My Favorite Frank Benardella Roses by Bill Kozemchak

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June Benardella, Peter Alonso and Frank Benardella. Photo by Bill Kozemchak.

Bill Kozemchak is an accredited American Rose Society Judge and avid exhibitor and winner of local, district and national trophies. Bill and his wife Kathy grow over 1,000 roses on there relatively small Levittown, PA property. It is a sight to behold when in full bloom.  

‘Hilde’ – I would have to say ‘Hilde’ is my favorite Frank Benardella rose. It was my first Miniature Queen in 2003. It has beautiful color and form, although it is not a very strong grower. It was also picked by Ed Ward to be named after his wife. I didn’t know his wife, but we had the pleasure of knowing Ed and spending time with him at conventions. Although Ed didn’t know Kathy, when he saw her sitting in the hotel lobby while I attended CR school he asked if she would like to have lunch with him which she did. A wonderful gentleman, as was Frank.

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‘Hilde’. Photo by Bill Kozemchack.

‘Soroptimist International’ – Although I don’t enjoy writing the name on entry tags, ‘Soroptimist International’ is my second pick. Great color and good form on a good growing bush make it a rose everyone should be able to grow well.

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Frank Benardella. Photo by Bill Kozemchak.

‘Show Stopper’ –  Is a beautiful exhibition miniflora with an interesting color. Listed as an apricot blend, it shows signs of pink tan, peach and at times almost a mauve like tint. It also has gorgeous form. Frank gave me a bush years ago named ‘BenSeah’ which was registered as ‘Show Stopper’ a few years later. It was always fun to try Frank’s seedlings and wonder if they would be registered.

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‘Show Stopper’. Photo by Bill Kozemchak.

‘Dr. Tommy Cairns’ – Was affectionately named by June Benardella as ‘Come Hither’ prior to its registration. A beautiful pink blend and fragrant miniature with very good form is next on my list. It reminds me a little of ‘Jilly Jewel’ which spotted horribly with the slightest hint of moisture in the air.

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‘Dr. Tommy Cairns’. Photo by Bill Kozemchak.

‘First and Foremost’ – It is the fifth rose of Frank’s on my list. I love the color and how well this one seems to grow in my garden. It has very good form, but not a lot of petals, so showing it may be a challenge.

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Frank Benardella. Photo by Bill Kozemchak.

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Frank Benardella (standing) at the 2007 Miniature National Rose Show in Charlotte. Ray Guillebeau (foreground) and Peter Alonso (background) prepping. Photo by Bill Kozemchak.


2 thoughts on “My Favorite Frank Benardella Roses by Bill Kozemchak

  1. I had the pleasure of twice having lunch w/ Frank. He liked to talk roses. He also introduced a few HT’s way back when. Had one named for his Wife June. ( June’s Way?) . For years Franks roses were intr. overseas first. Soroptomist International was reg. as Astral for several years. Pinnacle was popular overses also.. Most were sold & used as greenhouse roses in South Africa long before they were available in the US. The South Africa hot houses grew huge Minis & Minifloras. Most as large as typical Floribundas as we know them. Most were shipped to Japan where the florist trade was a dominant market force. Trivia shared: Figurine was the #1 cut flower in Japan for years. 2-4″ across; nearly all raised in South Africa.

  2. These articles on people and their roses are great to read and they give people living overseas like myself the opportunity to get an insight into how dedicated people like Frank Bernadella produced so many beautiful rose cultivars, many of which I grow without really knowing the stories behind them. When I go into my greenhouse on a wet day and see these roses looking so perfect you realise how lucky you are to be alive.

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