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Tom Brown

Posted by poorbutroserich Nashville (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 18, 13 at 21:04

Has the most glorious buds and blooms. Can he be grown successfully? If you have had success please share.
Thanks! I love this rose! And Grey Dawn and ......

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Tom Brown

Susan, Tom Brown also has a glorious fragrance. He's only available own root and as such he SUCKS. I have Tom Brown own root. SUCKY. Weak, no vigor, sparse foliage, a flower every month of two. Not a "flush of flowers", A FLOWER, singular, one.

I had grow all the brown, gray and green roses through the late nineties, EXCEPT Tom Brown. I imported it three times. Three times it was either not available, or something else was accidentally sent in its place. I gave up. When you order in spring, expecting November delivery and you have to jump through all the government hoops for importation, when you get something in error, there is pretty much nothing you can do about it.

Last year, a friend on the RHA emailed me he had Tom Brown and would happily send it to me. Tom Brown HATED Oregon. It grows and gives a few flowers annually here, but he seems to hate being own root (in a three gallon can of great potting soil in one of the most favorable spots for pots in the yard) here, too. After one full year of giving it all the best possible, the plant is about ten inches tall, one cane wonder with two, whole 'stems'. Twelve months and there is nothing to harvest from it as propagation material.

Until and unless you can get these things as budded plants, only take them on if:

You are willing to take on more ailing misfits you MUST coddle and take extra care of.

You will be content with the occasional flower.

You either don't mind spraying them for diseases or you already spray and can add a couple of more.

You don't mind having to keep them in pots and live with a miffy plant which will sometimes reward your extra time, effort and attention with a heart stoppingly beautiful flower.

I love these roses, truly! I went through all the hoops, time and expense to import them from LeGrice, Gandy and Harkness thirty years ago. I had them all as budded plants and as such, in the climate in which I grew them, they were wonderful. Not so with own root versions of them, particularly where winter and disease protection are facts of life. Of course, YMMV due to many factors and just how much you're willing to give and receive so little for it. Kim

RE: Tom Brown

Kim, I was hoping you'd chime in. I know we love the same "oddballs" from LeGrice et al.
I have Tom Brown and he has given me two blooms thus far. They are so gorgeous. I just love them.
As far was what I'm willing to give, I'd give quite a bit to keep it alive and blooming occasionally.
I'm just not sure how to "coddle" a rose.
PS: have you ever grown Chandos? I saw that one in London. Knocked me down. That and Ice Cream and Remember Me.

RE: Tom Brown

You're welcome Susan. I've not seen Chandos or Ice Cream, but I did grow Remember Me in Newhall. It's probably MUCH nicer in cooler weather than the mid desert. "Coddling" is giving it the best of everything. Pretty much what you do to bands and other immature weaklings you want to push by disbudding. The optimum soil, optimum position, frequent feeding and never letting it dry out. Simply the best of everything. You become the plants 'slave', making sure it has everything whenever it needs it. Like taking care of a demanding, aging, ailing parent or spouse. Been there. Not fun, but sometimes it can give you the "challenge" some of us desire at times. Just not me, anymore! LOL! Kim

RE: Tom Brown

Kim, It seems to me after seeing roses the size of salad plates and some larger that the English climate must be the key to these gorgeous roses. I don't have words to express the feelings I had while walking through Queen Mary's garden in Regent's Park.
Hundreds of one variety (Chandos being the most fragrant) planted together with blooms that were GIGANTIC.
As for slaving over roses...I'm willing to do it for Tom.
I wonder if Burling might be able to bud it on fortuniana?
I still don't understand if a rootstock will increase bloom? I would assume it would increase vigor but that's not always a good thing.
I notice that with my roses there are some I pay careful attention to and others that I am content to just let grow.
I've also noticed that really "fussing" over the roses can sometimes be a bad thing. Like being an over indulgent parent!
Perhaps if I get some of the roses I saw I might get a good fall flush...
It's amazing how incredible my spring flush was on my new roses budded on fort and how measly they now seem to be. They are young but I don't really have any cutting roses this year because they are so puny and the HT's I had last year grafted on Huey all have some kind of cane dieback. Some of them are down to one cane. I'm trying to figure out what I did wrong. . .
The multiflora grafts I've received are growing gangbusters. (even the ones that aren't Geschwind's! that man bred some big roses...guess he had to in Germany).
Thanks Kim again, as always for an interesting and enlightening conversation.

