This is one of two seedlings created by Dr. Walter VanFleet and released after his death. Dr. E. M. Mills is either a hybrid of Radiance X R. Hugonis, or a more complicated hybrid involving Hugonis, Spinosissima and Rugosa. It has been reported as both parentages. The other is the hybrid Rugosa, Sarah VanFleet, which went on to become a well respected garden rose.
Dr. Mills fell out of the 37 various gardens and nurseries it was distributed to way back in 1926. I'd discovered it in two old ARS annuals from the 1920s and longed to obtain it. I've documented the whole story in an article which is currently in the RHA newsletter as well as in the Gold Coast Roses newsletter. Long story short, I'd found Dr. Mills listed in a Swedish botanical garden. Through Hans van Hage at Bierkreek Nursery in The Netherlands, bud wood was obtained, reintroducing Dr. Mills into European commerce and beginning the long journey of re establishing Dr. VanFleet's rose here in America. It took nearly seven years, but the rose finally arrived in the US, passed its quarantine period and a small, own root plant arrived at my garden July 25, 2013. I didn't even know if it would flower in my mild climate, but either it is more than willing to oblige, or the brief period of cold we experienced several weeks ago helped, as the plant has set nine buds!
This is what greeted me this morning. There is a very sweet scent when the flower first opens. In the wind and hot sun, it dissipates fairly quickly. I love the crepey texture of the petals and the soft pink and yellow coloring. The buds, sepals and peduncles are softly felted (fuzzy), which is likely part of the suspected Rugosa heritage. All in all, I am definitely satisfied and happy with the rose I waited so many years to obtain. Welcome home, Dr. Mills!