The American Rose Magazine 5(6): 119-120 (Nov-Dec 1943)
The Recent Horvath Climbers
R. E. Shepherd, Medina, Ohio

Probably no American hybridizer has devoted more time and made a greater effort to develop a race of worthwhile hardy roses than M. H. Horvath, of Mentor, Ohio. As he was one of the first, if not the first, to recognize the value of both Rosa Wichuraiana and R. setigera, in breeding, the majority of his creations show the influence of one or the other of these two vigorous species, and are, consequently, Climbers.

Jean Lafitte, a vigorous Climber producing many ten- to twelve-foot canes, is a cross of a Setigera seedling and the Hybrid Tea, Willowmere. It might be considered a perfect cross as the vigor and hardiness of Setigera have been combined with the color, form and fragrance of Willowmere. Only the everblooming characters of the latter have been lost. No other rose, with the possible exception of Dr. W. Van Fleet, offers more with a minimum of care, and Jean Lafitte is far easier to keep within bounds than is Van Fleet.

Long John Silver, another valuable Climber, is the result of a similar cross, but in this case Mr. Horvath used the Hybrid Tea, Sunburst, rather than WilIowmere as the pollen parent. In this instance, though, the blossoms of the hybrid do not resemble those of the pollen parent in color, as they are silvery white and are borne in clusters. This rose has not proved to be as vigorous or hardy as Jean Lafitte.

Doubloons is well known, and no description of flower or habit should be necessary. If, as recorded, it is a combination of a Setigera seedling and an Austrian Copper seedling it is apparent that the hardiness of these two species has been lost by dilution as Doubloons is not dependably hardy in northern Ohio. Following a mild winter it is a sight to behold, but, unfortunately, our winters are usually quite severe.

Polaris might be classified as a very hardy Félicité et Perpétue, as the blossoms closely resemble those produced by this old favorite. Being a cross of (R. Wichuraiana X R. setigera) X Austrian Copper it is both vigorous and hardy. The color of the blossom is undoubtedly traceable to R. Wichuraiana but the source of the gene for its doubleness is problematical.

Mercurius is good, but not sensational. It is one of the "weak sisters" of the group in respect to quality, quantity, form and color of bloom. About 50 per cent of the wood is lost each winter and the remaining live wood produces but a fair amount of light pink, semi-double flowers. In the matter of parentage, Mercurius is interesting as it contains the "blood of many races"—Setigera, Austrian Copper, Damascena, Hybrid Perpetual, and probably some Hybrid Tea.

Although about 30 per cent of the wood of Federation will probably be lost each winter, the remaining portion will produce a heavy crop of very attractive semidouble, fragrant, rosy pink blossoms that are borne on long strong stems. Setigera, Hybrid Teas and a trace of Wichuraiana have been combined and the result is a very worthwhile vigorous Climber.

Thor is probably the most attractive of all when it blooms but it is, unfortunately, a sparse bloomer and freezes back badly. A long-pointed bud opens up into a very large, double, intensely fragrant, crimson blossom on a long stem that is equaled by few Hybrid Teas. This rose deserves careful winter protection so as to preserve all its canes. In addition to the Setigera, Wichuraiana and Hybrid Tea strains which are found in most of the Horvath roses R. xanthina is also represented.

Hercules does not have the strength to survive our winters and but one plant of three still endures. It will be replaced by Meda, a new Horvath creation which has performed well in test-gardens and appears to be destined to become very popular. As Hercules has consistently failed to bloom in my garden, and I am unfamiliar with Meda, I cannot report on either. In a climate less severe than ours, Hercules is undoubtedly a valuable rose, and I regret that I cannot grow it. As the seed parent, Doubloons, is not dependably hardy and the pollen parent is a Hybrid Tea, its susceptibility to winter injury is understood.

Although Buff King will invariably winter-kill almost to the ground it rarely fails to produce a few very beautiful amber-buff blossoms of good form and on long stems. It, like Thor, deserves winter protection. The parentage is given simply as a "Setigera hybrid."

There are other Horvath Climbers, but only those are mentioned that are in the writer's collection.

In the shrub or dooryard class, Mabelle Stearns is without an equal. An absolutely hardy, vigorous and healthy plant that produces a wealth of very beautiful live pink blossoms from early summer to late fall has been the goal of many rosebreeders. Mr. Horvath reached this goal when he produced Mabelle Stearns. The lazy rose-grower's prayer has been answered, as this rose will actually thrive though neglected. The critical rosarian cannot fail to admire it and it is truly a rose for every garden. It requires considerable space but deserves it.

Faust is an excellent rose for the foreground of a shrubbery border or any other spot where a hardy, disease-resistant and everblooming rose is wanted. The blossoms are cerise-red, double, and are produced in clusters on a thirty-inch plant.

Pink Profusion has been a disappointment in my garden. Its blossoms are pink but the name "profusion" is a misnomer. The plant is leggy, not dependably hardy, the blossoms are of poor quality. All in all, it does not justify the space it occupies.

None of the Horvath roses are afforded winter protection in our garden and are planted in a section where they are exposed to both winter sun and wind. Our winters are severe, as we are beyond the tempering influence of Lake Erie. Near the lake and in southern Ohio they suffer far less winter injury.

During the past five decades Mr. Horvath has created a fine group of roses which are adapted to our climate and which deserve far greater recognition than they have so far received. We hope he produces many more.