When I first saw the flower on ‘Harold Amateis’ and was told of its background I couldn’t believe it. How could that strong a red come from maximum in the first generation. Maximum had a terrible reputation here on Long Island as a parent. Clem Bowers made many, many crosses using in in the 1930’s & 40’s and didn’t get anything of value. Of course he wasn’t using strig, mainly the ironclades and some of the English giants). Paul Vossburg wouldn’t have anything to do with a maximum hybrid.
I was always leery of the cross and wondered if Edmund Amateis could have mixed up the seed. But now I see the picture of max x Leo and lo and behold another red truss. Is there something about maximum that transmits the pollen flower color to the seedlings? If that is the case, has anyone tried crossing it with a strong yellow? What about crossing it with ‘Jean Marie’?
There were several problems with max crosses: erratic bloom (as we know from ‘Harold Amateis’), bad plant habit (very open growing) and does poorly with full exposure. I have a max x yak that I got from Sid Burns that is a good looking plant. It blooms in very late June with large white trusses, is slightly indumented, holds its leaves 3 years and never has any winter damage (that is not saying mulch as I am in zone 7b). It is quite a vigorous plant but because the leaves are somewhat long and are held for 3 years, it does not look open growing. The problem for me is that it is white and I doubt you would get much color into it on the first generation. I will try crossing it in 2016 with some strong colored flowers.