The floribunda rose About Face is an American original. It was introduced in the United States by Weeks Roses of Pomona, California, in 2005 and is classed as a grandiflora rose, with large, lightly scented flowers and an upright growth habit. The petals are a peach-orange blend, with 30 to 35 petals apiece. The plant can reach a mature height of 5 to 6 feet tall.
Like all hybrid roses, About Face has a complicated lineage. Its seed parents included O Sole Mio, a French-bred, hybrid tea rose with yellow petals; Midas Touch, another yellow hybrid tea, bred in America and introduced in 1994; and an unnamed seedling rose. Pollen for About Face came from Hot Cocoa, a brownish-orange floribunda, introduced in 2003. Peace, which some sources credit with being the most popular rose in the world, is a parent of Midas Touch, thereby figuring in the lineage of About Face.
About Face was bred by an American, Tom Carruth, director of research at Weeks Roses in Pomona , California. Employed by Weeks since 1988, Carruth began his rose breeding career at Jackson & Perkins roses in Tustin, California, and went on to work for Armstrong Roses in Ontario, California, before moving to Weeks. His roses have won many awards, including the the industry's All America Rose Selection (AARS) award 14 times. Hot Cocoa, also bred by Carruth, and a pollen parent of About Face, won the AARS award in 2003.
In 2005, About Face was named an All America Rose Selection, following in the footsteps of popular roses like Carefree Delight, Knockout and Betty Boop. In 2008, it received the City of Belfast (Northern Ireland) Award for Best Large-Flowered Rose.
Where to See It
The peachy-orange rose blooms in many celebrated rose gardens, including the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden. It can also be seen at the Cranford Rose Garden of the Brooklyn (New York) Botanic Garden; the Elizabeth Park Rose Garden in West Hartford, Connecticut; and the Hershey Rose Garden, Hershey, Pennsylvania.
About Face is cold hardy to USDA Zone 6b, so it can withstand winters with some below-freezing temperatures. Like all roses, it needs about six hours of full sun a day to thrive, as well as good drainage and ample moisture. Yellow and peach roses are often victims of blackspot, a fungal disease. This can be minimized through good air circulation--pruning plants to prevent crossed branches and keeping an open configuration. Every spring, prune out weak and dead canes and deadhead after flowering to promote rebloom. Fertilize with compost--either homemade or store bought--and water in times of drought.