Extract from an article by Nola Simpson and John Ford
Read the full article in New Zealand Rose Annual 2006
Over the centuries in the search for perfection mankind has manipulated the genus Rosa to considerable effect. In the process a wide diversity of fascinating and useful plants has been brought forth. From nature’s original pure species roses of shape, form, floriferousness, colour and different growth habits have all combined to provide us with an unrivalled family of diverse plants.
During the last one hundred years the emphasis on colour has been one of the principal aims of most rose breeders. The development of new colours excites the imagination and has led to new fashions in roses.
Why breed brown roses?
The brown colourations in roses have held a fascination, with exciting possibilities for the future and with the hope of producing rich golden brown shades such as the bronze of pansies and chrysanthemums.
The breeding history of Simpson brown roses
The quest to breed chocolate brown roses commenced around 1970 when by chance a seedling from the rose Orangeade as seed parent produced brown tonings – this led us to try this seedling as a seed parent using a variety of pollens. When Le Grice produced Jocelyn (mentioned earlier), the pollen of this was used to produce eventually Tane (SIMetna), which was a mahogany velvety brown hybrid tea type floribunda. This rose had the very distinctive glossy dark green holly-like foliage characteristic of Jocelyn. In the mid 1970s the rose Mary Sumner was introduced into the breeding programme to bring more vigour into the offspring and also to set seed readily with different pollens. A seedling from Princesse and Tane crossed with Mary Summer produced probably our best rose to date, Hot Chocolate (SIMcho). This rose is very healthy and vigorous and the brown colour is velvety with <attractive shadings in the petals. Using Princesse again with Hot Chocolate has given us the latest selection, Chocolate Prince (SIMehoka). This is the first true HT in the colour chocolate brown. It is very vigorous and healthy and the brown colour holds up well in the heat, unlike many other brown roses e.g. Hot Chocolate and Colourbreak. There have been a number of others along the way worth mentioning. Dark Moments (SIMdemo) bred from Kirsty Jane and Mary Sumner his been quite popular and holds its brown colour well in the heat; again it is very vigorous. Kirsty Jane was one of the earlier seedlings from the original Orangeade seedling