California Horticultural Journal, 11: 96-98 (1950)
The New Everblooming Pillar Roses
Dr. Walter E. Lammerts
Descanso Gardens
La Canada, California

Roses are finally coming into their own as integral parts of the general landscape plan. This is largely due to the development by modern rose breeders of the decorative type of hybrid-tea rose having abundant vigor, ability to grow under reasonably good garden conditions and produce flowers of good form and color continuously during spring, summer and fall. In fact I hope the day will soon be past when roses will be considered such touchy, unusual plants as to demand separate beds and special types of soil and care. Actually about the only requirements of the modern vigorous roses are adequate basins mulched abundantly with well rotted cow manure, occasional feedings with good balanced liquid plant food, abundance of water and good drainage. As these four needs are basic to the successful growing of annuals, perennials, and shrubs as well, there really is no reason at all for not integrating roses more naturally into the landscape plan. The lovely new everblooming Polyanthas and Floribundas make fine borders for the rose, shrub and perennial garden. Particularly desirable are Fashion, having the truly lovely new coral pink color with gold overtones, China Doll, Pinkie, Goldilocks, Fantastique, and the older but equally useful Springtime, The Fairy and Orange Triumph. By judicious summer pruning such unusually vigorous varieties as Orange Triumph and Lipstick may be kept in bounds as true border plants.

*Swim, Herbert C. Roses in the Landscape Plan. Vol. 9, No. 1. January 1948, Page No. 38. Journal of the California Horticultural Society.

As background plants for such combination rose and shrub gardens the new pillar roses have much to contribute. They are also very lovely as accent plants along walls exposed to the south or west. As pointed out by Herbert Swim* the first truly everblooming or remontant pillar roses were originated by Captain George C. Thomas. The best one of these was named in his honor and resulted from a cross of Bloomfield Completeness x Attraction, a deep yellow Pernetiana. Bloomfield Completeness was a small single pink-and-yellow-flowered climbing rose. Its ancestry traces back to Rosa Wichuraiana,—hence the very hard disease-resistant glossy foliage. Captain Thomas, impressed me very deeply the very first day George Patton, Captain Thomas' hybridizer, showed it to me in the summer of 1937. It has fairly large single, deep yellow flowers produced continuously in great abundance on an unusually vigorous plant clothed with large, glossy, dark green, almost mildew proof foliage. This rose was introduced by the Armstrong Nursery in 1939 and is still available in some nurseries. Its really unusual feature, aside from its mildew and black spot resistance, is its stout cane growth which enables it to stand upright without supports, growing to heights of eight to ten feet.

As a result of back crossing this rose to the long-budded Soeur Therese a series of most interesting seedlings was obtained varying from regular dwarf hybrid-tea types through pillar roses to true climbers. All variations from fully single to completely double roses with over eighty petals were observed. One of the pillar roses was very vigorous, growing to ten feet or more and fairly resistant to mildew, completely remontant, bearing very lovely deep yellow flowers of fine bud form and a good degree of doubleness. An eastern rose enthusiast suggested most appropriately the name High Noon for this rose, the first of my new everblooming pillar rose group.

While at the University of California, Los Angeles, I crossed Captain Thomas to many other hybrid-teas. Most interesting were the seedlings obtained by crossing to Crimson Glory, a hybrid-tea variety, very winter hardy under eastern conditions. Many of the first generation hybrid seedlings actually were immune to mildew. Or if such a term is not scientifically accurate enough for our purist plant pathology friends, at least so resistant as to not show any visible signs of imperfection either in the garden or when leaves floating on water in petri dishes were deliberately infected with quantities of conidia spores under ideal conditions of temperature and high humidity. Unfortunately none of these completely immune hybrids had flowers attractive enough to warrant introduction. They were saved, however, for further breeding work and brought over to Descanso Gardens here in La Canada in 1945 when I left the University of California at Los Angeles.

Continued hybridization work and study of this line of crosses has resulted in some truly remarkable everblooming pillar roses. More plants of the Crimson Glory x Captain Thomas cross were grown. Simultaneously crosses of Charlotte Armstrong, Eclipse, Pierre S. Du Pont, and Cecil Brunner x Captain Thomas were made. In every hybrid population plants showing a surprising degree of mildew resistance appeared. Many also had lovely flowers and remontance combined with a fine upright pillar habit of growth.

One of the loveliest of these has already been given a fairly extensive trial and at least during the last two relatively mild winters has proven winter hardy in the eastern states. It is also turning in good reports in the Oakland and San Francisco area, Portland and Seattle. The habit of this rose is amazingly vigorous and sturdy, making a pillar rose eight to ten feet high, needing absolutely no support at all. Branches bent early may, however, be trained as climbers and make very fine arching canes. The very large, dark green, glossy leaves are produced abundantly, clothing the plant luxuriantly clear to its base. They are to all practical purposes immune to mildew and very resistant to black spot. Under very adverse conditions of severe infection small, slightly raised spots occur where mildew mycelium are trying to get established. However, even under such circumstances the usual grey feltlike covering of mycelium does not develop. Normally, however, when even resistant varieties such as Charlotte Armstrong, Grande Duchesse Charlotte, and Eclipse are badly infected not even the slightest trace of mildew may be found.

Unusually remontant, this rose occasionally is misjudged at first as not growing tall enough for a pillar because it blooms so freely immediately after planting. By the second season, however, if not pruned back too severely, it shoots long canes both from the base and above and easily reaches eight to ten feet in height. The flowers on newly planted bushes and early in the season occur on stout stems or candelabras each one often having as many as twenty-five to thirty-five buds. Later on in the season and on established plants buds frequently occur singly or two to three on very long stems. In fact it is not at all difficult to cut many roses from well-grown plants having stems four to five feet long. The upper part of the stems are practically thornless making for added usefulness as a cut flower. The buds are urn-shaped and vary from carmine to scarlet red in color. They open to large high-centered flowers varying from clear begonia rose to deep rose pink with the inside surface varying to scarlet.

This rose will not be available until the season of 1952-54, since eastern trials must be completed before it can be fairly evaluated as to possibilities of national usefulness. Meanwhile it is being crossed with selected plants of the other hybrid combinations mentioned above and already many fine red, yellow, white and multicolored flame and orange yellow flowered pillar roses have been selected from the field rows of hybrid seedlings and budded for further study and trial. As a result of this combination of characters inherited from the combined efforts of many rose breeders we may then look forward to a race of truly everblooming disease-resistant pillar roses which will do much to help integrate the rose into the general landscape plan.