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Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

Posted by nikthegreek 9b/10a E of Athens (My Page) on
Sat, Jan 18, 14 at 15:36

Anybody growing Mermaid (Paul 1917, hybrid bracteata) in a med type climate?

I would like to hear about its performance, fragrance, repeat, disease resistance especially to PM and drought tolerance. I know next to nothing about bracteatas (species or hybrids) so any general info will be also appreciated.
Nik


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

Will the rose be getting its own island to cover?

Think large, then think larger. Healthy and drought tolerant.


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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

I don't mind large, I have fence length to cover. Will it deter intruders? Will it deter my neighbour's boys from jumping the fence to retrieve their basket balls (grumpy, grumpy me)? Will it help with my golden retrievers trying to eat their way through the chainlink fence to play basket ball with them? Will it eat the olive tree nearby? Will it be tough enough to compete with the huge old Pistacia lentiscus shrub 6 feet away?
Nik

This post was edited by nikthegreek on Sat, Jan 18, 14 at 16:10


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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

oh yes, to all of those....and look beautiful too. One of the really great things about Mermaid is its willingness to cover walls and fences keeping amazingly flat - although you do have to be prepared to get the gauntlets out and go at it (and have a decent support system). I love Mermaid insanely and consider its thorniness to be only a minor nuisance compared to its health, vigour, great foliage, fast pliable growth and reliable blooming - it is not one of those like Meg, which has one really fabulous cycle and then nothing - it has wonderfully open blooms scattered throughout its being. Do get it - I have never had room until recently and I will certainly be getting one to run down a bank and into the dry ditch (it is pretty good at that drapy thing too).....


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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

Camps, why was I not only hoping but also almost certain you would chime in? Thanks for the heads up. I'm still wondering about the repeat in my climate though. I'm not that much of an optimist to hope for high summer flowering but I do wish I can get a good repeat or two come fall. I saw a pic of this rose on HMF growing on a brick wall in Sissinghurst which supports your view that this rose can be trained to grow flat on a surface.
Nik

This post was edited by nikthegreek on Sat, Jan 18, 14 at 16:57


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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

I do not grow it myself, but yes, it thrives here in our normally Mediterranean climate (this year it has decided to be a desert climate). It blooms all of the time, but please understand that its blooms are mostly what I would call medium scattered, not covering the plant at any one time. Also very healthy. Some say, too healthy!

I think you have to keep the "can be trained" in mind, and camps comment that "you do have to be prepared to get the gauntlets out and go at it".

There is one growing in a nearby town. It is on land which, I think, belongs to a City or some such. It gets no care - is in an area which is very overgrown, sort of a gulch next to a seasonal creek bed. The Mermaid is at least 20 feet in diameter, in all directions, and at least 10 feet high. Very healthy, as I said, and the blooms are gorgeous. It is growing in full sun. So, if you do not keep after it, I think it would eat your fence, and maybe 10 feet of your neighbor's yard on the other side of the fence, and 10 feet of your garden on your side of the fence. Just something to keep in mind...

Jackie


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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

I have no information on repeat or disease, but the local rosarian told the group one year that Barbra Streisand has it planted at the top of the bluff her seaside home. Someone thought they could get through it to stalk/break in/what ever and ended up calling 911 themselves begging for help in getting out of the thicket. It took the rescuers hours to reach him in there.

Might be a surprise for those neighbor boys :)


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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

  • Posted by titian1 Sydney, Australiae (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 18, 14 at 21:53

Great story, Kippy!
Trish.


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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

I've seen good plants of it in the mountains and in the plains here in northern Italy; not sure why I don't have it myself. I think it should do fine in your climate.
Melissa
P.S. Question for the forum: does this rose root easily from cuttings?


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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

Kippy great story! If I decide to plant it I may need to install an emergency phone near it...

Jackie, thanks for your thoughts, maintenance is one thing to think about. I am physically able to maintain huge plants now and I can also afford hired help but I'm very unsure for how long I'll be able to do either..
Nik


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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

"He who shall remain nameless" used to state that in the San Jose, CA area, Mermaid rooted best in September. He was in the cooler, damper section of the city. Under mist, both at Sequoia Nursery and in the old mist propagator at The Huntington Library, it rooted spring through fall where days were HOT and nights didn't get as cold as coastal areas in these parts.

Right on the water, literally a bit less than two blocks off the Pacific, it could mildew in spring and fall in Pacific Palisades, but it out grew the fungus (and room!) and flowered year round.

