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Gardening Articles: Flowers :: Roses

Rose Brands (page 2 of 3)

by Peter Schneider

Climate-specific Choices

Brownell's series of Sub-Zero hybrid tea roses, bred in coastal Rhode Island in the 1940s, '50s, and '60s and usually sold today by Midwestern mail-order seed houses, may represent a triumph of marketing over genetics. In my garden, these are no hardier than most other hybrid teas. The Brownells always sent careful planting instructions with their stock, emphasizing the importance of planting the bud union of the rose 2 inches below ground in cold-winter areas. This rational strategy will make many roses "sub-zero."

The Canadian Explorer series has been bred in Quebec with extreme winter hardiness in mind. All are hardy at least to zone 4; a fair number can be counted on in zone 3. Most Explorers are deep pink, but there are also some reds, one good white ('Henry Hudson'), and several in gentler shades of pink. Habits range from low and spreading (bright red 'Champlain') to climbing (deep pink 'William Baffin').

The Morden series was developed in zone 3 Manitoba. These are best thought of as ultrahardy floribundas. Mordens don't grow large, and won't make sense for anyone in zones 6 through 11, where floribundas can overwinter without problems. For gardeners in colder areas, soft pink 'Morden Blush' is the most attractive of a sometimes harshly colored lot.

Gardeners in zones 6 and up can look forward to the Dream series, bred by Twomey and introduced this year by Anthony Tesselaar. These roses are bred to be low-maintenance and free-flowering; 'Dream Orange' and 'Dream Yellow' do very well in Los Angeles (zone 9).

Landscape Roses

Bred for the effect of the plant rather than for the impact of individual blooms, landscape roses must be low-maintenance. Jackson & Perkins's Simplicity series led the way, and remains remarkable for the uniformity of its members. The original pink 'Simplicity' has now been joined by white, red, purple, and yellow cousins. All make great hedges, although gardeners in zone 5 will occasionally find a gap in their living fence after a difficult winter.

Meilland's Meidiland series can be divided into two groups. The 1980s Meidilands included several ground-huggers that offered indifferent repeat bloom. These are gradually disappearing from catalogs in favor of more recent introductions featuring graceful shrubby growth and nonstop bloom. 'Fuchsia Meidiland' is a real star, never out of bloom for me in Ohio.

The Flower Carpets are the most strongly branded roses, all being sold in distinctive pink pots. In my garden, Noack's 'Flower Carpet' resists black spot. Note that while 'Appleblossom Flower Carpet' is a mutation with all of the characteristics of the deeper pink original, the other members of this series are not as closely related. 'White Flower Carpet', sold as a floribunda in Europe, will grow taller than the rest of them.

Other, less likely-to-be-encountered series include Kordes's Game birds, a range of rampageous ground covers named after such birds, Mattock's Counties, ground covers named for the counties of England, and Harkness's new Floorshow roses. All are competing for the loyalty of gardeners who will return for more of a brand that performs as promised.

Peter Schneider is the autor of Peter Schneider on Roses and co-editor of the annual Combined Rose List.

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