Monday, July 2, 2012

Sweet Charlotte

'Charlotte Brownell' in hot June (6/12/12)
Every once in a while, I stumble upon a rose that I may not have been specifically searching for, but yet once I find it, I MUST grow it.  There seems to be a list in the back of my head of roses that I'd like to have, but they are secondary to the primary roses that I really want.  The roses that I really WANT, I just find online and order as the whim and finances strike me. 

On that secondary list, for an extended time, was the cream and pink Brownell rose 'Charlotte Brownell'.  I finally found her as one of those horrid, bagged $3 roses at Home Depot, but that didn't detour me from taking her home and giving her some extra care.  I already have tried, lost, and tried again another Brownell rose, 'Maria Stern', and I thought that 'Charlotte Brownell' might make a good addition to my collection from this family of hardy-bred hybrid-tea like roses.  I'm sure that I once read that 'Charlotte Brownell' has an impeccable pedigree, a seedling descended from 'Peace', but now that I'm trying to find it, I can't confirm that information in an authorative source anywhere.  Rats.

'Charlotte Brownell' in cooler Spring weather (5/13/12)
'Charlotte Brownell' was bred by Herbert Brownell, the younger son of famed rose-hybridizer Walter Brownell, as a member of a group of roses that the Brownell's called the "subzero" roses, bred for hardniess in northern climates.  The sub-zero roses  were Hybrid-Tea type roses that were supposed to be hardy without protection to -15F, and they include roses such as 'Lily Pons', 'Curly Pink', red 'Arctic Flame', orange 'Maria Stern', yellow 'Helen Hayes', lavendar 'Senior Prom', and the namesake,  'Dr Brownell'.  Walter Brownell used R. wichurana to improve the health and winter-hardiness of roses in the 1930's and 40's, and his son Herbert continued his work after his death in 1957, culminating in 'Charlotte Brownell' and 'Maria Stern'.  There is a good summary of the Brownell family legacy on the Internet by author Dan Russo.

'Charlotte Brownell' is a yellow-blend hybrid tea with large flowers, up to 4 inches in diameter, complete with the creamiest white/light yellow centers and pink-tinged, ruffled edges.  The color of the bloom seems to vary with temperature, becoming more pale in hot weather, but with deeper yellow and pinks in cooler weather.  Flowers are double, with 35-40 petals, and open quickly.  The bush has little or no blackspot here in Kansas, but my bargain-basement grafted rose does carry rose-mosaic virus.  Except for the virus, she has glossy dark-green leaves and strong but sparse thorns and she is about 2.5 feet tall at 2 years of age in my garden.  No winter protection seems necessary here in Zone 6A. 

Just try to think of 'Charlotte Brownell' as a more hardy 'Peace' rose and you might find a place for her in your garden.  She also gets a lot less blackspot than 'Peace' does in my garden.

1 comment:

  1. It's great to find another KS bloggerI must admit before being paralyzed I didn't have the discipline to grow and mostly spraying. In my native Australia we don't, knock on wood, have blackspot and no need for winter protection. The biggest I ever saw was an Etoile de Holland growing in the childhood home. It was over 50 years old and the trunk and branches were gnarled and thick. My grandparents has a bed of 16 roses that were over 30 years old but they had been pruned for maximum flower production. My favorites there after Peace, were Forty Niner and Mr Lincoln.
    Well maybe I can come see you when I'm Manhatten?
    Best Patrick


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