GARDENS, home of Australia’s BLACKSPOT BUSTER roses, announce
the upcoming release in Australia of the second in the unique
EYEOPENER SERIES TM roses. This release
flags a generational change in roses. EYEOPENER roses have eyes!
Decades of breeding, using the very rare Hulthemia persica (syn
Rosa persica) have resulted in fixing an EYE at the base of
each rose flower, reminiscent of peonies.
1974, English rose breeder Jack Harkness, began a quest to incorporate
the eye at the base of Rosa persica flowers into modern roses.
Unfortunately, persica offspring were very weak and prone to
terrible bouts of disease. They were very ill thrifty and mostly
sterile. Rosa persica was in fact not a rose at all it was later
determined by botanists and reclassified as a separate sub-genus
Hulthemia. Incredibly though, Harkness managed to raise 1 fertile
seedling and named it “Tigris”.
the early 1980’s another English rose breeder, Chris Warner
became enchanted by the “eye” and while still an
amateur, managed to buy a plant of “Tigris”. By
a stroke of genius, Warner made crosses with an erstwhile unheard
of rose called “Baby Love”. This rose was later
in the 1990’s to become the breakthrough parent used by
rose breeders all over the world, to overcome blackspot and
mildew. It is a parent of “Brindabella Bouquet”
released in Australia some 5 years ago, which remains completely
resistant to blackspot and mildew.
his early crosses, Warner produced 6 seedlings in 1986 naming
them Tag, Tog, Tug, Tingle, Tang and Tiggle. The healthiest
was Tiggle but after years of crossings with it, nothing worthwhile
was produced. In another stroke of good fortune, Chris’
friend Peter James crossed a seedling of Tingle with his Blackspot
Buster rose “Blue For You” , producing a free flowering
floribunda named “Rose Peony”. The flowers have
2 rows of petals that start out cream in the bud and open to
pale mauve/white with a large dark purple/red eye in the centre.
Stamens are golden yellow which show up beautifully against
the purple eye.