Hopefully, this article will follow the model set by Peter Harris of Texas on Golden Showers in the Summer, 1975, newsletter. As suggested by David de Lisle of British Columbia, I will state that my crossings are made outdoors in Maryland with summer temperatures ranging from 75 to 95 degrees Farenheit. Final crosses are made by July 4 to allow a minimum of 120 days for maturity before hard frost. My latest harvest date has been November 15.
My experience with Orangeade goes back to 1972. Not knowing anything really and especially which of my roses might be fertile, I was crossing widely with everything on hand. My only plan was to experiment, to establish which of the varieties that I had were fertile, and to discover what would work for me.
Orangeade is a floribunda, vivid orange, semi-single, blooming in shapely, well-spaced clusters. Its parents, Orange Sweetheart x Independence, include ancestry of Pinocchio, Fashion, Baby Chateau, Crimson Glory, Eva — a rather distinguished lineage. It is vigorous, repeats well all season, the petals are of good size and better than average substance. It is an eyecatcher. On the minus side, mine will blackspot, but rarely mildew. It has no more than average hardiness to cold.
Many varieties left to their own devices will self-pollinate to produce seeds, yet some of these same roses will rarely, if ever, accept foreign pollen. Of those that appear to do so, many will abort at some stage before maturing their fruits. Finally, of the survivors that hold their hips to full term, many are still not seed parents since they give little or no germination. However, Orangeade goes all the way yielding numerous seeds which usually sprout early and in good numbers.
Orangeades children are mainly of short to medium height. The usually plentiful and attractive foliage is sometimes highly susceptible to blackspot but more often of average resistance. The plants are generally vigorous, of good habit, easy to grow, and bloom early. Most repeat well, but very few as well as Orangeade itself, and the Orangeade clusters are notably absent with but few exceptions. It is strange to see the children blooming one to a stem when the mother holds such fine clusters.
Two crosses that did result in both good repeat and good clustering were x Victor Hugo and x Rosa suffulta. At the opposite end of the yardstick, crosses by Paul's Scarlet Climber, Violette, Tuscany, and Alika had only one period of bloom. Like Golden Showers, Orangeade is a highly reliable seed parent. Pollen from Thor, Rosa palustris, Lorelei, Starina, and The Fairy failed on it, but these were one-shot attempts, and those who know the named pollen-roses will recognize that success was not likely to come easily.
Certain other crosses were recorded as prolific: x Indiana, x Chinatown, x Angel Face, by the Climbing Mme. Henri Guillot, x Utro Moskvy, x Command Performance. Moderately to less successful were the pollens of Granada, Iceberg, Thisbe, Erfurt, Chrysler Imperial, Crimson Glory, Grandmaster, Garden Party, Don Juan, Pink Favorite, Blanche Mallerin, Apricot Nectar, Royal Tan, Georg Arends, V for Victory, and Rosa laxa in about that order. So much for quantity production. Relatively good quality in plant and bloom came from: Rosa suffulta, Victor Hugo, Granada, Command Performance, Angel Face, Iceberg, Garden Party.
Overall in petal count, 90% were single to semi-double. Petals were very consistently short in length. In their favor, they were also consistently wide and possessed excellent crisp substance. Colors were remarkably free of bluing (mauve and magenta), factors certainly present among the many pollens used. Yet Angel Face duplicated, even exceeded, itself in one seedling except that the fragrance was absent. Another Angel Face seedling was soft gray with an orange edging, unique in my experience, and lovely but with more than enough faults to outweigh its only merit. Aside from these, there was practically no hint of bluing, even from pollens that should be suspect such as Crimson Glory, Royal Tan, Violette, Victor Hugo. Pinks were dominant from the crosses by pink roses; reds were dominant when pollens from reds were used; seedlings sired by Iceberg and Blanche Mallerin were white, but always with considerable pink: no surprises there.
There were many blends throughout the entire mass of population. Those few that were orange and yellow followed the well-worn script for that combination by deteriorating rapidly to pink and white and fading disgracefully. There were some all-orange flowers; not unexpectedly, these came from Command Performance, some soft, some brilliant, all one-to-a-stem, neither floribundas nor hybrid teas, but maybe flori-teas and not half bad. Crosses by R. laxa, R. suffulta, and Victor Hugo unexpectedly produced strong and pure oranges among their very sparse populations.
Orangeade was a very early project for me, with a wide range of roses being tried and without any very clear plans in my strictly amateur mind. It was a large part of my indoctrination into rose breeding, and I think it was fortunate for me that I stumbled upon this cooperative rose among so many less encouraging varieties. It is easy to grow, easy to cross, bears large hips usually containing many seeds that germinate early and freely. It is compatible with a wide range of roses from Gallicas to the highly complex Hybrid Teas, with Wichuraiana hybrids, with Hybrid Musks. The greatest value of Orangeade may well be its compatibility with the species roses. In that field, the hybridizer always faces at least three major obstacles: achieving seedlings, getting repeat bloom from them, getting such blooms in colors other than pink and white. Orangeade is not the final key to the treasure chest, but it can do those three things sometimes. For the species breeder and for the beginner, it has much to recommend it.
The surprising appearance of pure orange flowers in crosses with species may be explained by the chemistry involved. Some of the clear pink species are colored with peonin rather than cyanin. The orange pigment pelargonin is produced in competition with cyanin, since they are derived from the same precursor. Peonin, however, is produced directly from cyanin, and is usually lighter in color than the same quantity of cyanin. Thus, when the hereditary factor for pelargon is combined with that for peonin, the total quantity of cyanin is greatly reduced. Cyanin, unlike pelargonin and peonin, changes its color in the presence of co-pigments such as apigenin and gallotannin, which give magenta and mauve respectively.
Most of the orange Polys lose their brilliance with exposure to light and heat. Golden Salmon is an extreme example that opens bright orange, but ages to dull lilac. The combination of these colors in the same cluster is charming or offensive, according to one's taste. Margo Koster often becomes dull in Summer, but is brighter orange in Winter (outdoors in California), or opens a soft and creamy orange in shade. My own Cody (Sweet Chariot x Margo Koster) opened pale orange-pink in shade, but was magenta in full sun. The pelargonin was present, but masked by the more aggressive cyanin+co-pigment combination.
In crosses of Orangeade with peonin colored species such as R. suffulta the cyanin was apparently consumed in the production of the pale and clear pink peonin, allowing the pelargonin to shine through.
Some of the pale, clear pink Rugosa and Roxburghii varieties, among others, are also colored with peonin. This suggests that crosses of such varieties Fru Dagmar Harrup comes to mind with Orangeade could give interesting results. Likewise, a cross of Fru Dagmar Harrup with Orange Mothersday might give a Grootendorst-like plant with bright orange flowers.