Rosarian's Message

THREE MUST-HAVE OLD GARDEN ROSES AND CLASSIC SHRUBS

The severe cold temperatures that have been associated with our recent Midwest winters have awakened the incentive among rosarians to select rose varieties that have proven their ability to survive those harsh conditions. Rosarians who have yet to experience the rewards of growing Old Garden Roses (a.k.a. Heritage roses, Antique Roses) or Classic Shrub roses will discover the bonus of winter hardiness after introducing into their gardens one or more of the three rose varieties described, below.

One of the earliest spring-blooming varieties in central Illinois is the Classic Shrub named Therese Bugnet Its moderately fragrant, double-petalled, medium pink blooms first appear in early May, and the bush continues to produce blooms during the remainder of the growing season. A newly planted bush should be given plenty of space to grow because it will achieve a height of 5 ft. or more. For those rosarians who use chemical sprays to control blackspot, "Therese" is, by her nature, already moderately resistant to the disease and does not tolerate being sprayed very well, which may cause premature yellowing of its leaves.

Another early spring-blooming variety is Nevada, which belongs to the rose class Hybrid Moyesii. Its spectacularly large, pure white, single-petalled blooms with their bright yellow stamens are each produced on short peduncles that encase the distal length of its canes. This variety may be used as a focal point in a garden because it may easily reach a height of 7 ft. at maturity. As an added bonus, during its second cycle of bloom in mid-summer, its petal color will no longer remain pure white but will often develop a pink blush along the petal edges. The pure white color usually returns to the petals during the final autumn cycle of bloom.

When Therese Bugnet and Nevada have nearly completed their showy display of spring blooms, it is time for Rose du Rescht, a Portland rose, to show its stuff. The blooms of this variety are very double and deep pink, and their fragrance is one of the most potent and enjoyable in the world of roses. The bush readily responds to pruning so that it may be maintained at a height of three to four feet, but it will grow taller if left alone. This allows a rosarian to have the flexibility of either including this variety in a rose bed among such rose types as Hybrid Teas and Floribundas or featuring it somewhere in a garden on its own.

All three of these varieties may be purchased from various reputable mail order suppliers as bare root plants for either Spring or Autumn planting. Those bushes that are planted in the Autumn should be provided adequate winter protection while they develop their root systems. However, once established, these three varieties do not require winter protection as they, like us, patiently await the arrival of a new Spring

Article written by:

Dr. Tony Liberta, Master Rosarian
March 2, 2015