Thursday, July 3, 2014

Rose in a cold climate


Whoever was the garden writer who quipped that for Canada and the northern US, hybrid tea roses are annual shrubs, was quite right. In our climate, when it comes to selecting roses, the first consideration has to be hardiness.  In many ways, this simplifies your choice as most roses are not very hardy. Here is a review of some of the roses that are grown at Roche Fleurie.

Explorer Rose
John Davis rose on a trellis





The rose shown above and below is John Davis, of the Explorer series.  A series of roses that were bred here in Canada especially for winter hardiness. I have had John Davis for several years, but it took some time for it to get going. I expect it to cover that trellis completely in a few years. It is a very pleasant pink colour. Reading about it, I noticed that none of the sites I consulted mentioned that John Davis does not have any thorns. At least this one does not.

Jonh Davis
Celsiana is a very old Damask rose (prior to 1750). We grow it first and foremost for its marvellous perfume. But it has another advantage, it tends to produce a few very long canes (instead of numerous shorter canes) and consequently, even without pruning it works very well at the back of a border where the lower half is hidden, and the blooms tower above. In the picture below, Celsiana is in the middle.

Damask Rose
Celsiana


On each side of Celsiana above are Prairie Dawn and Prairie Joy of the Parkland series. I think one of them must have been mislabeled because to me they look identical. They do not have a very strong fragrance, but the flowers have a beautiful rounded shape.  Even with judicious pruning they don't get as tall as Celsiana, but on the whole they look better.

Parkland Series
Prairie Joy & Prairie Dawn


Explorer Series
John Cabot
Explorer Series
John Cabot
John Cabot is another rose of the Explorer series. I grew this one from a cutting many years ago.
It can easily reach 8 feet tall. It is what I would call a dependable rose.

Another old rose which is very dependable is the following one which was sold to me as F.J. Grootendorst, a rugosa created in the Netherland in 1918. However it was mislabeled because many people familiar with the rose commented that it looks very much like Charles de Mills. It looks just like it apparently but Charles de Mills is almost thornless and this one if very thorny. It is no doubt one of Charles's close relations!
We grow ours along the wall of the vegetable garden. Although it does not get very tall, it does not mind growing in a thin line along the wall rather than as a shrub. 
Charles de Mills?
 The buds before they open are very attractive. 

Another rugosa with a Dutch name is Jens Munk (hardy to 2b - it could almost live in the 
Arctic!). It is also part of the Explorer series (1974). I like its pale pink colour. Like the preceding one, it does not seem to mind being pressed against a wall and only allowed to grow sideways rather than in a normal shrub fashion.



Explorer Series 1974
Jens Munk
Our best rose is probably Tootie. I have already written a whole post about it. It blooms profusely, holds itself up very well and is disease free.  The only problem is that we will no doubt never know what is its real name. It was labelled Tootie, but Tootie is a miniature rose. The flowers on ours are the size of  large peonies.



 The last one I will mention is another Explorer rose, "HenryKelsey". It is supposed to be slightly less hardy than the other Explorers. In this garden it has never shown any hardiness problem, but it is  not as vigorous as others in the same series, never growing taller than 5 feet. I like the fact that it is a true red with no blue in it.

Explorer Series
Henry Kelsey
 

31 comments:

  1. Nice to read about hardy roses as our climate is much warmer, hardiness is not a criterium in our choices, so I learnt a lot.
    It seems your pictures of 'F.J. Grootendorst' are not the right ones. I wonder if the pictures are not of 'Charles de Mills' it looks like it is a gallica to me. The 'Grootendorst' family has many many long thorns and the flowers look like carnations.
    Bonne soirée

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  2. Thank you for the help. I need to find something to replace the unhappy clematis on the trellis, and all I'm considering is a climbing rose.

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  3. Thank you François. I did a quick check and you might very well be right. It was bought as F.J. Grootendorst but that is no guarantee. It certainly looks like pictures of Charles de Mill. However I see that Charles de Mills is thornless or almost thornless. Mine is very thorny - perhaps it is an other gallica?
    I will do some more research. Thank you again François. Your comment shows the beauty of the internet which allows you to tap the knowledge of a great many people. Perhaps some other readers will have suggestions.

