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Altissimo, Royal Sunset and Polka
MAGiCal Roses For March, 2012
by Sandy Simon, Consulting Rosarian

Note: A new column this year called MAGiCal roses will be written each month by our Consulting Rosarians. Two or three roses will be highlighted from the over 130 rose bushes in our garden at MAGC (Marin Art and Garden Center). The garden was planted in 2004 with donated roses from Sunnyside Nursery, West End Nursery, Armstrong Nursery and Sloat Garden Nursery. We have added and subtracted roses each year. The garden is organic and no sprays are used.


'Altissimo' is a large flowered climber, with medium red color that looks like red China lacquer. It has 5" single petaled blooms with 5-7 petals and bright yellow stamens. Early season blooms continue until late season with consistent repeat flowering. Light scent is described as clove. Bred by G. Delbard of France in 1966 and introduced in the US that same year by Cuthbert. Its parentage is ’Ténor’ x seedling. The ARS rating is 8.5 and it is very disease resistant. It has large orange hips in the fall that look like pumpkins and it grows 10 to 12 feet.

Altissimo, Royal Sunset

‘Royal Sunset’

‘Royal Sunset’ is a large flowered climber and is also listed as a climbing hybrid tea. It has 20 petals with an average diameter of 5”. The blooms are borne mostly solitary, cluster-flowered in small clusters, with button-eye, cupped bloom form. The hybridizer is Dr. Denison Morey of the US and it was introduced in 1960. Its parentage is ‘Sungold’ x ‘Sutter’s Gold’.

It has a strong, fruity fragrance. It is beautiful, healthy and one of the best selling roses.  The ARS rating is 8.9 and it grows 8 to 10 feet.



'Polka' is a large flowered peachy, apricot climber. It has a fluffy, scalloped edge and looks like an old fashioned petaled flower. It blooms singularly or in small sprays. It has vigorous, lush green foliage and has a sweet and spicy fragrance. Its parentage is a seedling of 'Meipalsar' and 'Golden Showers' x pollen parent 'Lichtkonigin Lucia’. The hybridizer is Jacques Mouchotte (France). It was introduced in France by Meilland in 1991 as ‘Polka’, and introduced in the US by Conard-Pyle (Star Roses) in the same year. The ARS rating is 7.8. It is also called 'Lord Byron'.

All photos by Joan Goff.

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