A special note on September 12th, 2001. As you all know by now, the World Trade Center buildings and part of the Pentagon were destroyed by terrorist attackers who drove passenger planes into the buildings. To say I am horrified by the violence is a gross understatement. My grief is immeasureable, and I hope that, as I have, you will take a moment to pray for the families of those who have lost their friends and family members. I find it unthinkable, unbelieveable that any human being could consider these acts to be those of reason and sensibility. Any act that makes any other human being less significant than any other is inherently evil.
My thoughts go out to the families of survivors. The lives of Americans have been bruised and broken, but the life force of America remains unblemished. We stand strong, knowing that millions of people stand with us in support. May the broken and bruised be shored up by this knowledge.
Favorite New Roses This Season!
It seems I didn't get everything on the list I wanted to last month, so this article is going to be an extention of the "What's New" theme of August. This time I want to review some of the newer roses in my collection and show off some of the ones I feel turned out to be exceptional performers.
This year I am growing two new Microminiatures, one introduced in 2000, and the other is brand new this spring. Both are bred by Ralph Moore of California, who is the only person currently introducing new Microminiatures in a market that seems to be adopting bigger and bigger "miniatures".
The first of these is 'Little Pinkie' (Illustrated here at left) which won a blue ribbon at the First All-Miniature Rose Show in Fresno, California in the Fall of 2000. What a fascinating little rose this is! It is a true Microminiature, growing no taller than 12 to 14 inches in height, and densely bushy with perfect mildew-proof foliage. Blooms are produced singly and in clusters of 3 to 20, as you see here. This is quickly becoming a favorite Microminiature, as it has the shrub size of 'Si', but with much more sophisticated, more shapely blooms. As is the case with almost all Micros, 'Little Pinkie' has no fragrance, but that doesn't detract from its charm. Highly recommended!
The other new Microminiature I have this year is 'Baby Austin', also from the diverse breeding program of Ralph Moore. 'Baby Austin' is not unlike 'Little Pinkie' in habit, growing not much more than a foot tall and about as wide. It sends up strong, heavily branched shoots from the base with many, many peachy pink blooms on a shoot! I have seen up to 40 blooms on a stem! Each individual blossom is one inch in diameter, and is filled with dozens of quilled petals arranged in almost quartered form. (If you like the OGR style blooms of 'Baby Grand', then you will be VERY impressed with 'Baby Austin'!)
I can't praise this tiny rose enough......in one season it has shown excellent vigor, disease resistance and has made a very impressive plant of nearly mature size. It has been in bloom from the minute I got it. This rose, to me, represents a pinnacle of Miniature Rose breeding. I expect this will become a classic Microminiature, so don't miss it.
Actually, I should include another of my favorite Microminis that I was given a while back. It came to me labelled as 'Popcorn', which, clearly it is not. ('Popcorn' is white, and nearly single) I have no potential identity for this yellow Micro yet, but I suspect someone will know what it is when they see it. (Let me know if you recognize it!)
This rose is quite short in habit, about 12" tall and about 15" wide, with perfect tiny foliage of the darkest green. It produces clusters of a dozen blooms or more, which open lemon yellow and fade to ivory white by the end of the day. There is a very strong sweet fragrance, which is reminiscent of 'Sweet Chariot' to my nose. Even without an identity, this has quickly become one of my favorite new roses.
Speaking of new miniatures, this year I saw 'Don Marshall' for the first time and loved it! It's an older Ralph Moore miniature from 1982, bred from the orange-red Meilland Hybrid Tea 'Baccara', and Ralph's Mini 'Little Chief'. ('Little Chief' is one of the parents of 'Sweet Chariot' and Ralph Moore says that it is still used in their breeding program. Mr. Moore suggests that it is still of great value in breeding new roses both large and small)
'Don Marshall' is a compact, well branched Miniature that produces clusters of up to five blooms, and is nearly continuously in flower. The blooms are an unusual silvery, copper and deep red hue, something that I find impossible to get in a photograph! The backsides of the petals are a DEEP blackish red, as you can see here in the photo. This dark pigmenting is most evident as the buds are beginning to open, and is sometimes much darker than it appears here.
This has been a very well behaved miniature for me, with no disease, and has been a very reliable repeat bloomer. I'm impressed with this little rose, and can't imagine why it hasn't made a bigger impression in the rose world.
'Lynne Gold' is another of the Miniatures I have adopted this year, also from the Ralph Moore collection. This is also an older Mini, dating to 1983. It is from a cross of 'Ellen Poulsen' by 'Yellow Jewel'. This is classed as a Microminiature, as it stays below 14" in height. The bloom shown here at left is about the size of a five cent piece.
I have found this to be a very charming little yellow, with excellent vigor and good health. It has been in bloom constantly since I got it in May, and has quadrupled in size. If you like the really small minis, I suggest trying this one. Good yellow Micros are rare, and this is a fine one.
Before you get the idea that I have done nothing but collect Ralph Moore miniatures this year, I will introduce an English style shrub that I got this spring. I'll tell you the story about my acquaintanceship with 'Star of The Nile'. In August of 2000 I was attending Heirloom Roses annual summer sale, and it was a miserable day; cold and intermittent showers all day. I wandered into the display garden to take pictures, and of course, the roses were nicely lit and had water drops on them. A day like that isn't ideal to evaluate roses for fragrance, but I checked out many of them anyway. I came across 'Star of The Nile', a deep pink, cream and salmon blend rose with English bloom form. I was overwhelmed by the fragrance! WOW! While roses of this color don't usually attract me, this one captured my attention. The flowers are large, and packed full of petals, and the fragrance is a very intense Myrrh/Anise scent. I know not everyone likes this fragrance, but it is a favorite of mine.
So, this spring I obtained a plant of 'Star of The Nile', which was bred by John Clements of Heirloom Roses, and it has made significant growth in the 10 weeks it has been in my garden. It appears to be disease free, and it wants to bloom constantly. (However, I have been removing all but a couple of the buds to encourage growth......horrible thing to do, I know!) I think this is a lovely new rose, and I look forward to watching it mature in my garden.
'Earthquake' is one of the few striped Miniatures I grow, and was new to me this spring. (Every time I visit Ralph Moore, I come away with a few more of his exceptionaly hybrids!) This is one of Ralph's more fanciful roses, with its bold red striping on the lemon yellow background. The yellow fades out to become cream in about 2 days, but I find that acceptable. After all, how many roses don't fade? Bloom form is a wonderful reflexing double form that is reminiscent of some of the Old Garden Roses. Each bloom can be up to 2" across.
'Earthquake' is about 18" tall at maturity, and is a bit wider than it is tall, which I consider to be ideal for a Miniature. Rebloom is excellent, and the overall look of the plant is one of glossy good heath.
The heritage of this rose includes several of Ralph's favorite breeding plants, including 'Fairy Moss, 'Little Darling', 'Ferdinand Pichard' (from whence the stripes came), 'Dortmund' and 'Golden Angel'.