Journal of the California Horticultural Society 9(1): 38-39 (Jan 1948)
Roses in the Landscape Plan
Herbert C. Swim

Modern rose breeding turned a corner when Pernet-Ducher produced the rose Soleil d'Or to establish a starting point for a vast range of new colors in the fine garden plant, the rose. The race was then on to see who could produce the next new color of flower. The absorption of rose growers in this field of flower color became so great that for a while little concern was given to anything else. Many roses were introduced that had little to recommend them aside from a novel color. If the color of a new seedling was sufficiently novel, the seedling usually was named and introduced regardless of the fact that the plant might be weak, disease susceptible, excessively thorny, poorly foliaged, weak necked, or without much to recommend it in pleasing bud or flower form. Many will remember Nigrette, Orange Nassau, and perhaps others, almost as illustrative of the varieties containing truly novel color in the flower but with little else to recommend them. Soleil d'Or was introduced in 1900, but only in the last ten years have rose breeders begun to recognize the true function of roses and their natural environment in the landscape plan.

Gardeners have come to demand that rose varieties give an adequate performance with somewhat less than expert care. To satisfy this need and demand, the rose breeder has found it necessary to produce roses of greater vigor, more disease resistance, greater floriferousness, and with more consistency in form and color of the individual bloom. In other words , his efforts now must take the direction of breeding for the so-called decorative-type of rose. The achievements of the rose breeders of the world in the past ten years show an increased ability to answer this challenge in an aggressive manner. Some excellent decorative-type Hybrid Tea roses and many new and worth-while Floribundas have been offered to rose gardeners as a result of their efforts. It seems apparent that the breeding of Floribunda roses because of their increasing adaptability to mass planting is going to be more and more significant in creating landscape effects.


Most of them fail to repeat this excellent spring performance although some of them give a satisfactory continuity of color in the scattered blooms through the rest of the season. This shortcoming is now beginning to receive some attention. The basis for opening up these fields is interesting because of the crosses made in accomplishing it.

The first truly remontant Pillar roses that we know anything about were produced by the late Captain George C. Thomas, Jr. One of these, the rose carrying Captain Thomas' name, originated from a cross of Bloomfield Completeness x Attraction. We do not know too much about the origin of Bloomfield Completeness for the record has nothing to say about it. It was a small, single, pink-and-yellow-flowered climber. Attraction was a brilliant yellow Hybrid Pernetiana produced by Alexander Dickson. The result of this cross was a single pale pink-and-yellow-flowered Pillar rose producing continuous bloom and possessing remarkable resistance to mildew. Dr. Walter E. Lammerts selected the rose Captain Thomas and back-crossed it to the Everblooming Hybrid Tea strain again when he pollinated the rose Soeur Therese with it. This cross produced High Noon, which is offered in current nursery catalogues, carrying the prestige of a Regional Award of All-America Rose Selections. It carries the true Hybrid Tea bush rose trait of remontance, grows to ten feet or more, bears flowers with intense yellow color and with foliage nearly immune to mildew. It may be that High Noon is the basis of a whole series of climbing or Pillar rose varieties that will continue to bloom throughout the growing season in areas where the climate is not especially severe. In time it may even become a progenitor of truly remontant roses suitable for planting in colder areas.

Dr. Lammerts is also connected with another "break," as it is called in the language of rose breeders. His unusual cross of Mrs. Dudley Fulton, the evergreen shrub rose, and Tom Thumb, the red-flowered miniature, produced China Doll. This offspring is intermediate between its parents in many respects such as color, habit, size of growth, and bud shape. It carries the handsome foliage of Mrs. Dudley Fulton and its ability to produce frequent and heavy bursts of bloom several times throughout the growing season. As a result of selfing China Doll, the writer was able to produce Pinkie, currently being recommended by All-America Rose Selections as a Floribunda type rose. Because of the abandon with which both Pinkie and its parent produce flowers, they are no doubt the forerunners of another new series-type in bedding roses. Such roses should be found both novel and more practical than annuals or perennials for creating desired color masses in the landscape scheme, and there seems to be no reason why these two roses may not be more or less duplicated in a wide range of colors.

Floribunda roses have been used extensively for a number of years in many localities of the eastern part of the United States. For some reason they are only beginning to be appreciated here in California. I predict that they will be used more and more extensively in creating mass color effects with the production of these more floriferous strains.