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  4. Good rose selection. My brother in Minneapolis has 'William Baffin' - HUGE and very hardy and floriferous. I believe it is part of the same series as 'John Cabot'.

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    1. I also have William Baffin but it is not doing great. I haven't much improved the soil around it and our soil is very poor. I will have to put on a lot of compost to get better results.

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  5. I'm drifting towards the single roses at the moment. I love the simplicity but there must also be perfume too.

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    1. We grow 'Nearly Wild' which I showed in a previous post. It is a very attractive single. It gets completely covered with blooms.

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  6. Can't help with the naming of FJ Grootendorst but the name certainly evokes memories of it being recommended at college fifty years ago! Whatever it is in your picture under that name is a stunning flower.

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  7. Just beautiful! Some lovely pinks. I have the rugosa Dart's Dash. It does well here.

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  8. Don't know most of the roses you present, so thanks for introducing me to them. I don't quite agree with the view that MOST roses are not very hardy. In Switzerland I garden in the Alps at 1400m a.s.l. and it's a rose heaven with busloads coming to admire them. Also I have many friends in cold, exposed regions which have beautiful roses. It all boils down to choice and I think garden centres are a bad bet, and it's worth doing some research and getting in touch with experts and rose lovers.

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    1. Many of these roses are only known in northern US and Canada because they were developed locally for very cold climate. It all depends how cold it gets. Here temperatures stayed at -35C for a while last winter. The colder you get, the poorer the selection. In North Dakota, or Saskatchewan where -45C is not unusual, the vast majority of roses will not survive the winter even when protected. I agree with you that you have to go to specialized nurseries to get roses that will survive in cold climate. It is a shame that most garden centers here carry roses that are not appropriate to local climate. I expect it is all centralized for the whole continent and you get much of the same roses on offer in garden centers, whether you live in Kentucky or Nova-Scotia.

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    2. -35°C and -45°C is a completely different cup tea, Alain, especially if it goes on for a while. Quite challenging for gardening I should think.

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  9. It must be a problem finding plants that will survive your low temperatures and so much snow. Your roses are all beautiful, most of which I've not heard of before, but then we don't have very low temperatures to contend with.

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    1. Cold temperature is the enemy. In fact the more snow you get, the higher the survival rate. You can lay your roses down and snow acts as insulation. This produces unexpected situations. For instance, roses survive better here where we get much more snow than in Toronto (more than 3 hour south) where they have warm periods in winter. In the south, the snow might all melt in January and the next day temperatures plunge to -20. Many plants cannot survive the quick change. But under a good cover of snow, temperatures do not got much below the freezing point through the whole winter.

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    2. Pauline,
      I don't know if you will be back to read this, but for the last 2 weeks I have not been able to open your posts. It seems to be loading but several minutes later nothing has happened. I don't seem to have this problem with other people's posts.

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  10. I agree with your corespondent that the picture of the Grootendorst that you posted does not look right for that plant. The Grootendorst roses do look like small carnations and are very thorny. I grew both the red and white variety and my father used to plant them as a barrier hedge around his vegetable garden. It seemed to work well.
    I now have a very vigorous Rugosa named "Ballerina" which is covered in small single blossoms that resemble apple blossoms. It is beautiful but has almost no fragrance. It survived being entirely coated in ice last winter and has grown to five feet again this spring. my climber is named "Rosy Dawn" and though not noted for its hardiness, does very well against a south facing brick wall. It, too, was under great stress this past winter and died back right to the ground. It has re-grown from the root to about five feet already but far short of its previous 15 foot height.
    I do enjoy the Explorer series and have grown several of the Morden hybrids as well. Nice to be able to order them directly from the source.