RE: Tom Brown

I've grown 'Tom Brown' own-root for several years, and am very pleased with it. The plant has reached about five feet tall, the blossoms are very double and intriguingly-colored, rather like a very glorified 'Lavender Pinocchio'; and whereas it couldn't be called a heavy bloomer, there's never a long wait for a new blossom. My specimen has the misfortune of being adjacent to a 'Faberge' which has a super-vigorous cane--perhaps a growth sport which is not quite a climber, but which doubles the regular size of a 'Faberge' bush--which super-vigorous cane is doing all it can to take over the space of 'Tom Brown'; what's more, it's being crowded on its other sides by 'Arcadia Louisiana Tea' and 'Gold Cup' (both splendid roses themselves). TB's leaves are a nice leaden green, complementing the flowers well; and they are healthy. I'm sorry to hear that this wonderful rose doesn't do well for others; but, for me, I'd get rid of many many other roses before even thinking of not having 'Tom Brown' to enjoy.

RE: Tom Brown

There you have it. TB does fabulously in Long Beach, where it is far more similar to, though warmer than, something British than Encino where we get a good dose of inland valley heat. The elevation in Long Beach is approximately 95' above sea level. I'm about 1000'. TB hated cold, constantly wet Oregon. You know any plants you observed in Britain were budded. You could write Burling and inquire about budding it. As long as she has the time, she's often game for a challenge. Or, you could try it yourself using her chip budding method. Mundi/10/RM10_Leong.pdf

I don't know why you're seeing the differences between stocks now. I do know the weather we've all endured has been truly weird. Some far too cold and wet, others much too hot and dry. The only way to attempt to figure out why they're behaving the way they are would be to compare the same varieties, in the same garden, grown on the different stocks.

Generally, yes, additional vigor from a suitable stock, appropriate for the soil, water and climate conditions in which it is to be grown, will increase flower production. In most instances, "additional vigor" includes flower production improvement. Of course, there are ALWAYS exeptions to any "rule", generalization, etc. There will always be the anomaly. From floral research funded by the ARS back in the 70s and 80s, it was determined it required approximately 35 perfect leaves to produce one perfect flower. If the plant is unable to produce sufficient roots to produce good growth and a decent foliage cover, how is it going to be able to support heavier flowering?

Roots make all the difference in MOST situations. When I cull weaker, less vigorous, less productive seedlings, they always have inferior root systems compared to their more vigorous, healthier, more productive siblings from the same hip. Why would it be any different with plants of a commercial variety? Take a look at the photo linked below. Burling propagated both of these Grey Pearl plants at Sequuoia years ago. Both came from the same mother plant. Both were propagated at the same time; were planted in the same size nursery cans in the identical soil in the same green house and were grown side by side in as nearly identical everything as humanly possible. The budded plant is the healthier, greener, much larger plant behind the yellow-green own root plant. If that photo doesn't illustrate how budding can improve everything about a weak growing variety, nothing will.

I think Brent gave a clue as to why his TB performs surprisingly well when he stated, ". My specimen has the misfortune of being adjacent to a 'Faberge' which has a super-vigorous cane--perhaps a growth sport which is not quite a climber, but which doubles the regular size of a 'Faberge' bush--which super-vigorous cane is doing all it can to take over the space of 'Tom Brown'; what's more, it's being crowded on its other sides by 'Arcadia Louisiana Tea' and 'Gold Cup' (both splendid roses themselves). "

First, plants can be pushed to gain height as they stretch for light when crowded by other plants. You see it in annuals at nurseries. Those around the edges of flats are bushy and full. Those crowded in the interior of the flats are taller and narrow, having been "pushed" upward by the surrounding plants. You can see it in canned perennials in the same situations as well as potted roses crowded together.

