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A Walk in Our Garden- Floribunda Stripes

by Bob Martin, ARS President

Author’s Note:

Recently I authored a two-part series on the striped floribundas and shrubs in our garden that appeared in Rose Ramblings, the award-winning newsletter of the San Diego Rose Society. Both articles received 2020 Awards of Merit from the American Rose Society. Part two of the series, on the Delbard stripes recently appeared in the March/April issue of American Rose. This is the first of that two-part series.

ABOVE: 'Stars 'n Stripes', photo by Ann K.


Striped roses have been around for nearly as many years as there have been roses. The modern emphasis on striped roses can, however, be traced to work undertaken by Ralph Moore, the father of miniature roses. At some point in his breeding program, Ralph Moore began a serious line of research into striping in roses which led to the introduction of the first popular red and white striped miniature rose ‘Stars n’ Stripes’ in 1976, the Bicentennial year. It was followed by other miniature roses including ‘Earthquake’ (1984); ‘Pinstripe’ (1985); 'Double Treat’ (1986); ‘Little Tiger’ (1987); ‘Charlie Brown’ (1996); and the climbing miniature ‘Twister’. He also introduced the striped moss miniature, ‘Strawberry Swirl’ (1978).

‘Stars ‘n’ Stripes’ is a cross of the miniature rose ‘Little Chief’ by an unintroduced seedling known only as ‘No. 14 Stripe’. ‘Pinstripe’ is a cross of the 1940 floribunda ‘Pinocchio’ by another unintroduced seedling known as ‘No. 33 stripe’. Both ‘No. 14 stripe’ and ‘No. 33 stripe’ are descended from the 1921 Hybrid Perpetual ‘Ferdinand Pichard’ (ABOVE) bred by Rémi Tanne of France from unknown parentage. ‘Ferdinand Pichard’ is pink with crimson stripes and may be descended from ‘Rainbow’, a sport of the tea rose ‘Papa Gontier’ discovered by John Sievers of California, circa 1889. That latter thought is entirely my speculation, influenced by suggestions that a California connection to ‘Ferdinand Pichard’ exists and ‘Rainbow’ is a similar rose-pink with carmine-pink stripes. It is also recognized as the first rose introduced in California.

ABOVE: 'Rainbow', courtesy HelpMeFind

Jack Christensen

The pioneering work of Ralph Moore in striped miniatures influenced Jack Christensen, then the rose hybridizer at Armstrong Nursery, which was subsequently acquired by Jackson & Perkins. In 1988 Jack Christensen introduced ‘Peppermint Twist’, a pink and white striped floribunda bred from a cross of Ralph Moore’s, ‘Pinstripe’ and the Sam McGredy “hand-painted” hybrid tea ‘Maestro’. This was followed in 1991 by ‘Purple Tiger’, a purple and white striped floribunda from a cross of the dark purple floribunda ‘Intrigue’ also with ‘Pinstripe’. Adding another tiger to the tale in 1991, he also produced the orange and white striped floribunda, ‘Tiger Tail’, this from a cross of another of Sam McGredy’s “hand-painted” roses, the orange floribunda ‘Matangi’ again by ‘Pinstripe’. ABOVE: 'Peppermint Twist', by Kathy Strong.

ABOVE: 'Purple Tiger' by Dona Martin

I grew all three of these roses at or about the time they were introduced and they had a lot to do in influencing my love of striped roses. In particular, I recall attending the Pacific Rose Society Show in April 1993, early in my exhibiting career. It had a class that called for three floribunda sprays in one container, one or more varieties. Having but one spray of each I combined ‘Peppermint Twist’, ‘Purple Tiger’, and ‘Tiger Tail’ in one vase and held it out for my rose show mentor to see, asking what he thought of that. He winced and shielded his eyes. The entry, however, attracted the attention of the judges and was awarded the trophy. It was also the most talked-about entry at the show, attracting both love-it and hate-it comments. ABOVE: 'Tiger Tail', by Kathy Strong.

