Autumn seems to be "Go Time" for one of my newer Griffith Buck roses. Right now Hybrid Tea 'Iobelle' is loaded with buds and starting to bloom in a captivating pink and white mixture. How's this one for gorgeous?
'IoBelle' was a very early release by Dr. Buck, clear back during the Kennedy administration in 1962. I've seen the rose referred to as "Iowa Belle", but the Iowa State Website says 'Iobelle' and so I shall call it here. The Iowa State Website doesn't say much else about the rose, so that site isn't very helpful in terms of the bloom or the height and spread of this rose. The Cherry Capital Rose Society website noted that some consider it to be tender and persnickety, but go on to say that those attributes don't hold true in Zone 4 Michigan, where the rose is fully hardy and vigorous. Oddly HelpMeFind lists the rose as hardy to USDA 7B and warmer, but that statement is just flat out wrong. It is frustrating when a good rose gets bad press, isn't it?
Here, in the Flint Hills, 'Iobelle' is pushing up to 2.5 feet tall at the end of one year of age. A few brief mentions of the rose state that he mature height is 3 to 5 feet tall, so I don't think I've seen the end of the growth yet. The blooms are large, fully double (17-25 petals), and thick-petalled. One thing I really like about this rose is that every flower is unique; the amount of pink in the bloom seems to vary with the number of sunny days in bud and the age of the flower, with more pink in older flowers. Another "like" about this rose is that this is truly a Hybrid Tea flower form, and, unlike many of the Buck Roses, the rose holds up well in the vase without showing undue haste to fully open.. I recently gave a perfect bud to Mrs. ProfessorRoush and it stayed tightly cupped for 4-5 days in the house. The scent is moderately strong. It is said to be "fruity" but my undiscriminating nose can only say that it is pleasant. The foliage is blackspot free, dark green, and healthy here at mid-Fall. The pictured bloom at the left is a little wind-beaten due to some thirty mph winds last week, but other than some shredding of the outer petals, it seems to be holding it's own.
'Iobelle' was a cross of pink Grandiflora 'Dean Collins' with the famous Hybrid Tea 'Peace'. I didn't know that before, or I would have planted it closer to Brownell's 'Charlotte Brownell', another hardy 'Peace' offspring, for comparison. And if I haven't enticed you enough with this rose yet, I'll leave you with the knowledge that this is an almost thornless rose for those who search out those varieties. This one is destined to become a star in my garden. It has already won me some big brownie points with Mrs. ProfessorRoush.