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Fortune's Double Yellow, an ancient tea. Discovered growing in a very old Chinese garden in 1845.

Fortune's Double YellowFortune's Double Yellow was discovered in the garden of a wealthy Mandarin gardener in China, and brought to Europe in 1845. It may be a naturally occuring hybrid selected for its superior qualities, or an early hybrid of ancient Chinese origin. When Fortune found it, it was said to be of considerable antiquity even then. It has been suggested (Schoener, 1932) that it is likely closely related to Rosa gigantea, and in fact may be a direct hybrid of some form of R. gigantea.

Fortune described his first encounter with this rose in a Ningpo garden: "On entering one of the gardens on a fine morning in May, I was struck by a mass of yellow flowers which completely covered a distant part of the wall; the colour was not a common yellow, but had something of a buff in it, which gave the flower a striking and uncommon appearance. I immediately ran up to the place, and to my surprise and delight found that I had discovered a most beautiful new yellow climbing rose."

This is a new rose in my collection, and I cannot offer much information about its performance other than what I have read. It is not hardy in zones much colder than 7b, and it needs a sunny warm summer to bring out its best qualities. It can get to be a huge shrub or climber, apparently reaching a height of at least 15 feet. It seems to be disease free, as are many of the R. gigantea hybrids. The blooms are produced profusely in the spring only, but the display is spectacular. There is a very strong scent to the blooms.

ARS merit rating: 7.7
Personal merit rating: undecided.
Hardiness: Likely USDA zones 8 to 10, zone 7 in a protected location.
Shrub size: 12 to 15 feet tall, depending on climate.
Fragrance: 4.0, strong Tea and fruity scent.

Bon Silène Homere
Devoniensis Lady Hillingdon
Fortune's Double Yellow Mons. Tillier
Gloire de Dijon (Rise 'N' Shine X Gloire de Dijon) #1
Gloire de Dijon X Abraham Darby Sombreuil

Original photographs and site content © Paul Barden 2005, All Rights Reserved.