Batten down the hatches! Unusually for me, I'm not going to try to spin any perfect yarn about my love for the rose in today's blog. Dr. Griffith Buck's 'April Moon' is one of those roses that I've tolerated, but that has yet to grow on me. It isn't that it is terribly diseased, extremely ugly, or a sparse bloomer, it is simply never quite lived up to my expectations for it.
'April Moon', introduced in 1984, is officially described as a "medium yellow shrub", with "lemon yellow buds" tinted red, opening to double (25-30 petal) blooms of lemon yellow (color code RHSCC 14C). Here's a neat note; according to helpmefind.com, 'April Moon' has "28-30 petals.....large double (17-25) petals) bloom form." Let's make up our minds, shall we? Is it 30 petals or 17? 'April Moon' is supposed to grow 3 foot tall and four feet wide and have a sweet fragrance. It was a cross of 'Serendipity' with a seedling of 'Tickled Pink' and 'Maytime'.
So what is my problem with 'April Moon'? Let me count the ways. First, I would never in a million years have called her lemon yellow. The only blossoms I ever see are white with maybe the mildest yellow tinge. Perhaps she just can't stand the summer heat in Kansas. Buck's 'Prairie Harvest' is a much better yellow from that breeding program, if still a very light yellow one. Second, the rose is barely double in my eyes, seldom reaching 20 petals. And it opens so fast that I've never been able to photograph a bloom in that "half-open" phase. It seems to be tightly wound in bud one day and then fully open the next. It has no fragrance that I can find, and three years old, my plant has barely made it to two feet high, let alone three. In fact, my 'April Moon' is so different from descriptions that I wonder if I was sent the right rose when purchased.
Are there positives about this rose? Yes, of course there are. It does seem to be completely hardy without dieback in my Zone 5b climate, and it has good disease resistance. The photos on this page were taken recently and you can see from the healthy foliage that blackspot is not an issue on this rose (remember that I don't spray for fungal disease in my garden). The bloom does repeat well throughout the growing season. Most importantly, if you are the sort of rosarian that likes to rave about golden stamens, then you may like this rose because it has stamens in spades. Me, I'm not ready to spade-prune this rose, but so far, it has been a poor sister to 'Prairie Harvest'.