Rose Cuttings – January, 2013

Cherokee rose photos courtesy of Mike Shoup.

The Cherokee — The Living Fence

Thomas Affleck, originally from Scotland, moved his nursery, Southern Gardens, from Mississippi to Texas before the outbreak of the Civil War. He moved to an area in Central Texas near the town of Brenham. Affleck was a prolific writer and produced The Southern Rural Almanac and Plantation Garden Calendar beginning in 1845. In it he discussed all aspects of living in the South. The use of manure, ways to compost, vegetable maintenance, erosion control, winemaking, and plant selection were all topics he visited. He grew fruit trees, roses, and vegetables in enough abundance to sell by packing them onto steamers from Galveston and New Orleans for shipment up the East Coast. He is quoted as saying, “But we are gratified with the manner in which the rose in nearly all its beautiful varieties, grows, thrives, and blooms.” 

He went on to talk about the value of the Cherokee rose. “Hedging with Cherokee rose is very generally practiced in many parts of the country, and becoming more and more so each year. The Cherokee rose is a strong-growing, evergreen, running rose (R. laevigata) with numerous strong thorns, growing readily from cuttings; and upon any land strong enough to yield twenty barrels of corn to an acre, will form an impervious fence in four years, if cared for. The long shoots interlace in such a manner that no animal can force his way through a hedge of four feet in height. Many plantations are without timber enough to build another fence, and must resort to something as a substitute; and for that we know nothing equal to a hedge of this rose, especially for the more exposed fences of the plantation.”

‘Thomas Affleck’

Many roses found growing in and around Washington County, Texas, where Affleck lived, could be varieties that he once offered from his nursery but that have since been lost or dropped from commerce. Discovery and reintroduction of these varieties today offers tough, time-tested survivors to our modern gardens.

About the author: Mike Shoup is the owner of the Antique Rose Emporium. This month’s article is taken from his new book, Empress of the Garden. Visit his company’s Brenham and San Antonio display gardens for endless ideas on landscaping with roses. To order roses online, visit

Editor’s note: Mike Shoup and the staff at the Antique Rose Emporium have named one of their own ARE-bred varieties for Thomas Affleck. Search the website above for the Pioneer rose ‘Thomas Affleck’.

Posted by Mike Shoup
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