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    1. Hi Helen, How nice to hear from you. I hope you are having a good summer. I agree that this is not F.J. Grootendorst. I am sure François is right and it is a gallica. Charles de Mills seems to fit the bill except for the fact that my rose is very thorny. Perhaps Charles de Mills can also be very thorny.
      I also have Ballerina. One asset of Ballerina is that it is very easy to root cuttings of it. I have tried to root many roses and Ballerina is the easiest. Mine never get as tall as 5 feet. I expect the soil is too poor where I grow them. My favorite climber is Dortmund. It is at its best right now, covered with hundreds of bright red single blooms with a white center.

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  11. Replies
    1. Glad you like them! Have a good week.

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  12. Hi Alain, it's funny that I always think of roses as hardy plants as they brush off miserable UK winters with ease, but of course, your scale of winter is rather much more severe than ours. I read somewhere that the right rootstock has a big part of play in making roses very hardy. I like to push the boundaries of plant hardiness which is why one of the roses we have is Rosa Banksiae Lutea, when young it can be a bit tender, but gets hardy with age and it is a stunning plant when fully mature and covering a house (e.g. ours, in 10 years).

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    1. Rosa Banksia Lutea is very nice. It is good to know that it get tougher with the years. In fact you can get away with more tender roses when you are dealing with climbers or ramblers as you can more easily lay them down on the ground where you can cover them more effectively.

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  13. Hi Alain, like some of your other correspondents it never even crossed my mind that roses aren't perfectly hardy just about anywhere, you learn something in gardening every day! Your F.J. Grootendorst rose reminds me very much of an old gallica rose I used to grow called Charles-de-Mills even to the extent I think your specimen could well be it.

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  14. I didn' t realise that so many roses aren' t hardy. I suppose it makes sense when you think where many of them come from.
    You have a lovely collection. The rugosas are used a lot in north Germany as hedges. They have wrinkly leaves and huge hips. Your rose is definitely not F J Grootendorst. But then Charles de Mills isn' t very thorny. Mine certainly isn' t. Never mind, you know what they say: ' A rose by any other name would smell as sweet...'

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    1. It goes with families, for instance the gallicas are usually very hardy while everything that has tea rose 'blood' is not. Nurseries specialized in roses on this side of the Atlantic tend to provide very good information about hardiness.
      Rugosas do beautifully in the sand in windy spots along the St-Lawrence river where I come from.They get very dense and the hip are marvelous.

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  15. I do love how you have your roses displayed Alain - the screening really does set them off.
    I'm just getting into roses and had no idea that they were not all hardy. The rose you call Tootie looks great in the raised bed partnered with the Nepeta. I've been taking cuttings from the Nepetas I grow in the garden so I can increase my stock to go with my new roses.
    Thanks for comment on blog re post. I had been writing a post to be published when a particular plant has flowered and I pressed the publish button in error. Although I reverted the post to draft, I have no idea on how to stop it showing up. Thanks for making me aware, I'll see if I can stop it doing that.

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    1. Tootie is actually coming out of the narrow space between the stone path and the low stone wall! It is a beautiful rose, always healthy but again I do not know the actual name of the variety. I still have the label it came with and it says Tootie but when you look it up, you realize the real Tootie is quite different. The bloom on mine are enormous.

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  16. Hi Alain, thanks for leaving a comment on my blog! You have a very beautiful garden! I have read your post with great interest, since many of the roses that are doing well for you are completely unknown to me - no surprise, because we are gardening in very different climate zones.
    One rose that I did know though is 'F.J. Grootendorst'. I am just in love with the look of this rose. Sooo... charming! Wishing you a good start into the new week!
    Christina

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  17. So so beautiful!! I just love them, Alain! I hope mine end up as lush and full after all their pruning/spraying. Simply gorgeous, all of them!!

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    1. I Tammy, I tried not to show too much foliage. We do not have black spot but we have something called rose slugs that leaves you with skeletons of leaves with all the green eaten up.

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  18. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. I know it's hard to grow roses in a cold climate, but to me, they look so lush and healthy - totally unlike the sad and sorry roses that swelter in the heat of North Carolina. Your are especially gorgeous!

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    1. I am sure they are easier to grow here than in North Carolina but as I was telling Tammy above, I tried to hide as much as possible the disintegrating foliage of some of them. They are not quite as nice in real life!

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It is always nice to hear from you!