American Rose Magazine 3(4): 67-68 (July-August 1939)
The Brownell Roses
Stephen F. Hamblin, of Lexington, Mass.
No roses of recent origin in America have had the attention given to the Brownell roses, beginning with Mrs. Arthur Curtiss James, spectacularly dedicated by the late Dr. Nicolas at the wonderful garden home of the Brownells in Little Compton, R. I., a location favored by the ocean and bay conditions of nearby Newport. This rose has been widely planted and considerably commented on and is now seemingly coming into deserved prominence.
The unique Brownell ideals and results are here commented on by a most capable observer, Mr. Stephen F. Hamblin, of Lexington, Mass.
According to the laws of heredity, which we understand in part, when wild climbing roses with single flowers in clusters are bred with everblooming bush roses with large, double flowers, many interesting forms will result, especially in the second and third generations. Our modern popular hardy climbing roses with large flowers are mostly the sturdy Rosa Wichuraiana crossed by Hybrid Tea sorts.
The first work in this field was done by American breeders, M. H. Horvath in 1893, and W. A. Manda, Dr. W. Van Fleet, Jackson Dawson, and others about 1900, and by French workers, as M. Barbier. The early originations of these hybridizers were direct hybrids of the wild Climber with modern bush roses, or second crosses. No attempt was made to follow these into several generations of seedlings, or to cross back with the Hybrid Tea. As yet little of recurrence of bloom has been shown in these seedling Climbers, and the yellows are not as hardy and robust as the other colors.
Beginning about 1905, our friends Walter and Josephine Brownell, of Little Compton, R. I., have been steadily working for better yellows, carrying into several generations of seedlings the good plant of pink Mary Wallace and Dr. W. Van Fleet, crossing into them with pure yellows. The first to be released was Mrs. Arthur Curtiss James in 1933. Its parentage is Mary Wallace X a Pernet seedling. It is a giant Climber of heavy Wichuraiana growth, with really large yellow flowers of Hybrid Tea form, and blooms but once. It is now well known, and is a very different yellow Climber from Aviateur Bleriot, with larger flowers of a darker color on a bigger and more hardy plant. It is one of those seedlings of extra hybrid vigor that could be expected in later generations derived from the original Wichuraiana X a Hybrid Tea hybrid. Given a few years to get established, the plant may rival Silver Moon in bulk and far exceed it in productivity. I believe that no hardy yellow climbing rose equal to this has yet been produced in this country or in Europe.
The important fact is that the hardiness and vigor of such standard Climbers as Mary Wallace and Dr. W. Van Fleet have been duplicated in clear yellow. The Brownells had a real "break" as a reward for their industry and patience.
Now their energy has brought forth several other sorts, differing mostly in details, and usually yellow in color. They are evidently as hardy and productive as any Wichuraiana Climber can be, and very strong growers. Some are in the trade; others are to be released. My fear is that the favor of hardy yellow Climbers will cause the other colors to be forgotten. But these are "hardy dooryard roses" (in yellow), for which Dr. Van Fleet worked, and are real equals of Mary Wallace. In their first years after planting they may not grow as quickly as the Ramblers, but in five years they will equal them in bulk of plant, with many new canes 20 feet long. Varieties already introduced or soon to be, are:
Mrs. Arthur Curtiss James (Golden Climber). 1933. Clear yellow.
Golden Glow. 1936. Glenn Dale X (seedling X seedling X Mary Wallace). Dark yellow.
Apricot Glow. 1936. Emily Gray X Dr. W. Van Fleet X Jacotte. Apricot to apricot-pink.
Golden Orange Climber. 1937. Sport of Mrs. Arthur Curtiss James. Yellow-orange.
Peggy Ann Landon. 1937. Glenn Dale X (unnamed seedling X unnamed seedling X Mary Wallace). Clear yellow.
Moon Glow. 1937. Glenn Dale X Mrs. Arthur Curtiss James. Creamy primrose.
Elegance. 1938. Same parentage as Golden Glow. Light yellow.
Golden Pyramid. 1939. Parentage not given. Cadmium-yellow.
Copper Glow. 1940. Golden Glow X Break o'Day—a Brownell HT. Copper color.
Some of these seedlings, like Manda's old Evergreen Gem, are equally good as creepers, and have larger flowers and better foliage. These are mostly pink-yellow in general color.
Little Compton Creeper. 1938. Creeper hybrid self. Single; deep rose-pink.
Coral Creeper. 1937. Creeper hybrid X Jacotte. Semi-double; apricot-pink.
Frederick S. Peck. 1937. Creeper hybrid X Mrs. Arthur Curtiss James. Semi-double; grenadine-pink.
Carpet of Gold. 1940. Shower of Gold X Emily Gray X Golden Glow. Double; deep yellow.
Creeping Everbloom. 1940. Parentage not given. Double; deep red. Everblooming!
The Brownells have concentrated on improving our yellow Climbers. Only one of these sorts has yet shown a desire for continuous bloom, though like many hardy large-flowered Climbers there may be stray blossoms after the June-July season. But hardy yellow Climbers are not the only break at Little Compton. By the rules of the game, some of the seedlings of climber X HT. will become bushes of l IT, character, with greater hardiness and vigor from the Climber parent. Some of these happy events are already named and released, and still others are in process. These hardy ("sub-zero") Hybrid Tea roses have for northern gardens a vigor and productiveness usually found only in lands of little winter. While at first glance a variety such as Lily Pons looks like any HT. of good growth, the count of flowers for the season is way ahead of what any of the standard sorts can do. Each new shoot has a huge cluster of buds (a dozen or more) with successive 5-inch blooms for many weeks, followed by others without ceasing, until hard frost. For continuous mass production of flowers all season no bush roses can equal these. As yet yellow and salmon-pink are the chief colors. Already released are:
Stargold. 1936. Mary Wallace X seedling X seedling. Large; yellow.
Lily Pons. 1937. Glenn Dale X Stargold. Large; white on yellow base.
Break o'Day. 1937. Seedling X Glenn Dale. Orange-apricot.
Opal of Arz. 1938. Seedling Mary Wallace self. Spectrum orange.
In process are:
Butterflies of Gold. 1939. Golden Climber self. Cadmium-yellow.
Pink Process. 1940. (Dr. W. Van Fleet X General Jacqueminot) X Break o'Day. Deep pink.
Thus the search for better hardy yellow Climbers has yielded also the beginning of a perfect race of "sub-zero" hardy Hybrid Tea bush roses for northern gardens.