- “Banshee” (found) Z 4, dbl pink 2″ early & long-blooming May-June, rich sweet damask fragrance; large shrub or climber, no die-back, very disease resistant, very tough & tolerant of low water, poor soil, shade, once established. Distinctive matte foliage, fall color- purple, orange. Common in old neighborhoods all along the Front Range.Not terribly prickly. Cut armloads for big fragrant spring bouquets!
- “Broadway Perpetual” (found, Boulder) Z 5 (4?) Large dbl strong pink quartered, deep old-rose perfume, spring & fall, sporadic inbetween. Good cut-flower. Seems somewhat shade-tolerant. Strong arching growth to 7’. Potential climber? Healthy foliage, moderately prickly.
- “Fairmount Proserpine” (found, Denver)
Here is the basic approach which we use at Harlequin’s Gardens to grow hundreds of roses without using any pesticides or fungicides, and only using a few soft controls.
I know of one lilac that has some repeat flowering in the fall, but I’m not aware of any spireas, mockoranges, shrub honeysuckles, forsythias, serviceberries, butterfly bushes, rabbitbrushes, cotoneasters, or other shrubs that repeat their flowering cycle. Why is it, then, that many gardeners demand continuous flowering roses ? We want them, of course, because they exist.
The fixation on constant flowering is encouraged with annuals, which, of course, don’t really start blooming until late spring or summer and then the first winter, they die. And seasoned gardeners know that the search for perennials that “bloom all season” leads to the proper selection of many species that will bloom in succession. So when we hear of roses that bloom from May or June through September, we think we have found the holy grail. However there are qualities besides repeat flowering which could entice us to cultivate the so-called “once-blooming” roses. I would like to share these not-so-obvious reasons with you.
Roses are certainly one of the world’s most beloved flowers, and yet many people have given up on them because they have gotten the reputation of needing frequent spraying, feeding and fussing. They got this reputation because for decades, hybrid tea and floribunda roses were bred mostly for special colors, a particular flower form and repeat flowering. Their value was judged more for the exhibition table than for the garden. Now, as more people have become aware of the dangers of pesticides and as the trend has moved to “care-free” shrub roses for the garden, rose breeding has shifted in the last ten years towards more sustainability.
The Canadians, like their English and French ancestors, have a great love of roses. However much of Canada is in zones 4, 3 and even zone 2. Therefore many of the hybrid tea and floribunda roses bred in modern times have not been tough enough for Canadian gardeners. So the Canadians set their own federal agriculture department to work on breeding roses that succeed in Canada. Not only do these roses do well north of our border, they are very successful in Colorado, even in our higher elevation environments. Our 10-20 below zero winters and dramatic temperature changes can kill or significantly injure more tender roses like the hybrid teas and floribundas. So gardeners in Colorado who don’t have time to remove large masses of dead canes, hill soil around the canes to protect them for winter, and who have less inclination to spray and fertilize frequently, find the Canadian-bred roses provide a rewarding and easy-care alternative.
Many Colorado gardeners have been frustrated in their attempts to grow climbing roses. The main problem seems to be that the tall canes die back and though they may bloom, they look like shrubs, not climbers. We are green with envy of the European and Californian gardens with roses cascading over and festooning pillars, walls and bowers. Why can’t we achieve this? I think we can, but not without a very discriminating approach. First of all we must realize that our cold temperatures and especially the rapid cold-hot-cold changes, and our drying winter winds are death to all but the hardiest rose canes.
Henry Kelsey (1984 Kordesii cross) is an Explorer Series rose from Ag. Canada that is hardy to Zone 3 and is considered by many to be the best red-flowered climber for cold climates. It is very vigorous and grows strongly even in lean soils. Whereas it can be grown as a low arching shrub to 4’, it excels as a short climber to 8’-10’ and looks especially good trained down a split-rail fence. The flowers are semi-double with prominent golden stamens, opening a luscious deep red and fading to a pinker medium red. The fragrance is light but pleasant and the clusters of flowers repeat from June until frost. Where I have grown it in a very low water area over the last five years it has performed well and has not died back on the trellis, but repeat flowering is intermittent rather than continuous. One of the truths of xeriscape is that not all plants that grow well on low water, flower as well. Sometimes just one or two deep waterings during bloom time will make a big difference in flower production.
At the end of last season I wrote about how to succeed with climbing roses in Colorado. Besides winter watering and careful siting out of the worst wind, the most important factor is the choice of very cold hardy roses that are grown on their own roots. The books may say we are zone 5 but when the temperature drops from 50 at noon to 5 at two a.m., we better hope our rose is zone 4 or even zone 3 hardy. With climbers this is even more true because if the canes die back to two feet the rose may still bloom but it won’t function as a climber that year. Here are a few of the toughest and most cold-hardy climbing roses for Colorado.
After last November’s 77 degree cold plunge to 13 degrees below zero, most roses suffered die-back, some died to the ground and some died completely. But there were roses that had only minimal damage and some that will bounce back with a good show of vigorous growth and generous flowering this year. Here are some observations and conclusions about growing sustainable roses in Colorado.
Roses are cane shrubs, similar to blackberries and raspberries. Their wood has a pithy center and is not as hard or as strong as a lilac. Consequently roses are more vulnerable to insects, diseases, desiccation and cold, but another consequence is that they can grow and regrow much faster than woody shrubs like lilac and viburnum.
Native Plants In Harlequin’s Gardens Display Gardens
You are sipping smoky Russian Caravan tea on the patio of an elaborate teahouse, talking and laughing with your friends. The rich pinks, bright reds, fresh whites and warm yellows of hundreds of roses fill your view and the heady redolence of their perfumes fills the air. A brisk stream is flowing nearby. Are you in Samarkand? Tashkent? No, this scene is in Boulder, Colorado at the Boulder-Dushanbe Teahouse. Now, at the fourth anniversary of the completion of the teahouse and the planting of the rose garden, an exuberance of roses is anticipated for May and June and plenty of flowers until frost. These roses are not the hybrid teas and floribundas that have been popular in the 80-100 years of recent history; these are wild species roses, heirloom roses from the 13th through the 19th centuries, plus modern shrub roses from the Canadian breeding program, David Austin roses and others. These varieties were chosen for their cold-hardiness, disease-resistance, fragrance and general ability to thrive in Colorado.