bred in France, 1900 by Joseph Pernet-Ducher.
'Antoine Ducher' x R. foetida persiana, although
this is the listed parentage, much doubt has been cast on its authenticity,
as a first generation foetida hybrid would not likely have
been remontant. Many authorities now suggest that 'Soleil d'Or'
resulted as an F2 seedling: ('Antoine Ducher' x R.
foetida persiana) X self, while some suggest it was ('Antoine
Ducher' x R. foetida persiana) X a Hybrid Tea/large
flowered remontant rose. Either is plausible. No matter how the result
was arrived at, it earned Pernet-Ducher a place in rose breeding history,
and as a result of this stunning acheivement he was nicknamed The
Wizard of Lyon! With the introduction of this rose came the possibility
of true yellows and oranges and golds in hybrids. Indeed, through the
next generation hybrid 'Rayon d'Or', a whole race of
new roses exploded into existence: the Pernetianas.
Sadly, this class of roses has been merged into the Hybrid Teas group.
Many of us believe that some of these early varieties should continue
to be recognized as Pernetianas.
d'Or' has been, and still is, subject to much criticism. In
many climates it sulks, suffering from serious Blackspot problems and
being stingy with bloom. Often, there is little or no late season rebloom
at all. Blooms are easily damaged in wet weather and can be rather variable
in coloring, depanding on many variables. Still, when you get a few
really beautiful blooms, they offer spectacular color and fragrance.
The scent is unlike any other rose, reminding some people of grapefruit,
and some of oranges. To me, it smells just like orange Tang! Ultimately,
this is a collectors rose, since it cannot possibly compete with modern
HT's for continuity of bloom and sturdiness of plant, but it deserves
a place in any historically viable rose collection. It marks a turning
point in the development of the modern rose.
loving and informative review in the French Journal des Roses,
by Pierre Cochet reads as follows:
1883, Monsieur Pernet-Ducher had sought to raise crosses between 'Persian
Yellow' [Rosa lutea [i.e., R. foetida])
and other [,] remontant [,] roses. This knowing rosiériste
was haunted by the superb yellow color of the Persian, which he strongly
wished to have in a remontant. The enterprise seemed bold!—because
Mother Nature doesn't always deign to cooperate, particularly where
hybridization is concerned, and often gives just the opposite of what
was intended. In a word, Pernet-Ducher stuck to his idea, and over
and over again hybridized Hybrid Perpetuals with the pollen of 'Persian
Yellow'. After many vicissitudes, he noted that the rose
'Antoine Ducher' took more easily than others to
crossing with Rosa lutea. In 1888, he pricked out the seedlings obtained
by these hybridizations, which, planted in the nursery, bloomed one
after the other. The plants were certainly quite unusual—very
interesting from the botanical point of view in their variations,
but nothing showed commercial value. Only one of them ['Rhodophile
Gravereaux' (Pern)] was noted in 1891 and 1892 when it bloomed,
it gave semi-double flowers which were bright pink with whitish petal
bases making a star, petal reverses light yellow, and having the foetid
scent of Rosa lutea. It would have been gotten rid of, or at least
forgotten right away, if a certain small incident hadn't happened.
a friendly dispute which Pernet-Ducher was having with the sympatico
editor of Lyon-Horticole, Monsieur Viviand-Morel, the latter challenged
his friend to come up with some descendants of Rosa lutea,
which another horticulturist of Lyon, the late Alegatiere, had never
been able to make seed. The following season—to be precise,
May, 1893—at the bloom-time of the notorious semi-double pink
flowered rose mentioned above, the dispute was decided in favor of
Viviand-Morel. But in looking for stems to send to his friend, Pernet-Ducher
noticed that [the 'plant' consisted of] two specimens growing next
to each other, the one as ever the pink semi-double rose, the other
quite small specimen showing for the first time quite full blossoms
of a beautiful yellow color—'Soleil d'Or' was
found! Pernet thus found doubled his means of convincing Viviand-Morel
of the possibility of growing varieties of Rosa lutea from seed—not
only in making R. lutea seed, but also by means of using
its pollen to fertilize other species or varieties; the course taken,
while diametrically opposite, came nevertheless to the same end.
"'Soleil d'Or' was immediately grafted on several
specimens, and was carefully scrutinized; in 1896, it gave a repeat
bloom, and its floriferous remontant canes were carefully picked out
and planted, producing some reblooming plants. A fact worth noting
is that the first plants, grafted in 1893, which were at first only
occasionally remontant, became freely remontant afterwards simply
due to the nature of the variety, which took several years to manifest
its characteristics. 'Soleil d'0r', bred in 1888,
kept father Persian Yellow's floral coloration, though
slightly changed the reddish-barked wood, like the Lutea Type, though
bigger and more erect; the foliage, though having a certain resemblance
to that of.R. lutea, is more ample and a darker green; when it is
bruised, it gives out its own scent, resembling the fragrance of Apples.
As to the scent of the blossom, everyone knows that 'Persian
Yellow' produces roses which are foetid and offensive by
nature; 'Soleil d'Or', on the other hand,wafts an
agreeable perfume much like that of the Centifolia. This variety has
also inherited the hardiness of the Persian and can withstand very
low temperatures without suffering. If this variety keeps a certain
number of its father's characteristics, such is also no less the case
with its mother, 'Antoine Ducher', which it resembles
in pretty nearly only three things: the shape of its pericarp, the
perfume of its flowers, and its precious characteristic of re-blooming.
As to the habit of the bush, it's intermediate between the two parents.
'"Soleil d'Or' will be for sale by its breeder
this Fall [of 1900] at a price sufficiently moderate that all the
trade will be able to buy it the stock available is adequate to meet
Noisette's precedent, who gave his name to a much appreciated group
of roses, Monsieur Pernet-Ducher gave, with reason, the designation
Pernet Rose, Rosa Pernetiana, to this new series in the genus Rosa,
to perpetuate the memory of its origin. Though 'Soleil d'Or'
is not yet in commerce, we [the reporter, Pierre Cochet} have been
called upon to examine it under various conditions—particularly
by a letter which its fortunate breeder was so kind as to send us—and
we do not hesitate to sing its praises, certain that the future will
validate our appreciation. As for anything more, the following awards
bestowed on this new variety are sufficiently eloquent to preclude
further paeans: [briefly put, numerous awards presented 1898-1900
at exhibitions or by horticultural societies in Lyon, Tours, Dijon,
Paris, Vienna, Budapest, Dresden, etc.].. .'Soleil d'Or'
is a worthy successor to the beautiful roses that Monsieur Pernet-Ducher
has bred these last years... We give Monsieur Pernet-Ducher all our
congratulations! Due to his perseverance, the future holds yet further
happy surprises for us."
Cochet's quote from Journal des Roses from Brent Dickerson's
The Old Rose Adventurer.
merit rating: 8.7
Personal merit rating: 8.5.
Hardiness: Likely USDA zones
6 to 10, zone 5 with considerable protection.
Shrub size: 2.5 to 4 feet tall X 2 feet wide.
Fragrance: 4.0, strong scent reminiscent of orange juice!
photographs and site content © Paul Barden
2005, All Rights Reserved.