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parade of gorgeous new roses All-America selections in time for January
San Francisco Chronicle
on the desired image to see the full image.)
slew of roses will float down the streets of Pasadena today, but not one
of them will have grown in a garden (all were grown under glass) and none
will possess a whiff of fragrance.
However fetching, greenhouse roses will be blotted from memory the moment
their garden-rose cousins commence blossoming (early April in Southern
California; here, three weeks later). According to those in the know,
2003 promises to be a banner year for garden roses. First, the varieties
hottest off the hybridizing bench - this year's All-Americas.
Because the All-America Rose Test Selection Committee allows entries from
hybridizers the world over, many of today's most prized roses aren't American
at all - at birth, that is. This year, three of the four varieties to
wear the coveted All-America crown began life in Europe. The fourth winner,
and my personal pick of the litter, is decidedly American, and I'm not
just being nationalistic.
As it happens, blossoms of all four winning roses have 30 (plus or minus
five) petals each, making them ideal for the Bay Area. (Such varieties
perform best where summers are cooler than average.)
THE EUROPEAN WINNERS
House of Meilland has introduced some mighty fine roses, not the least
of which is 'Peace,' the most famous rose in the world. Its winner for
this year is 'Cherry Parfait,' which churns out masses of blossoms composed
of white petals with broad red edges. As a good Grandiflora should, it
bears its blooms in sprays. Unlike its taller Grandiflora siblings, the
broadly rounded bushes reach only medium height.
Germany's winner, the Floribunda 'Eureka,' is a colorful affair, with
flowers that combine eye-blinking shades of yellow, apricot and gold in
each blossom. Glossy foliage complements compact bushes that seem forever
last time a white Hybrid Tea won an All-America Award was in 1980, and
it's high time for another. Ireland's prestigious Dickson family of rose
breeders answered that call with ‘Whisper,' a classically formed rose
that should breathe fire in exhibition. In case you prefer white roses
to be pure white, with no shadings, accuracy compels me to mention that,
in bud and early maturity, blossoms have a decided pastel-yellow cast.
Although fragrance is only mild, it's definite.
THE AMERICAN DOOZY
hybridizers have been trying for more than a decade to breed a brown rose
to compete with the ubiquitous, annoying (it's scentless) Ecuadoran rose
'Leonides,' which grows well only under glass (grown outdoors it's unarguably
orange and a bad shade at that). At last, the formidable American hybridizer
Tom Carruth has emerged triumphant with ‘Hot Cocoa,' a fragrant Floribunda
certain to excite floriculturists.
The first thing to know about this rose is that you should trust no photograph
you see of it. 'Hot Cocoa's' actual basic color is brown, which, I'm assured
by fine photographers, is one of the most difficult colors to capture
accurately. Then, too, petals of 'Hot Cocoa' include shades of rust, even
purple, in their complicated color scheme, and these hues are often exaggerated
in supersaturated color images. Think brown - 'Hot Cocoa' does.
and Perkins selected 'Bella'roma' its rose of the year. It's bella, all
right; fragrant, too. The well-formed buds are pure bright yellow, but
as blooms unfurl, they reveal deeper yellow petals with rose-pink edges.
If you're already a fan of 'Double Delight,' the lovely All-America rose
from 1977, you're likely to want to grow 'Bella'roma,' too - it's yellowish
where 'Double Delight' is white, and pink where its predecessor is red,
but both are fragrant as all get-out.
Kudos also to Jackson & Perkins for bringing 'Summer Fashion' back into
ready commerce (it had all but disappeared). This fine Floribunda introduced
in 1986 doesn't always perform well (it freezes in Eastern climates and
mildews badly in the South), but it's a quintessential Bay Area performer,
producing comely sprays of yellowish-white blossoms with rose-pink petal
edges. Stems are heavily thorned, but fragrance is sumptuous.
Those who dillydallied over their bare-root order last year were sorely
disappointed when the bombshell rose 'Marilyn Monroe' sold out. Because
it was its first year in commerce, supply was limited. This year, substantial
quantities are available, but I'd still encourage you to order early because
this rose is an all-around winner. Large, perfectly formed blossoms are
washed in green before they begin to unfurl shades of creamy apricot.
