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Best Rose Parents Yield Top Progeny
By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center
A recent trip to exchange Christmas gifts actually perked my spirits a little when I found a new shipment of roses ready for winter planting on the shelves. The aspect of new plants, changes in the garden, and blooms in the springtime have many of us talking about gardening even on these coldest days of winter.
The 1999 All-America Rose Selections have many anticipating gorgeous flowers if for no other reason than appreciating the parents of this year's winners. One of the 1999 winners is Betty Boop, a floribunda rose whose parents are Playboy and Picasso. Playboy, one of my all time favorite floribundas, was a Portland Gold Medal winner from 1989. Picasso, also a floribunda, was a Gold Medal winner in Belfast and New Zealand.
Betty Boop is ivory yellow with a red edge. Being a floribunda, it produces clusters of flowers throughout the season. While Playboy was considered a single petal bloomer, Betty Boop has 4-inch flowers with a petal count of six to 12. The flowers have a moderate fruity fragrance.
It has been 23 years since a climber was chosen as an All America Selections winner, and Fourth of July ends the drought this year. Fourth of July is the sibling of Altissimo and Roller Coaster. Altissimo, also a climber, has long been a favorite with its softball-sized flowers. On the other hand, Roller Coaster is a miniature.
Fourth of July is velvety red with white stripes and features long 10- to 14-foot canes. The flowers are fragrant, and it is a good repeat bloomer.
Candelabra, another winner for 1999, is a combination of Tournament of Roses and an unnamed seedling. Tournament of Roses was an All-America Selection award winner from 1989.
Candelabra is a grandiflora with 4-inch, coral-orange flowers that are lightly scented. Its foliage is glossy green which I think really adds to its beauty. This grandiflora should reach a height of about 4 to 5 feet.
The fourth rose of the 1999 All America Rose Selections is a landscape shrub rose called Kaleidoscope. It has tan and lavender petals that fade to lavender-pink along the tip giving it an array of colors.
Rainbows End, an America Rose Society Award of Excellence winner and a favorite among miniatures along with Pink Pollyanna, a shrub rose, are its parents. Kaleidoscope's pointed buds open to reveal 3-inch flowers with a petal count of 35 to 40 and slightly damask rose scent.
As you contemplate your rose garden, remember that roses need five to six hours of direct sun each day. Morning sun is essential, but afternoon shade is tolerated. Good air movement helps the dew and rain dry quickly, thus discouraging disease.
Plant on raised beds with plenty of organic matter incorporated. Avoid planting under eaves or gutters where bushes can be damaged by falling water. Plant your roses where they are easy for you to watch and enjoy. This will also keep you tuned to any insect or disease problems. Enhance your success by watering with soaker hoses instead of overhead sprinklers .