If at all possible, position it where you can give it WIDE berth. Those eagle talon prickles are not to be ignored. While amazingly beautiful and vigorous, it does NOT "play well with people"! Kim


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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

Hi Kim,
Thanks for chiming in. I really want to get this rose, I'm just reconsidering placement based on the opinions I'm reading here. Do you think that this rose can stand alone as a huge bush in some place i.e. without support?
Nik


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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

Nik - Yes to your last question - that is what it likes to do most. It is not really what one might think of as a traditional "climber" - it is a huge bush. The one I told you about above supports itself - very good for protecting castle moats, etc.

Jackie


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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

Hi Nik, you're welcome. Yes, as long as you have the acreage, Mermaid can stand by herself. The worst down side of that idea here is the perfect protection a mound of those murderous canes provide vermin. If you don't suffer from rodents, skunks, opossums or other "vermin" there, and you have space for her where you won't have to be too "intimate" with her, go for it. I live on the edge of an urban wildlife area. Any protective habitat I provide is quickly and opportunistically made use of by a variety of critters. Not all of which are "desirable". Kim


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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

Hi KIm,

Yes I do have a field rat problem, which my 3 golden retrievers don't seem to be able to take care of. I think I should get a terrier or three... However, there are already enough places for them to hide and nest in my plot, one more shouldn't make a difference. On top of that, various birds, hedgehogs, tortoises and, yes, snakes take advantage of these hiding places, all of which I'm fond of, this fondness not being shared by my dogs I should add.
Nik


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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

Mermaid will do anything you ask of her, as long as it includes growing rampantly.

She protecteth (anything)
She guardeth (anything)
She bloometh (always)
She liveth (through the occasional freeze, and once established, you won't be able to kill her, no matter what)
She rooteth (easily)
She spreadeth (lots)
She eateth (humans and golden retrievers)


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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

Do you have an ample supply of machetes, flame-throwers & bulldozers to handle any (dear Lord, forbid!) pruning?

It will keep out kids, Goldies, wild hogs, bears, Brontosauruses, T. Rexs, Sasquatches, etc.

The most dainty elegant flowers crowning the most hateful vicious hummocks of thorns imaginable. Plan your placement carefully, with lots of room, so you can enjoy its beauty without having to deal with its devil thorns.


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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

I've shared the photo and story before, but at the bottom of this photo, about 6 o'clock, there is a hedge of taller small trees with large, light yellow blooms. Those were huge Althea bushes (Rose of Sharon), propagated from those growing in my grandmother's garden in Birmingham, Alabama. The light yellow blooms running its length are from ONE, own root Mermaid. That monster frequently over-grew the fire road and more than once, snagged the gardeners who rode down the road with the stakebed truck the landscape company used to collect the prunings and tonnage of grass clippings. They used to tease that the rose could pull them off the truck if they weren't careful. They, and I would whack off the tentacles as they exploded out into that road. It was never ending.

A friend bought a ten hp gas shredder from Sears. She offered to bring it down so I could shred my prunings for mulch. I cut off yards long Mermaid wands and attempted to feed them into the shredder. Wrong! The blamed things wrapped themselves around my torso and seemed to desire dragging me through it with them. She killed the engine and began cutting the tangle of living barbed wire which had ripped itself into my flesh, removing it in short segments to minimize the damage to my bloodied back, sides, chest and stomach. NEVER again! I will shred Bougainvillea, virtually any bush or small tree on the hill, even Algerian Ivy, though that stuff requires a respirator to exclude the irritating "bloom" to its growth which is highly abrasive to mucous membranes when airborne. But, I will NEVER attempt shredding Mermaid growth again! It didn't "shred" but wound itself around the hammers like a rope, ripping what remained outside the chute into the machine. You could reinforce concrete with those limbs! Though, budding it can be quite ticklish as new growth from fresh scions can be as brittle as spun glass. Roots left in the ground, even after outrageously deep excavation (ten feet with one I know of) are guaranteed to resprout. Mermaid is as "immortal" as Equisetum! Gorgeous plant and flowers. Believe ALL of the warnings as they are TRUE! Kim


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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

