Well, there are two versions of it around and have been for many years. There is a very vigorous one which is quite a bit stronger than the “original”, with muddier colored flowers. Then, there is the “original” whose plant is weaker, but with clearer mauve colored flowers. It followed its parent, Circus, in that regard. For years, there were multiple Circus variations which were the same as with Angel Farce.
AF has a great susceptibility to black spot and rust in many climates. Its winter hardiness is highly suspect. The wood is rather pithy, soft, very susceptible to sun scald and it just isn’t a very durable plant. It is INCREDIBLY fertile and passes on mauve colors, often with scent, but very seldom on healthy, strong growing plants. With Circus, Lavender Pinocchio and being half Sterling Silver, what else could you expect? It has been greatly used my many over the years. I was very surprised to see Meilland releasing an AF seedling recently. Singing the Blues. HMF reports it is an improved AF, “great for mild, dry climates”. It also advises “resist the urge to prune too heavily, this rose doesn’t like it”. Neither does Angel Farce. I know I’ve shared this before, but I actually asked Ralph WHY he based his Halo roses on AF when there were other, better mauves to work with. “Because I had it”. Black spot was (and is) an issue with that line, as it is with the other too closely related offspring.
It was the healthiest, strongest, most highly scented mauve floribunda to date when it was selected AARS in 1968. There have been TREMENDOUS improvements in mauves in the ensuing 45 years. As a museum piece, or in a collection of mauve roses, it’s just fine. But, you don’t deliberately breed German Shepherds for hip dysplasia; Dachsunds for vertebrae problems; Dalmatians for hearing impairment or male schizophrenia. Why would you deliberately raise sickly, weak roses?
Those enormous hips, chock full of plump seeds from those seductively fragrant, mauve blooms promise so much! “Siren’s Song” would have been a far more appropriate name, as it is sure to dash your hopes against the rocks.
Tom Liggett theorized mauve was a “recessive, recessive yellow”. He also observed roses with strong Foetida association didn’t tolerate long, dry, cold storage, frequently drying out, devitalizing the plants. Most of which, seldom recover in spite of your best efforts. Sterling Silver and Peace are two others of similar heritage and also demonstrate the de vitalization in many plants you encounter for sale. You’ll sometimes find a happy plant in a particularly suitable location. They are absolutely stunning, but they are the exceptions rather than the rule.