The red behind the Iris is 'Austrian Copper' (= Rosa foetida
'Bicolor'). Dates back to at least 1596. It only blooms once in the
spring, but puts on quite a show for two or three weeks. It's always been
a favorite of mine.
'Austrian Copper' mostly has yellow backs on the petals (don't really show
In the photo). Sometimes a few yellow flowers or broken red & yellow
flowers are produced. Occasionally branches or whole plants revert to
entirely yellow flowers.
'Austrian Copper' is a sport of the normal form of R. foetida, which is the
yellow 'Austrian Briar' (apparently really from the Near East). The yellow
one is also quite striking. It is the source of much of the yellow "blood"
in modern Roses.
I hear that R. foetida is susceptible to disease in
moist climates, but from the Great Plains westward, at least away from the
coast, it is basically disease free, and very tough. It can handle
occasional temps into the low 100's in summer (as long as nights are cool), and
down to at least -50 F briefly in winter.
Closely related are 'Harison's Yellow' (= 'Yellow Sweet Briar' and 'The
Yellow Rose of Texas') and 'Persiana' (= 'Persian Yellow'). Both are
double yellows, with 'Persiana' being a double R. foetida, and 'Harison's
Yellow' being R. foetida X R. spinosissima.
These are all "pioneer roses" that followed settlers west.
The planting behind 'Amas' wasn't planned, but I agree it is a really nice