Oh behave! You are being scary now!
Yes, It is vigorous. yes, it is thorny but it can be tamed......and tamed enough to grow on walls in my sons housing co-op (along with another thorny rose, Maigold). It covered the entire flat windowless north sides of the 3 storey buildings, on a system of 6inch vine eyes and tensioned wires. Course there was a bit of trimming and cutting (not as much as the Madame Alfred Carriere required though, although that is in a more restrained position). When the co-op had new windows installed, the rose was dug out (and has not, to my knowledge, returned - there is talk of a replacement once rose replant is less of an issue. Possibly, it might really be best in a wild garden, or at least somewhere where it can grow unhindered, in a warm climate....but here in England, under our cool grey skies and moderate summers, this rose is an unparallelled beauty.
It could be grown freestanding but I wouldn't want to deal with it because it will naturally flow along the ground until height gets increased by layer upon layer of growth, leaving an utterly no-go area underneath worse than any field of briers the sleeping beauty had to contend with....and no prince coming along either. If I have it on a dry bank, I will give it an annual shearing with the petrol brush-cutter(and a long spring-tined rake)


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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

I suppose it can be tamed as Camps says, judging from this pic. Having said this, one should keep in mind the difference climate can make especially in the case of a not very hardy rose.
Nik

Here is a link that might be useful: Mermaid at Sissinghurst

This post was edited by nikthegreek on Wed, Jan 22, 14 at 17:06


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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

Hee hee.

Subtitle: How to turn a house into a jail facility. Once in, you never get out alive.


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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

There were four Mermaids on this iron pergola. All four were own root. Three were quite old, the fourth was a replacement for one which died. Underneath, you could see green plant tape every 18" - 24" securing it to the structure. Those lengths represented the WEEKLY growth of the new own root plant. Never under estimate the potential of a vigorous 'cathedral eater' in a benevolent climate! Kim

mermaid (1)
mermaid (2)
mermaid (4)
mermaid (6)
mermaid (3)
mermaid (5)


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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

KIm,

I wonder if being grafted would make a difference in terms of subduing the gigantistic (is this a word in English?) tendencies (yes I know this is the opposite of what grafting is supposed to do to roses but here we're talking about a very vigorous rose on its own roots). Roses in Europe are almost always grafted.
Nik


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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

Not from what I've observed of Mermaids on Dr. Huey. They still become monsters, just a bit faster.Kim


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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

FYI Kim, The Huntington has just replaced the gaggle of Mermaids on that pergola with plants of Renae.


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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

Well yes, 4 of them...on a pergola.....was a bit of insanity in the first place. One.....on a wall, fanned out and tied in.....is a different creature altogether.
A bit like wisteria (histeria) - sure it takes work to keep it mannerly, but how worthwhile!


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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

Campanula - just a reminder that the original question was what Mermaid would do in a Meditteranean climate (like Greece & California).

Most of the warnings above come from those of us who have grown or seen Mermaid in such a climate.

So, I am sure that you are completely correct in how it acts "under our cool grey skies and moderate summers", as you put it above, but that is not the question.

We do not have "cool grey skies", and we certainly DO NOT have moderate summers. Our summers are relentlessly sunny - think 9 months of sun on average (this year it is trying to be 12, sigh), which includes at least one sunny month in the middle of winter, even in a normal year.

I am glad to know that Mermaid behaves more like a rose and less like a castle eating monster in England, as I too love the blooms. I personally hope that Nik tries it in Greece, as he seems to have the amount of space and resources to experiment with it.

Nik - please do so, and post pictures and let us know how you and it are doing next year!

Jackie


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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

I know Jacqueline, you are absolutely right here and I apologise for getting carried away.


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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

No need to apologize at all - I just thought I would point out that what was going on in the discussion was not really a difference of opinion, but a difference in climate.

Jackie


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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

Hi Camps,

Judging from the pics I've seen and from the intensity of the answers of people who should know, I think that one should really think long and hard before investing on this rose in my climate. I will (think long and hard). Climate as you know can make all the difference. Having said this, please please do not hesitate to chime in in any of my future question posts, all of them will have to refer to my med conditions, since not only do I value your opinion, knowledge and independent spirit (to put it mildly..) but I also love your sense of humour. Cheers, Nik

This post was edited by nikthegreek on Fri, Jan 24, 14 at 10:41


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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

I used to have a broad alleyway between two pastures, until I planted a Mermaid on one of the fences...


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RE: Opinions about Mermaid Climber in a Med climate?

Nik, Do you REALLY, REALLY want Mermaid?
If so, what about confining the roots to stop it getting too big?
I grew Mermaid in Surrey, England many years ago.
I could not plant her in the ground, so I planted her in a dustbin. She grew to about 12 feet (3+ metres) straight up the wall as I had hoped. I had pretty pots of other plants in front of her to hide the dustbin and it looked really good for 18 years. Then I moved and left her behind.
Why not sink a large container into the ground?
That should curtail her rampant growth.
Daisy


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