We grow none of these in our current garden, time having moved on and new striped roses having attracted my attention. They are, however, all still worth growing.

Tom Carruth

Much of the modern work in striped roses can be credited to my friend Tom Carruth, now the Curator of the Rose Collection at the Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. Tom Carruth is a native of Texas who grew up in the Texas panhandle and later received a Bachelor’s degree in Horticulture (1974) and a Masters in Plant Breeding (1976) from Texas A&M University. Active in rose breeding since 1975, Tom retired from hybridizing in 2012. Prior to that he was for 25 years in charge of rose breeding for Weeks Roses as its Director of Research and Marketing. During those years he introduced more than 100 rose varieties, including 11 All-America Rose Selection winners.

ABOVE: 'Scentimental', by Elena Williams

Tom spent his early days in rose breeding working with Jack Christensen so it is not surprising that he would use Jack Christensen’s ‘Peppermint Twist’ in his own breeding. Crossing that with the pollen parent ‘Playboy’ Tom came up with ‘Scentimental’, a red blend floribunda with red and white stripes introduced by Weeks in 1997. ‘Scentimental’ in our garden is a vigorous healthy well-mannered bush with generous bloom. In addition to the novel stripes, ‘Scentimental’ presents the added bonus of a strong, damask rose fragrance, hence the cutesy name. The rose was a 1997 AARS Award winner and later was awarded the prestigious James Gamble Fragrance Award by the American Rose Society.

Continuing with his work on striped roses, Tom produced a number of outstanding striped floribundas that we now grow in our garden. These include ‘George Burns’ (LEFT, by Bob Martin), a yellow and red stripe with mixed tones of apricot and cream appearing in small clusters on a compact, upright plant. The colors vary with the weather and are more pronounced in cooler, damp weather. Also introduced in 1997, ‘George Burns’ is a cross of the pink and yellow blend hybrid tea ‘Calico’ by ‘Roller Coaster’, Sam McGredy’s red and white striped climbing miniature rose. ‘Roller Coaster’ is a first generation descendant of Ralph Moore’s ‘Stars ‘n’ Stripes’ discussed at the outset of this article.

We also grow Tom Carruth’s ‘City of Carlsbad’ (LEFT, by Dona Martin), an orange and white striped floribunda introduced in 2001 by Armstrong Nurseries. Here, Tom used his own large flowered climber ‘Rosy Outlook’, which he had also bred from ‘Roller Coaster’. Crossing ‘Rosy Outlook’ with his own ‘Scentimental’, the result was another floribunda of moderate height with nice semi-glossy, medium green foliage. Unlike ‘Scentimental’, however, it is lacking in noticeable fragrance. The blooms are more semi-double than double, making an attractive flat open bloom displaying distinctive wide orange stripes.

ABOVE: 'Chihuly', by Bob Martin

In 2004, Tom introduced through Weeks Roses, the exceptional orange and yellow floribunda, ‘Chihuly’, named after the distinctive American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly. This was another cross using ‘Scentimental’ and the dark red hybrid tea, ‘Amalia’. Although not exactly a striped rose, ‘Chihuly’ presents a riot of colors in the garden with occasional subtle striping on the upper petal. Ours grows as a 3-foot tree rose in the midst of our striped garden, presenting multiple blooms that are standouts as an open bloom floribunda.

ABOVE: 'Jerry Mathers', by Dona Martin

My mention of striping in ‘Chihuly’ is a segue to my own rose introduction, ‘Jerry Mathers’, a yellow blend striped sport of ‘Chihuly’ I named in honor of and at the request of The Beaver himself (code named MARbeave). Kathy Strong has argued to me that it is not a sport but a common variation of ‘Chihuly’, which is why I add a photo typical of ‘Jerry Mathers’ and ‘Chihuly’ on the same bush. The sport repeats and propagates true, and to verify that it is a sport I put the question to Tom Carruth, the hybridizer of ‘Chihuly’ who confirmed ‘Jerry Mathers’ is a sport that has dropped the distinctive orange suffusion of ‘Chihuly’, thereby making it predominant color yellow. Photos on the HelpMeFind website show both the sport and ‘Chihuly’ which means simply that the sport is a common one, which is not unusual. Jerry and his lovely wife Teresa, an accomplished rosarian and photographer, love it. ‘Jerry Mathers’ is in every other respect like ‘Chihuly’ in its growth, which is compact with semi-glossy foliage and abundant bloom. ABOVE: 'Chihuly' & 'Jerry Mathers'