Second, because of how splendidly all the roses in that area of his garden are reported to be doing, perhaps that area has a leaky water or sewer pipe, or have found the leach field supplying the plants extra "resources"? Perhaps they are benefitting from residual "contamination" from some old, out of business aerospace business? Or, perhaps those plants have finally found where Brent "hides the bodies" of clueless reviewers? hehehe Kim

Here is a link that might be useful: Grey Pearl own root and budded at Sequoia

RE: Tom Brown

--"Yes" to the stretching for light theory. I have another demonstration of that with my bush (not climbing) 'Snowbird', which, due to the increasing-over-decades shade cast by an eventually tree-like Holly, eventually made its way up to and along the eaves of my garage. Now the Holly is gone, but the 'Snowbird' has a nice and thriving bush . . . along the eaves of my garage. Incidentally, this 'Snowbird' is among the first roses I ever bought, and is the most aged rose specimen I have, the plant dating back to the mid-1960s. And it's still vigorous and productive! (And it's not even own-root...) But, while encouraged to reach for the light, the canes of 'Tom Brown' are not sickly and elongated unnaturally (nor have those of 'Snowbird' ever been); they're good and stout and "as they should be" because the southwards of the plant is fully open to the sun. They just feel like growing upwards a lot.

--"Yes" to being fortunate in the ground it's in: The now-rose-bed was formerly host to a large Sycamore, many bulky limb-like roots of which are still rotting away four feet plus below ground. Yummy for the roses above!

RE: Tom Brown

Ok gentlemen. Thank you for the explanation. Kim, I couldn't get the link to work.
I will give my new TB careful attention and if he just fails to get with the program I will give Burling a call.
Either that I or I will plant it in 100% manure like they used to do.
It's funny reading the old books talking about piling on the manure. Who was it who came out against that? Was it Keays? I remember someone highly critical of that--maybe it was Hole?
I have noticed that the roses growing the most quickly are those who have great roots. Does getting chemical with potassium encourage this that much? Or bone meal? I remember one year using bone meal with new bands.

RE: Tom Brown

I'm sorry Susan. Try copying and pasting this address.

That will take you to the photo on HMF. If that doesn't work, look up Grey Pearl on HMF and scroll through the photos to my photo of the two plants at Sequoia. Kim

RE: Tom Brown


It was William Robinson who was adamantly opposed to manuring the surface of rose beds.


RE: Tom Brown

Thanks Cath. I thought that was so funny. I really enjoy all of those old books and the way they turned a phrase. Was Robinson the one who also championed the Japanese?
Thanks Kim, I will check out HMF.

RE: Tom Brown

Hi Susan, a cross I made in 2012 and germinated in 2013 between Tom Brown and Pretty Lady has developed in to a fairly decent looking plant and is about to throw its first flower of the year. I wanted to remember to post it in hopes it won't just be "red" or "dark pink". It should (hopefully) open in the next day or two, IF nothing eats it first. This is how it looks now, in several different times of day and levels of sun intensity to give a better idea of what the foliage is like. Kim

tom brown x pretty lady (6)
tom brown x pretty lady (4)
tom brown x pretty lady (2)

RE: Tom Brown

Tom Brown seems worth a try to me. Your seedling looks healthy, Kim.

RE: Tom Brown

Thank you erasmus. I'm watching the bloom and hope it opens this weekend. It's nearly there! Kim

RE: Tom Brown

Today, this opened. Not quite as "brown" as hoped, in fact, it's rather similar in tones to Vesper and rather reminds me of the old Betty Uprichard, but on a healthier plant. No scent to speak of, but also no mildew, rust or black spot. Kim


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