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New roses hardy enough for N.E.

Byline: Paul Rogers


Through the years winter weather has been hard on roses. Bitter temperatures, desiccating winds, ice and snow accumulations weighing down stems and causing fractures can lead to death of favorite roses. These problems coupled with a lack of hardiness lead to a regrettable limiting of the use of roses in the landscape. Happily a new era for the Queen of Flowers has arrived.

It has been known for a long time that hybrid tea and grandiflora roses have a poor track record. These types provided the classic long-pointed bud form with usually one flower to a stem. The old-fashioned polyanthas and florabundas are cluster-flowered types. Careful selection from among the shrub and the species roses can provide us with large, vigorous plants that offer fragrance, hardiness and a sense of gardening history. Think of the Bourbon, Musk, Cabbage and Damask roses that speak to the gardens of kings and commoners.

The exciting news in the rose world is of the shrub, landscape, groundcover and garden roses that are beautiful, long-flowering, easy-care, hardy without protection and bred with a high degree of disease resistance. One major characteristic of these families of roses is that most are not grafted but are "own-rooted," which means that from the tip of the roots to the top-most leaf, the plant has the same genetics, not a top from one plant and bottom from another.

"Families of roses" refers to the different series of roses - Easy Elegance, Flower Carpet, Oso Easy, Morden (from Manitoba, Canada), and Meidiland (from France) - each available in a range of colors, forms and uses. As of this moment, there is no need to wait for flowering, woody shrubs that are any easier to enjoy than these carefree plants that are as low maintenance as a living plant can be.

Look for Lady Elsie May that continuously blooms from May to October with semi-double coral flowers. Without fertilizer, pruning and a single watering this past summer, my 3-year-old plant flowered all summer and only ceased one week ago. It has a sunny location and a mulch of bark. The Carefree series are all winners - Carefree Delight, Carefree Wonder and Carefree Sunshine.

All of the Knockout series are superb plants - Knockout, Double Knockout, Sunny Knockout, Double Pink Knockout, Pink Knockout and Blushing Knockout. Home Run, bred from Knockout, forms a flaming red flowered 3-foot tall and wide plant. The Flower Carpet series are vigorous, spreading plants that serve as excellent groundcover plants when grown in full sun. Pink, Amber, Coral, White, Red and Apple Blossom were introduced to us by Anthony Tesselaar of Australia. The Oso Easy series may make you hungry - Cherry Pie, Honey Bun, Paprika and Mango Salsa are bred, as all the above mentioned, to be viewed, enjoyed and appreciated. A new era of rose selection has arrived. Do not be left behind.
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Title Annotation:LIVING
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Nov 14, 2010
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