Pedro Dot and the Pernetiana Roses

Posted by @zuzu on
Pernetiana roses were in great demand in the first half of the 20th century, and although they have now been relegated to the hybrid tea class, many rosarians believe they should still be regarded as a class of their own.

They have several features that distinguish them from our image of the ideal hybrid tea. Some of them bloom in clusters instead of producing one rose per stem, for example, and they lack the high-centered “exhibition” blooms we demand of most of our hybrid teas. In fact, their blooms fail to conform to any specific pattern. The petals can best be described as lax, or “messy,” according to some rose snobs. They seem out of place in a formal rose garden and are more suited to the “romantic” garden, where their casual habit and whimsical blends of color create a fairy-tale landscape.

The Pernetiana roses were named for Joseph Pernet-Ducher, a French rosarian, who began experimenting with various crosses in the late 19th century in the hope of creating a reblooming yellow rose. The yellow roses available at that time bloomed only once a year, and whereas the blooms of some tea roses and some of the early hybrid teas did display hints of yellow, it was a pale yellow, and Pernet-Ducher’s goal was a deep golden shade of yellow.

Crossing a seedling of Antoine Ducher, a reblooming hybrid perpetual, with a species rose commonly known as “Persian Yellow” produced Pernet-Ducher’s first commercial success, Soleil d’Or, in 1900. This first Pernetiana rose, which is even called “the first modern rose” in some circles, was a wonderful combination of golden-yellow and orange. It rebloomed reliably, and best of all, it had inherited the sweet fruity fragrance of the hybrid perpetual instead of the fetid odor of the species rose.

Joseph Pernet-Ducher went on to create many Pernetiana roses. Here are some of the ones that are growing in my garden.

Other rose breeders were quick to jump on the Pernetiana bandwagon. Popular Pernetiana roses were created by Guillot, Coddington, McGredy, Dickson, and other breeders in the 1920s and 1930s.

My favorite Pernetianas were created by Pedro Dot, a Spanish breeder who produced roses that thrive in hot climates. Most of the roses he bred in the 1930s feature blooms of vibrant colors, reminiscent of tropical fruit and producing delicious-looking blends. Although I grow some of his white and silver-mauve roses, the Dot roses and sports displaying various shades of the flame-colored range are my favorites.

Pedro Dot’s roses were imported into the United States and were commercially successful at first. In fact, Condesa de Sastago was the first popular bicolor rose in this country. Bred for a hot climate, however, Dot’s Pernetiana roses were not frost-hardy and failed to grow well in many parts of the world. They gradually fell out of fashion, both because of their failure to thrive in colder climates and because of the postwar vogue for perfectly formed blooms, and now many of the approximately 150 hybrid teas he created are either extinct or survive only in a few gardens.

Comments and discussion:
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So sad by ctcarol Jul 10, 2018 3:07 AM 12

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