Break o' day

Anyone ever use the Brownell rose Break o’day. thought it might be useful to get disease resistance and hardiness. thanks.


I had a couple of Break o’ Day for 7-8 years and eventually got rid of the of plants. I had originally obtained Break o’ Day with the intention of using it for breeding. However, in my garden (NH) it was one of the worst for black spot and died to ground every winter and never got more than 2 ft.

It didn’t set hips readily although the pollen worked fine. The seedings I got were all unimpressive. I used it for breeding a couple of seasons and I eventually trashed the plants.

Depending on what zone you’re defining as hardy it may be okay. If your’e really looking for hardiness there are better choices or you can use it with a much hardier rose.

It has been used successfully in the past so you may still want to give it a try.

Most of Brownell’s roses are sold under the sub-zero heading. This isn’t really true. He was breeding for hardiness in Rhode Island and all of his hybrid teas are hardy to zone 6. The least hardy of his roses is ‘Dr. Brownell’. I have never been able to overwinter it.

But if you are looking for hardier Brownell roses, look to his floribundas. ‘Nearly Wild’, ‘Orange Ruffles’,‘Lafter’, and shrub rose ‘White Cap’ are all very hardy. (At least they are here, 5b)

I am a huge fan of Brownell, and I’ve been able to track down many of his roses. Break o’ Day, alas, though it’s unbelievably pretty and fragrant, isn’t all that easy to grow, and even in good years it gets lots of Blackspot and is a little stingy with its blooms. Nor is it all that hardy, but then as Mark says above, the sub-zero description of these roses is sometimes a misnomer.

Still, the next generation from Break o’ Day provides Pink Princess, which is a seedling made by taking the pollen from Break o’ Day and putting it on a cross of Dr. W. Van Fleet and General Jacqueminot. It is an exceptional rose, and sets plenty of seeds that germinate well. It has proven itself as a great parent, for Country Doctor, a cross of it and Crimson Glory, is bulletproof in my garden, and I’m not all that finicky in the care I give my roses. Other first generation seedlings are Lafter, Curly Pink, Senior Prom, Queen o’ the Lakes, and Atomic White, all of which grow well here. Lafter would, indeed, seem like a splendid rose to breed with, combining as it does the genes of V for Victory and Pink Princess, but none of my seedlings of it have done much (nor has it done much for anyone else, though the perfect Orange Ruffels came out of it, so it’s probably worth more work).

Also out of Break o’ Day and Pink Princess came the “Everblooming Pillar” series, though I know less about these roses (I’ve constantly been meaning to find Mike Chute and pick his brain about Brownell’s roses since he seems to know almost everything about them). I do know that Scarlet Sensation, out of Queen o’ the Lakes, grew exceptionally well for me despite some problems with Blackspot that never harmed its vigor that much (though a treated fencepost I put in right next to it for a new poultry pen unfortunately did it in). Also, there is a rose I bought as Pink Pillar from Wayside–after they took over the stock of another company who went out of busines–that is stellar. I mean almost no Blackspot even with no spray. I used to know which of the Everblooming Pillars it was, but my memory now fails me. Maybe someone here actually knows and can tell me. Anyway, the flowers on it aren’t all that great, but I’ve recently started using it so maybe in a few years I can give a fuller report.

Sorry for the long post, but these roses really inspire me. And if you want to dip in, I’d say a great place to start would be Pink Princess (to give the condensed form of my post).