Among the roses I grow is one of those beautiful and elegant roses that also somehow remind you of a slow-motion nightmare. You know what I mean; you're having a beautiful dream and then suddenly it all turns bad, in slow-motion you see the car crash or the long fall coming and you try to stop it but you just can't? Well, that's how I feel about 'Maria Stern'.
'Maria Stern' is an orange blend Hybrid Tea bred by the Brownell family in 1969. The blooms are admittedly, fantastically-colored, double, and non-fading, but typical of many of the '60's Hybrid Teas, that's about all I can find to recommend her. She is one of the "Sub-Zero Roses" of the Brownell clan, bred to survive tough winters, but I'd give her a "D+" for vigor. The bush under the strongly fragrant flowers is nothing special to see. My 'Maria Stern' is a little over a year old and stands about 2 feet tall, with only two decent canes. Several other roses planted at the same time, most of them Griffith Buck roses, are a foot taller and much broader and healthier. 'Maria Stern' has moderate blackspot resistance but by this time of the year, her legs are starkly bare and her hair is thinning as well. A cross of 'Tip Toes' (another Sub-Zero rose) and 'Queen Elizabeth', she certainly isn't living up to her pedigree. 'Maria Stern' is supposed to grow to 4 feet tall and be hardy to Zone 4B. The only recommendation I can find for it is that it was the Twin Cities Rose Club's Rose of the Month in March, 2010.
I absolutely love the color of this rose, I really do, but, alas, I feel that she is trying her best to slip away into the dark abyss on me. This is my second 'Maria Stern'. The first loss I attributed to being a decrepit bagged and budded rose, but this time she's on her own roots and still isn't thriving. I planted her last year, almost lost her again right away, protected her against all ill weather, and pampered the heck of of her this year, but no matter how many chocolates and wine coolers I bring her, she just sulks. Maybe next year, if she makes it through winter, she'll finally find her way to shine.