Monday, July 8, 2013

A Workhorse of a Rose

We grow several roses, and they are just about at their best right now. Some I like for their hardiness (in a Canadian climate, that matters a lot). Others like Celsiana have a perfume out of this world. Some do a job particularly well (see, on the left, how Dortmund covers an  arch or, on the right, Nearly Wild looks against a fence). This post is about one particular rose I almost discarded, but which turned out to be my very best.


Nearly Wild

Even if Shakespeare has Juliet say "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet", I think that names influence us a lot. Some years back, I was given a rose called "Tootie's Rockin K Rose". I almost did not keep it, simply because I thought the name was ridiculous. It was snobbishness on my part.  The garden was then almost empty, so any gift was welcome. I planted it just to cover some ground.

This rose has turned out to be my most reliable. However, I will probably never know its actual name as it was mislabeled. Tootie is supposed to have a strong perfume, is a MINIATURE rose and can grow up to 30-45 cm tall (I read all this from the original label which I still have). My rose does have a nice perfume (not very strong, though), but the bush is about 1 m 30 cm, and each bloom is the size of a peony (see below). Not only is it not a miniature, it has the largest blooms of any rose I grow. Before they open completely, the buds are pointed like a florist rose and open a strong pink that fades to a softer pink in the sun.

Peony held next to Tootie to show its size

Each year, it blooms profusely in late June to mid-July, with some flowers over the rest of the summer. It is always healthy and not much affected by "rose slugs", a caterpillar which is the bane of roses in this garden. They eat rose leaves leaving only a brown skeleton. In short, it is a very healthy and robust rose.

Tootie was named after a woman rodeo champion, so perhaps I should just call it the workhorse rose!


  1. She's a beauty Alain. I love it when a plant you don't expect much from out performs to such an extent. Roses, as you know from my blog, are a favourite so I very much enjoyed your post.

  2. No slight on Tootsie, here, but she looks remarkably like the wild roses in the fields across from my childhood home. My father always said the farmer (long gone) apparently had attempted a hedge row and it was back to native stock. This was in the '40's. Tootsie may have come a long way, but hasn't changed much.

  3. I know it was bought at a Home Depot garden center. God knows where it came from. Perhaps not surprisingly,the label does not identify the grower!

  4. That is one gorgeous rose, no matter what the name. I think names matter too, and although I have never thrown something out because it had a ridiculous name, I confess I have been attracted to plants simply because they had fun names. My personal favorite is Mean Mr. Mustard, for a yellow day lily.

    1. Mean Mr. Mustard is a fun name - you certainly can imagine the color without seeing it.

  5. Hi Alain, love your roses! I saw a message posted on Aude's blog and so dicovered your garden. And when I saw that you were in Canada, I just had to writethis message. Why??? Simply becaus ewe love your country and stay in Canada a few weeks every year. Come and visit my gardin, lots still has to be done , it's brand new! May we exchange a link?
    Bienvenue et à bientôt dans mon jardin en Alsace
    Martine (a franco-americaine en Alsace)

    1. Merci de votre visite Martine. Envoyez-moi l'adresse de votre bloque.

  6. Hello Alain, voici mon blog:
    Les aventures et mésaventures d'un nouveau jardin en Alsace______ My gardening adventures and misfortunes in Alsace,France.
    Bonne visite!
    PS: dans 6 semaines nous passerons par Montréal avant de continuer sur San Francisco et l'Alaska!

  7. Cute story. You're right, names influence us a lot. I have many daylilies I chose for their names. I like your Almost Wild too. I will have to watch for it.


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