Shailer, England, 1788
‘White Moss Rose’ and ‘White Bath’ are two very different Moss roses. In commerce today, these varieties seem confused. The flowers of the former are more a soft shaded pink than white; often the flowers are one half white and the other half pink. ‘White Moss Rose’ has blue-green foliage and is much less mossed than the pure white and well-mossed ‘White Bath’. Nonetheless is this older ‘White Moss Rose’ more widely grown and sold than ‘White Bath’. I have both roses in my garden and can only say that both these roses are worth growing, each with its own unique characteristics. But when in search for a pure white Moss, go for ‘White Bath’.
“In speaking of the first production of the white Moss Rose, which took place in the year 1788, the first birth was from a sucker or under-ground shoot. My father, Henry Shailer, nurseryman, of Little Chelsea, an extensive grower of Moss Roses, perceiving it to be a lusus naturae from a stool of the red Moss, cut it off and budded it on the white Provins, or Rose La Blanche Unique. The buds flowered the following season a pale blush; he budded them again the following season; it became much whiter; it was then figured in Andrew’s Rosery, under the name of Shailer’s White Moss.” [The Horticulturist And Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste, Magazine (1853), Page 95]
“…. The period of its discovery was about 1799, and occurred in the following manner. In the nursery of the late Mr. Shaile, a plant of the red Moss was noticed to have forced a sucker under the box edging and through the gravel-walk; its glaucous foliage having fortunately been observed, it was allowed to remain and flower, when, to the great surprise of all, it proved to be indeed at that time a (unique) white Moss. The existence of such a flower was then considered incredible, and hosts of inquiries were made as to its authenticity. Amongst the earliest inquirers was the then Countess of Carnarvon and the lady of General Carpenter, both of whom ordered two plants. It was not sent out till the third season after its discovery, when about thirty-six plants were disposed of at five guineas each. The late Marquis of Blandford, a liberal patron of horticulture, called at the nursery, and ordered six plants of it at that price, for which the same amount was charged.” [The Florist, Fruitist and Garden Miscellany, Magazine (1852) Page 109]