Besides being a blond beauty, ‘Monroe' is disease resistant and well perfumed.
Although I've never been fond of 'Joseph's Coat' (I find its color combination
of red and yellow garish), I'm constantly amazed at the size of its fan
club, and I've heard these aficionados lament that 'Joseph's Coat' grows
only as a climber, rather than also as a conventional shrub.
The prodigious German hybridizing family of Kordes heard these bellyachings
and have responded with 'Bonanza,' a shrub rose with blossoms so similar
to those of 'Joseph's Coat' that they could well be mistaken for each
of David Austin varieties will take heart from the introduction of two
new additions to his stellar line of roses.
As do their siblings, these roses look so old-fashioned you'd expect them
to bloom only once each year. Quite the contrary; they repeat blossoming
throughout summer and perform satisfactorily in the Bay Area in spite
of having more than 100 petals per bloom (just allow them to linger on
their bushes longer than you do most roses before you harvest them).
'Teasing Georgia' produces perfectly formed cupped flowers with rich yellow
petals surrounding honey-colored centers. Although I haven't sniffed it
for myself, it's said to smell of licorice.
'Geoff Hamilton' grows particularly tall for an Austin rose - easily to
5 feet in the Bay Area. Buds and immature blooms are warm pink. As blossoms
mature, petals fade to white at their edges, creating a pleasing bicolor
effect. Fragrance is classic old-rose.
The Romantica family of roses from France has a new member, too - 'Comtesse
De Provence,' which blooms coral pink, quartered flowers that harbor a
hint of apricot in their complex perfume. Though the bushes rarely top
4 feet, blooms occur on long cutting stems.
You can't go wrong with any of these roses, but if you're a gardener reputed
for prowess cultivating the queen of flowers, for goodness' sake plant
'Hot Cocoa.' Otherwise, your rose buddies will make fun of you for being
out of the loop.
FOR A CAUSE
-- Venerable rose grower Jackson & Perkins offers a series of commemorative
and cause-related roses and donates a portion of the net proceeds to the
cause commemorated. Past blooms have included the 'John F. Kennedy,' 'Mr.
Lincoln,' 'Billy Graham,' 'Diana, Princess of Wales,' 'Our Lady of Guadalupe'
and 'Cesar Chavez' roses.
Last year, the company introduced the first 'Habitat for Humanity' rose,
a brilliant red rose, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the nonprofit
house- building charity. This year, it has introduced:
-- 'Habitat for Humanity' rose, second in the series, an orange-apricot
Floribunda that grows 4 feet tall with profuse 4-inch blooms and a light,
sweet fragrance. The rose is available through the company as well as
nurseries and garden centers that carry Jackson & Perkins roses only through
spring 2003. (Next year the third, and final, 'Habitat' rose will be offered.)
Ten percent of the net sales will benefit Habitat for Humanity.
-- 'Ronald Reagan' rose, a Hybrid Tea "with red petals with a white reverse.
As the blooms unfurl, the red deepens and the blooms finish with a deep-blue
edge with white underneath."
-- 'Nancy Reagan' rose, an apricot Hybrid Tea with 5-inch blooms. Both
Reagan roses are available through the Jackson & Perkins catalog and Web
site at $24.95 each (three of one rose, $59.95). Ten percent of net proceeds
will go to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.
To order any of the roses, call (800) 292-4769 or go to www.jacksonandperkins.com.
Valley Ranch Nursery, 498 Pepper Road, Petaluma 94952; (707) 795- 0919;
Regan Nursery, 4268 Decoto Road, Fremont 94555;
(510) 797-3222; www.regannursery.com.
Sloat Garden Centers; stores in San Francisco, Marin and Danville.
Sunnyside Nursery, 130 Sir Francis Drake Blvd.,
San Anselmo 94960;
authority Rayford Reddell is owner of Garden Valley Ranch Nursery in Petaluma.
E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.