‘Frida Kahlo’, by Bob Martin

Tom Carruth’s last striped rose, shared with his successor Christian Bedard and introduced in 2018, is ‘Frida Kahlo’, an exceptional new floribunda that shows dramatic striped blooms of various shades of orange, tangerine and lemon. Individual blooms show well and the compact, evenly formed sprays are textbook Guidelines for floribunda spray Queen. The bush is a good grower and well-behaved, and the ‘Baby Love’ in the breeding brings excellent disease resistance. The pollen parent of ‘Frida Kahlo’ is undisclosed and considering there is no striping evident in the lines of the seed parent, it is likely that ‘Scentimental’ or ‘Pinstripe’ (ABOVE, by Kathy Strong) may be lurking in the parentage.

Other Hybridizers

Wrapping up this installment of striped floribundas in our garden, I turn to striped roses offered by other breeders. The first is another “tiger”, namely ‘Tawny Tiger’ (ABOVE, by Bob Martin), an unusual orange and terra cotta striped floribunda bred by Gareth Fryer of the United Kingdom circa 2003. The semi-double blooms are produced abundantly in small clusters on a fairly tall, upright plant with glossy foliage. No breeding is given that would explain the unusual color combination.

Another interesting striped rose in our garden is ‘Deanna Krause’ ('LEFT: Deanna Krause' by Stephen Hoy), a pink and white single hybridized by the amateur Ray Ponton circa 2004 and introduced in the U.S. by the Antique Rose Emporium. Unlike many of the striped floribundas, (with the exception of ‘Scentimental), ‘Deanna Krause’ has a strong fragrance. A cross of ‘Carefree Beauty’ by Tom Carruth’s ‘Fourth of July’, it clearly gets it stripes from the latter, whose pollen parent is Sam McGredy’s miniature climber, “Roller Coaster’, which as mentioned previously is a first generation descendant of Ralph Moore’s ‘Stars ‘n’ Stripes’.

‘Deanna Krause’ is fairly new in our garden but thus far the bush is showing signs of considerable vigor, suggesting it will likely grow taller than the advertised height of 4-feet. I first saw this rose in the Houston garden of its namesake, Deanna Krause, who with her husband Earl are long time members of the Texas Rose Rustlers.

Another lesser-known striped floribunda in our garden is ‘Crimson Flame’ (LEFT, 'Crimson Flame', by Bob Martin), a fiery red and cream stripe of unknown origin introduced in United States by Certified Roses in 2007. ‘Crimson Flame’ is a tall-growing vigorous bush producing large clusters of double blooms that boldly capture your attention in the garden. It will make stunning sprays for the show table.

ABOVE: 'Fired Up, by Bob Martin

Concluding this installment and continuing with the flame theme, we grow ‘Fired Up’, an orange and yellow striped floribunda bred by Alain Meilland and introduced in the United States by Star Roses circa 2014. I first saw this rose in the test garden at Rose Hills as an unnamed test rose and took several photographs because I found the blooms so striking. My experience in growing ‘Fired Up’ is that it is a vigorous tall growing bush that presents exceptional bold yellow and red striped semi-double blooms that jump out at you in the garden and demand to be noticed. Individual blooms are small, with an unattractive bare and long peduncle, and the sprays not very large. The foliage is glossy and clean. Well-selected specimens of ‘Fired Up’ can show and you might consider dropping six into a box that would look to be on fire.


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