Help, ProfessorRoush has a problem! No, not that problem. No, not that problem either. My current problem centers around that fact that I have two new Griffith Buck roses that I can't tell apart for love or money. 'Gee Whiz'! That's 'Incredible', you say? Yes, those are the two roses, 'Gee Whiz' and 'Incredible'. I know perfectly well what they were labeled when I received them from Heirloom Roses and I've got them accurately mapped out. I just can't believe that these two roses are so similar.
'Incredible' is pictured above and to the left. Although it is registered simply as 'Incredible', it is also known as 'That's Incredible'. She is a yellow blend shrub rose bred by Dr. Buck in 1984. The helpmefind.com listing for 'Incredible' lists her as a yellow and pink blend, also stippled, with occasional repeat. 'Incredible' is an offspring of 'Gingersnap' and 'Sevilliana'. The Iowa State Buck Rose Website states that 'Incredible' should be double, 25-30 petals, with 4-4.5 inch blooms of barium yellow streaked with vermilion. The blooms are born in grandiflora-type clusters on a 3-4.5 foot plant.
'Gee Whiz', pictured to the right and below, is also a yellow blend shrub rose bred by Dr. Buck in 1984. He is officially described as having stippled orange and yellow petals, with a double (17-25 petal) bloom form and occasional repeat. Also an offspring of 'Gingersnap' and 'Sevilliana', at maturity (my bush is only a few months old), he should be 2.5-3 feet tall, slightly shorter than his sister. The Iowa State Buck Rose website listing for this rose states that the blooms are also borne in clusters but are slightly smaller than 'Incredible', at 3-4 inches diameter.
Confused yet? I assure you that I am and I've got them growing side by side in my garden. Both bushes are identical so far in growth and bloom rate, both have dark green leaves that start out with copper tones, and they are equally blackspot resistant. The blooms of both roses open quickly and fade a bit lighter, but so far, I think 'Gee Whiz' retains slightly more orange tones than 'Incredible'. I'd hate to hang my hat on that, though. So, apart from counting petals or waiting to see if the ultimate size of the bushes are different, I guess I'm going to have to trust Heirloom Roses that they sent me two different roses. And also trust that Dr. Buck, in the later years of his career, wasn't playing a joke that would live on long after him. I wish there was a record available, straight from the professor's mouth as it were, that tells us why he released two such similar roses in the same year. Perhaps, like me, Griffith Buck just loved stippled and striped roses and couldn't bear to shovel prune one of these beautiful creations into oblivion.