time, puts the cuttings in a bag, labels the bag and adds a bit of water. Since I go planning to collect a lot of cuttings in a few days, I prepare a terrarium (clear plastic storage box) by filling it with bands, and filling the bands with a damp potting mix with added perlite. I can stick the cuttings as fast as I collect them, and I put a label in each pot. When Judy sticks the cuttings, she puts them in pots of straight perlite in her shade house.

The next stop was Murphys, Buena Vista Cemetery. This was quite sad, as the few roses we collected just 4 years ago have been cut to the ground. White Pearl in Red Dragon’s Mouth is gone for good, I think, but tone of the two roses in the Grenitta plot may survive. The Hauselt plot rose may grow back if left alone. Why would anyone ct down roses in a cemetery plot?

Next stop, Douglas Flat. This small town has a historic marker for the Italian Store, and spilling over the wall by the marker is a pink rambler. The store was built in 1861, but the marker in the wall was from 2001. The rambler could date from any time after the store was built. It didn’t show characteristics of either multiflora or wichurana, so I will need to do some research to figute out what it could be. ‘Albertine’ has been suggested.

Italian Store Rambler

Vicious armature

Vicious armature on the Italian Store rambler

Continuing our drive through Columbia, we saw several plants of ‘Félicité Perpétue’. In Sonora we looked for a rose I’d seen several years ago, but couldn’t find it. Judy pointed out some roses she knew in Jamestown. We drove around Chinese Camp, but didn’t see anything to pique our interest. When we got to Coulterville, it was getting late in the afternoon, and finding that the hotel had gone out of business, we drove to Groveland. The first hotel we checked was booked solid, as was the Hotel Charlotte. But the woman at the Hotel Charlotte offered to call a friend of hers who has a B&B 12 miles east, and he had a room for us. We ate at the restaurant at the Hotel Charlotte and headed to Lillaskog B&B (, arriving just in time to watch the amazing sunset. The propriator, Bill, had fresh baked pie for all the guests.

Lilliskog sunset

In the morning, we were greeted by a beautiful view toward Yosemite to Tioga Pass.

Tioga Pass from Lilliskog

After breakfast and showers, we packed up and headed to Ferrati Rd, on the way back towards Groveland. Judy remembered a rose of interest on an old property. When we got there, there was a large motor home, and no sign of the interesting rose.

We headed south to Greeley Hill, a historic town with little historic character left. We saw a R. foetida persiana in front of an apparently abandoned farmhouse. Then in front of another older house, we saw two old hybrid teas. One was a bright yellow, and looked like it could be High Noon. The other appeared to be a pernetiana, but there wasn’t a newly opening flower available help with the ID. The home owner, who told us everyone calls her “Shorty”, kindly let us take cuttings of each. Here are pictures of the blooms they had:

High Noon?


From Greeley Hill we drove to Coulterville. Judy had been there two years earlier, and had notes on the roses she had found. We collected a pink HP on Kow St, one rose in the cemetery- it’s small, so Judy brought it a bottle of water to help it out. There was an interesting yellow rose on Main St. I haven’t seen leaves like its before. The bush was at least 6′ by 6′.Main Street Yellow

unusual leaves

We also found a probable Jeanne d’Arc at an abandoned house, and a white tea. There were other roses in town- numerous plants of what we refer to as the California State Rose- Dr. Huey. Russeliana and R. foetida ‘persiana’ are also common. Judy has grown some seedlings of Russeliana. They all look a lot like the parent, which makes me wonder if some of the ones we find are actually seedlings. I had the same result with odorata understock.

From Coulterville we drove back to Sonora and drove up to a ranch on Bald Mountain Road. I’d been there before, on a friend’s advice, but the roses weren’t in bloom, and my cuttings didn’t take. The family is very friendly, and we collected cuttings of a white HT, a possible pernetiana, and what I thought at first was just a multiflora, but on closer inspection looked more interesting.

Bald Mountain rambler Bald Mountain rambler corymb

Judy also got cuttings of a couple of old rhododendrons while we were there. As a Master Gardener, she asks homeowners if they have any questions about their roses or caring for their other plants. We were there for quite a while, and by the time we got back to Judy’s house it was nearly dark.

Part 3:


About Jill Perry

Since 2005, I have been the Curator of the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden, a part of Guadalupe River Parks and Gardens near downtown San Jose. I write about the Heritage Rose Garden, my garden and my travels when I feel inspired and have time. Since I have no regular schedule, if you'd like to know when I write a new article, please subscribe to this blog.
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