Rosa 'Secret Garden Musk Climber'

Rosa 'Secret Garden Musk Climber'

If you are wondering why that arch appears to be falling over--it's because it is falling over, from the weight of 'Secret Garden Musk Climber'.  Big rose, flimsy arch.  This is a large climbing rose of obscure origins.  It is a "found" rose--meaning someone saw it somewhere in Northern California, got a cutting, rooted it, and then tried to track down the real name.  After research and questions and consultations, no one (apparently) has yet figured out what this rose is--a chance seedling, a natural hybrid, or a very old, long forgotten cultivar. 

This rose has many virtues:  vigor (as you can see), excellent rust and mildew resistance, exceptional bloom and re bloom, and a powerful, spicy clove fragrance.  

As to vices, it is said not to be exceptionally cold-hardy, and to be honest, this rose is a chore: it looks far better if kept clean, and since it blooms so constantly and so heavily, the time it requires for deadheading is considerable. This rose bears a reasonable resemblance to 'Sally Holmes', but 'Sally' lacks fragrance and her repeat bloom, once the spring flush is finished, is poor--very poor in comparison to this one. Though the canes are easy to work with and not particularly prickly, there are nasty hooks on the backs of the leaves that will grab you and not let go.

Rosa 'Secret Garden Musk Climber'

Despite the fresh-ground clove fragrance, I'm not in love with this rose.  I've been trying.  I'm giving it a sincere effort.  Still, it has not captivated me.  I love lots of petals. I love big, lush, heavy, complex flowers, and 'Secret Garden Musk Climber' just doesn't float my boat.  My fault. The bees adore her wide open flowers. They crawl around in the fluffy gold centers, joyfully humming. I'm--meh.  This rose doing everything it can to captivate--or is it just distracting me long enough to take over?  Today, the arch, tomorrow, the neighborhood?

Secret Garden Musk Climber


  1. Your honest appraisal has got me wanting this rose -- simple single flowers, healthy and vigorous (no mildew!). Noting it needs a strong support. I think you've sold me. Very much enjoying your blog. Thanks -- Denise


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