Thursday, January 13, 2011

Is it 'Rober's or Robert's Lemon Rose' Scented Geranium?

Well, you know how I like controversy especially an herbal one.  The top photo is our 'Rober's Lemon Rose' scented geranium hanging out on the living room windowsill in a southern exposure.  What's unusual about this scented geranium is its leaf shape very similar to tomato leaves.  We will see how the white flies congregate late in the season.  The tag is from my England trip in September to the Chelsea Physic Garden.  They are a very reputable source.

Unfortunately the Chelsea Physic Garden's signage is incorrect.  Just found with the help of a Google book that I have in my collection called The Encyclopedia of Herbs by Arthur O. Tucker and Thomas DeBaggio.  It's all online!  OK, here goes 'Rober's Lemon Rose' is a hybrid of P. graveolens x P. tomentosum that came from Ernest Rober in California in the 1940's.  'Velvet Rose' was isolated from 'Rober's Lemon Rose' tissue culture line by Robert Skirvin at Purdue University in 1975.  So maybe the Chelsea thought that Rober's Lemon Rose was developed by Robert Skirvin instead of Ernest Rober.  I guess I'll just have to let them know the next time I'm there!  You know I will!  The quote for the day comes from Mrs. Reppert's TwelveMonth Herbal:

Many gardens grew within monastery
walls, but most important were the physic
garden near the infirmary and the kitchen
garden near the gardener's cottage.
-- Rosetta E. Clarkson, Magic Gardens


Sharon Lovejoy said...

You are ABSOLUTELY correct about their mislabeling. How could Chelsea do this? I didn't catch it when we were there. Good Nancy Drew Girl Detective.

I have huge bouquets of Rober's and others throughout the house now. They're rooting and I love brushing past them.

Sending love to the detective,

Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

lemonverbenalady said...

I couldn't believe it, Sharon, when I saw it! Had to get a good picture of it. Nancy Drew was a favorite of mine! xxoo Nancy

Herbaholic said...

Hi Nancy :)

It's definitely Rober's don't wait for your next visit tell them now! From now until you next visit 1,000's of people will look at the plant, take photos and if they don't know better they'll think it's called Robert's! I'd guess that the company doing the labels for Chelsea wasn't very plant aware and thought Chelsea had mis-spelt it and the person sticking the label in the plant was a newbie who knew no better, if that's not the case I'm shocked. Glad you enjoyed the visit though, I've lived in the UK all my life and still haven't been to Chelsea Physic Garden!

Herby xxx

lemonverbenalady said...

Thanks Herby. I am going to send them an e-mail and let them know. In fact I may do my latest guest blog for The Herb Companion about it! Thanks for stopping by.

Debi said...

Saw your blog post while searching for an old herbal jelly book. I had the opportunity to take some botany classes with Dr. Tucker. Recently Dr Tucker retired from Delaware State University and was named professor emeritus. He is such a wonderful person.

Anonymous said...

Very good article. I'm experiencing a few of these issues as well..