Roses from the Garden: Gold Medal

By Phyllis Smith

(From The Charlotte Rosebud, Jan.-Feb, 1999)

Gold Medal came to my rose garden in 1987. It was one of the first roses I ever bought. I had not seen it in a garden when I ordered it from a picture. Yes, I know, you should never order a rose from looking in a catalogue. However, this one time it truly was a fortunate choice. It was a bare root bush from Stocking Nursery, which is no longer in business. That's how long ago it was. I would not dream of removing Gold Medal from my garden. As a matter of fact, I am ordering another bush for spring 1999 planting. It will be an own root plant from this parent plant.

Classified as a Grandiflora, you--would say that looks more like a Hybrid Tea. The deep gold blooms tinged with red or orange are nearly always one-to-a- stem. A candelabra on this bush is usually a large center bloom with two side buds. It is easily disbudded if you are thinking of exhibiting. Yes, this rose could definitely be on the head table.

History lesson is next. Christensen introduced it in 1982 through Armstrong Nursery. It is a cross between Yellow Pages and Shirley Langerhorn. So what? you say. Well, Yellow Pages is a McGreedy rose and they are known for hardiness and reliability of bloom. Shirley Langerhorn is a cross of Granada and Garden Party, both wonderful roses in their own right. As they say in the South, "breeding is everything." The ARS Handbook for Selecting Roses gives Gold Medal an 8.6 rating. I would say that it is well deserved.

Why do I love Gold Medal? Let me count the ways. It is a mannerly bush in the bed, and never crowds its neighbors. The blooms are exquisite. Long stems, spiraling high-centered blooms are the norm. A fragrance of roses and fruit is an attribute. Everblooming is an adjective that describes the bloom pattern. Here it is December 11th , and I am still cutting blooms off Gold Medal. The growth habit is five feet tall by three feet wide. Fits in your HT bed. Rip out one of those marginal bushes you have had in intensive care and make room for a rose that will win your heart.

You know how the roses are late in the fall. They are blooming but don't look good enough to bring into the house. Pale in color, no substance, just not like they were in the spring. I don't understand the physics involved, but Gold Medal looks just as good in November and December as it does in the May garden. The blooms are the deep golden color and full of substance. The stems are sturdy enough to support the large five-inch blooms. I had an arrangement of twelve on the Thanksgiving table. Cut flower supreme!

There is a theory held by my friend Pat Henry, that cuttings from original old plants are superior to diluted specimens that have evolved through the years. In other words, Grandma's plants are truly better. This is where my next Gold Medal is coming from. I want a baby from this plant.

Anyone who comes to the garden always stops at the Gold Medal. It is never without at least one or two blooms and that is because I have probably cut the other ten or twelve and brought them into the house!

I hope you can include Gold Medal in your personal garden this coming year. I feel confident that you will also sing the praises of this wonderful rose.

Phyllis Smith