Friday, May 21, 2010

Grandma's Yellow Rose

There's something about yellow roses. As a young woman, I fell in love with a beautiful climbing yellow rose that spilled along a neighbor's chain link fence. The color was vivid, yet restful. Even on cloudy days, it seemed to pull all the light onto its petals. When I moved, I missed that rose. As an adult, when my friends got a dozen red roses on Valentine's Day, I always secretly wished for a dozen yellow ones.

When my first marriage was falling apart and we separated, my soon-to-be ex sent a dozen roses to my office. They were yellow. I couldn't believe it. Seven years of marriage and they were the first such roses. I threw them in the trash. All these years later, I can appreciate the too-late gesture (and remain on good terms with the ex, who found the right woman for him and is happily married) but don't regret what I did.

I've never planted a true yellow rose in my yard. I think it might be time to remedy that. The latest rose to be added to the Texas A&M List of Texas SuperStars is Grandma's Yellow Rose, shown above. The rose is the first of five plants that will be named in 2010. The blooms are not the usual short-stemmed types found in most home gardens, but a true long-stemmed "Valentine's Day Rose," the Texas AgriLife Extension Service horticulturists say.

The researchers named the rose after Dr. Larry Stein's grandmother, Tillie Jungman, who loved the rose and helped test it in her garden near Castroville. Stein is an AgriLife Extension horticulturist and one of the developers of Grandma's Yellow rose. The new rose produces successive flushes of blooms from spring until frost and so disease tolerant that fungicide sprays seldom are needed.

Miss Tillie died in Nov. 2005. Her pallbearers each wore a yellow rose bud in their lapels.

Texas AgriLife Extension Service photo by Robert Burns

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