Exhibition Rose Spotlight: ‘Daddy Frank’

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‘Daddy Frank’ Miniature Queen of Show 2013 Philadelphia Rose Show. Shown by and photo by Andrew Hearne.

 ‘Daddy Frank’ is a lovely velvety dark red miniature rose hybridized by Robbie Tucker and named in honor of his grandfather.  An unnamed seedling was crossed with ‘Memphis King’ to create this wonderful exhibition rose.  ‘Daddy Frank’ received the Award of Excellence (AOE) in 2010.  The AOE is given to roses that receive high marks for outstanding qualities of miniature and mini-flora roses in 10 AOE test gardens across the country for a 2-year period.  ‘Daddy Frank’ was classified as a mini-flora at that time.

‘Daddy Frank’ is easy to grow; mine grew very well immediately after planting in a pot.  The first cycle of blooms had very good form; however, I was a bit let down by the bloom size.  I saw some improvement in bloom size as the plant aged, however, not enough to compete well on a regular basis with the typical mini-flora.  I did have a nice one that I exhibited as a mini-flora at the Reading Berks show in 2010.  While the overall specimen of ‘Daddy Frank’ was nice it just couldn’t match the size and “wow” factor of the larger mini-floras.  A fellow exhibitor admiring the entry commented how well it would have done if it were a miniature.  I certainly agreed.

I kept ‘Daddy Frank’ in a pot the remainder of the year.  I was limited on space in the garden and wanted to make sure the few roses I had in pots were worthy of a spot in the garden.  The bush quickly out grow the pot and started to complain about its cramped quarters.  The following spring I was still hesitant of planting the bush in the garden; however, I was losing interest in the dark red mini-flora ‘Memphis King’ which developed a blight that caused the leaves to “freckle” in the spring.  Ironically, ‘Memphis King’ also suffered the same predicament as ‘Daddy Frank’—small blooms for its classification as a mini-flora.  I dug out ‘Memphis King’ for those two reasons and and replaced it with ‘Daddy Frank’, which had a more consistent form.  The bush enjoyed its transfer into the ground as the plant grew very well and the blooms did improve a little both in size and quality.

In 2012, ‘Daddy Frank’ was re-classified as a miniature rose due to the size bloom being on the small side compared to the modern mini-floras.  This was really exciting as I like many others knew how good an exhibition rose ‘Daddy Frank’ could be when correctly classified.  I had really good growth that spring.  The first show I exhibited at in the spring was the Maryland Rose Show in Baltimore the Sunday before Memorial Day.  I had a nice “smaller” ‘Daddy Frank’ that won the Miniature Queen of Show.

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‘Daddy Frank’ Miniature Queen of Show 2012 Maryland Rose Show. Shown by and photo by Andrew Hearne.

Later that week the bigger stems on the bush were blooming.  The best stem had a perfect exhibition-to-die-for-large-high-centered “Queen” on the bush Thursday morning.  I wasn’t going to cut it due to the variety having only 18-25 petals that would not hold.  Despite sitting out in the sun and relatively warm weather all day the bloom didn’t budge!  It looked exactly the same Friday morning.  I cut it that morning, the day prior to the Greater Harrisburg show.  What a mistake!  It was my best miniature bloom when I put it into the refrigerator better than all my ‘Joy’s I had.  Unfortunately, the bloom opened just a tad too much just missing the court despite sitting under the mall skylights and in the warm show room where the judges picked from all the blue ribbon winners.  I won Miniature Queen and King of the show with ‘Joy’ and ‘Renegade’.

This spring I had a monster stem on ‘Daddy Frank’ that had “Queen me” written all over it.  I went out of my way to protect the stem and bloom.  It took forever to open but when it did it was in the middle of the 95 plus degree heat wave that week and after sitting and showing color on the bush seemingly forever, the bloom opened quickly and went from bud stage to exhibition stage in a matter of hours.  Once again I received the blue ribbon at the Greater Harrisburg Rose Show but just missed the court.  Joe Yelinek had a very nice ‘Miss Flippins’ (hybridized by Robbie Tucker) that won the Miniature Queen.

Some times the best roses are on stems you least expect.  The evening I came home from the Greater Harrisburg rose show a perfect ‘Daddy Frank’ bloom sat on a nice but unassuming stem when compared to the other monster stems on the bush.  The following day at the Philadelphia Rose Show it was a run away easy Queen beating my own ‘Eternal Flame’ (hybridized by Robbie Tucker).

I think the biggest lesson I have learned about this variety is the blooms are not noticeably bigger or any better on large stems.  I have also noticed this is the case when observing the specimens of ‘Daddy Frank’ shown by fellow exhibitors. The best ones are on moderate stems.  A good ‘Daddy Frank’ will compete well against any miniature rose including ‘Joy’ and ‘Bees Knees’ and ‘Soroptimist International’.  The foliage is an attractive dark green and is long and pointed.  Care must be given on how much fertilizer you feed ‘Daddy Frank’ as the foliage can dominate the bloom.  ‘Daddy Frank’ is often compared to Robbie Tucker’s other rose the legendary ‘Miss Flippins’.  I would say it’s improved in almost every way except vigor when compared to ‘Miss Flippins’.  It is more disease resistant and hardier.

According to statistics complied by Roseshow.com, ‘Daddy Frank’ was the 8th ranked miniature exhibition rose in 2012.  Thus far in 2013 ‘Daddy Frank’ has won 4 Queens, 6 Kings, 3 Princess and 2 Court Awards (ref. Rose Exhibitors Forum, Vol. 28, No. 3 Summer 2013).  Also ‘Daddy Frank’ is perfect for the AOE challenge classes found at many local and district rose shows.  Given its excellent form and color ‘Daddy Frank’ is a perfect rose for The Jan Shivers National Trophy (a spring national trophy), which consists of 7 AOE roses to be exhibited in separate vases.  If you are looking for a great red miniature show rose that’s equally great in the garden, then ‘Daddy Frank’ should be at the top of your list.

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‘Daddy Frank’ Judges Class Winner awarded to Mike Wrightstone. Photo by Andrew Hearne.

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