Rose Breeders
Roses Bred by Tantau
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It may be that Tantau's reputation is not best served by his most popular roses. It is in association with Tropicana or Fragrant Cloud that so many rose lovers come to know Tantau's name. Tropicana was certainly a good rose in its day, but its popularity has, perhaps, outlived its ability to live up to it. Since its introduction there are a lot of roses in its color zone that eclipse it. Fragrant Cloud's reputation rested on its unique and strong color as well as its fragrance. Today, there are a few other roses in the same color range. And there are other fragrant roses. So some of its cache is ebbing.

I have a weak spot for Geisha, though I do not know whether it is of easy or difficult culture. Its silky pink petals work so well with its prominent red stamens that I see it almost in a class by itself. I once planted Whiskey Mac and learned quickly what people meant when they complained of lack of vigor and poor disease resistance. Polarstern would easily be the best primrose hybrid tea were it not for the subsequent introduction of Elina.

Arguably, Tantau's most enduring rose is City of York. It's a white flowered wichuriana climber that seems to totally lack flaws. It grows a little slowly, but it is steady and completely free of disease. Everywhere I have seen it in bloom I have fallen hopelessly in love with it. It has the same kind of ineffable balance that one associates with the best of Pemberton's roses. But its beauties may be too subtle for many rose growers.

Subtlety is not a problem for Showbiz or Royal Occasion. Both are scarlet, bordering on vermilion and very bright. I have seen few floribundas more foliferous than Showbiz, and none with half the impact.

RoseFile Database.

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Cultivar Class Color FragranceBreeder Hardiness
Hybrid Tea
Lilac
Strong
Tantau
Zone 7
Floribunda
Vermilion
Tantau
Zone 6
Large Flower Climber
White
Moderate
Tantau
Zone 4
Hybrid Tea
Coral
Powerful
Tantau
Zone 5
Floribunda
Pale Pink
Moderate
Tantau
Zone 5
Hybrid Tea
Shell Pink
Moderate
Tantau
Zone 5
Hybrid Tea
Orange/Yellow
None
Tantau
Zone 5
Hybrid Tea
Gold
Slight
Tantau
Zone 5
Hybrid Tea
White
Moderate
Tantau
Zone 4
Hybrid Tea
Candy Pink
Strong
Tantau
Zone 5
Floribunda
Vermilion
Slight
Tantau
Zone 6
Floribunda
Scarlet
None
Tantau
Zone 5
Modern Shrub
Primrose
Moderate
Tantau
Zone 5
Hybrid Tea
Yellow
Slight
Tantau
Zone 5
Floribunda
Candy Pink
None
Tantau
Zone 5
Hybrid Tea
Vermilion
Moderate
Tantau
Zone 6
Hybrid Tea
Gold
Strong
Tantau
Zone 5
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