Saturday, October 27, 2012

Golden Fantasie

'Golden Fantasie'
On this chilly pre-Winter Saturday, as the nighttime temperatures drop into the 20's and the high today, a football Saturday in Manhattan, Kansas, is predicted for only 48°F, here I am, still blogging about Summer's roses.  Never fear, for those of you who frequent this website to get an occasional taste of the roses, I've stacked up a few pictures to keep us all going through winter.

Today, I'd like to introduce you to a "surprise" rose;  one that you don't often hear or read about, but one that could be a great one for your garden.  I picked it up almost 10 years ago for $5 during an end-of-the-season sale at a Manhattan store that no longer exists.  It was a potted rose, but I'd never heard of it at the time.  After growing it for a decade, I'm now unable to understand why we don't see and hear about it all the time.

'Golden Fantasie' in September, 2012
The rose is 'Golden Fantasie', a light, bright yellow, Hybrid Tea, introduced by Roy L. Byrum in 1971.  The registered name is 'HILgofan', but you might also find it under 'Joan Brickhill'.   'Golden Fantasie' has a medium to large double bloom, with about 20 petals, and an excellent high-centered bloom form.  She has bloomed in 4-5 flushes for me each season, and the moderately fragrant blooms are held on a broad round bush about 3 feet tall and wide, with absolutely great dark green, leathery leaves.  New growth is red fading to green, and it is moderately resistant to blackspot in this climate: not completely resistant, but better than most other yellow Hybrid Teas. The recent picture of the full bush at the left shows a bit of "bare-leg syndrome" from late summer blackspot, but for a Hybrid Tea that was not sprayed at all this summer, it did just fine.  'Golden Fantasie' is completely cane- hardy in my former Zone 5B climate (now 6A).  She is an offspring of 'Dr. A. J. Verhage' (a deep yellow Hybrid Tea)  and  'Anniversary', a now-extinct yellow florist's Hybrid Tea bred by Byrum in 1959.

Roy Byrum, as a rose breeder, is as unknown to me as his roses were, and it is difficult to track down any information on this Richmond, Indiana native who shares my Hoosier background.  Byrum hybridized roses from the 1930's through the 1970's, and although there are 52 other roses listed under his name at, I'd never heard of any of them.  Several seem to have been introduced through the Joseph H. Hill nursery of Richmond Indiana, and 'Golden Fantasie' is the only one of these listed with a modern registration name.   Byrum is listed in an 2011 article titled "Did Plant Patents Create the American Rose?" and you can find him as the holder of any number of plant patents.  He was issued plant patent #154 in 1935, and obtained others running clear through 1976, often in association with the Joseph Hill company, which was a huge source of cut roses in the middle of the 20th Century. 

I'll keep searching for more information about Roy Byrum, but if you run across 'Golden Fantasie', at any price and in any condition, I'd advise you to grab it up and plant it in your garden.  You'll never be sorry.

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