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Helping Summer-Stressed Roses

posted by: ingrid_vc on 09.25.2012 at 12:19 pm in Antique Roses Forum

In spite of constant watering, some of my roses were looking rather sad, partially defoliated, no blooms - definitely not an ornament in the garden. Without much of a conscious thought process I discovered that they could be remarkably revitalized with some very simple measures.

1. I added a lot more mulch in the form of fallen leaves from my trees. Some of these roses didn't have much mulch left and I'd more or less ignored that situation. Bad gardener!

2. In addition to the usual handwatering, which I discovered did not always penetrate deeper in my dry soil, I directed a trickle of water to these roses, sometimes overnight, to thoroughly drench the soil.

3. If the rose had some buds or they developed because of the extra TLC they were now getting, I ruthlessly pinched them all off. Blooms in high heat are often not something to write home about, so this was not a great sacrifice.

I have to say I was surprised by the results. Filled with gratitude, my roses sprouted new leaves which soon filled out the bush. I then removed the tired old leaves that had still been hanging on and the garden now looks so much better. It didn't cost a penny (except for the extra trickled water), was not a great deal of work and I now have a happy-looking garden. Sometimes the simplest things can bring the greatest rewards. Many of you undoubtedly already do all these things but for some reason I'd never thought of doing all three at the same time, and I'm very excited about the results. It has saved the life of Mme. Joseph Schwartz which had looked skeletal for some time, the the point where I was considering taking her out. She looks great now and even has (tiny) flowers. There were so many buds after she recovered that I didn't have the energy to keep removing them!



clipped on: 10.04.2012 at 03:21 pm    last updated on: 10.04.2012 at 03:21 pm

10 MORE roses I love and miss!......(long)

posted by: celestialrose on 03.11.2009 at 03:03 pm in Antique Roses Forum

Hi again....
I got a wonderful response from my original post and felt
bad not to have included some of my other personal favorites, so here's more!

Here are more of the roses I am counting down the days to see will be the 3rd week of June here. (Sigh)

For those of you already enjoying rose blooms or those who are getting closer to seeing them, you have my envy as well as my congratulations! For those of you who are also patiently waiting, maybe these pictures will help you as we get through the weeks/months ahead. Soon, we will all be in rose heaven!


Here are my other Top Roses, in no particular order of favoritism.........


The Madame is a forgiving, compassionate rose. She is living in the worst possible spot in my entire garden, in almost complete shade except for some filtered morning sun. And yet she lights up that dreary corner of the garden with armloads of virginal white blooms because she knows that no one else dare grow there for such little care. She blooms to make me joyous, to make me dream, and to marvel that such beauty can transform an ugly corner into a radiant light-filled haven for my soul.



Marchesa is my never-tiring and always dependable friend who greets me at the entrance to my garden. When the other old roses have retreated to rest for the year, Marchesa still has a few more tricks up her sleeve. I will get more flowers later in the summer and fall, never as splendid a display as in June when she is so covered with blooms that one cannot see leaves or canes....but they will be waiting for me on mornings when I crave the fragrance of old roses and the sight of those swirling confections of pink atop their ruffle of green frosting.
She looks and smells so delicious she almost seems edible.



There's no other way to put it....Paul is a show-off.
Paul astounds and dazzles with the sheer size of his blooms. Visitors to my garden almost always notice Paul
first and he would have it no other way. He knows he's grand. With blooms larger than my hand, a color so vibrant he cannot be ignored, and that come-hither look makes him something of a celebrity of the rose world.
He enjoys the flash of the camera and the crazed fans crowding around.
But he's finicky about the cold, not quite sure if he'd rather live somewhere less frigid. Last year I almost lost him, but he came back for more of that attention.



Ispahan is Mr. Reliable and is an incredibly low-maintenance rose. No fuss, no bother, no worries. He just gets taller and healthier the less I do for him.
I thought he would stop growing when he reached adulthood, but the boy is still growing. He now tops 8 feet and I give him a haircut each year. He blooms with great vigor and for a long time for a once-bloomer. And his cologne is a chic magnet. He smells divine.



Oh, what a complex relationship we have! On the one hand, she is mesmerizing in her beauty and fragrance, and on the other, she causes me such frustration and agony because she breaks out with the 'measles' something fierce here.
That doesn't stop her from blooming and each bloom is rain-resistant, long-lasting and great for cutting. Gosh, she is gorgeous! That is, if you only look at her from the 'face' up. If you look at her 'legs' she is most often naked.
Darn that blackspot. I adore this beauty and that's why she still lives with me, in spite of her propensity to take her 'clothes off' when it gets too hot.



Leda is the magician in my garden. In mid-June, she robes herself in fat, blood-red buds, tricking everyone into waiting for a crimson bloom to open. Instead....presto!!
Pure white pompoms emerge with the tiniest edging of red lace. Even her name is magical.



If you read my original post, you knew there had to be a Gallica in here somewhere!
Duc de Guiche is a handsome rose, not quite as flashy as Charles de Mills, but definitely a looker. His blooms are smaller, but still wonderful in that Gallica style. And his color is brilliant. Always reliable, hardworking and self-sufficient....great traits in a guy!

duc de guiche


Fantin is always a sight to behold, a fountain of palest
pink. I peg him down to make the best use of his cascading habit and there are blooms all along the length of his canes. He is an artist for sure,
painting a picture of nostalgic charm that is timeless.



There is so much to love about this rose. She is the very earliest of my roses, blooming slightly ahead of the scots roses. She laughs at winter, needing no coddling or effort. She actually seems to like the cold. I love how her stems glow red against the snow and little red hips offer extra color and food for the birds. Her blooms appear fragile.... crepey, transluscent,luminous. But make no mistake about it. This is one tough broad. She is one of those low-maintenance natural beauties that can take care of herself.

therese bugnet


This is a rose that rivals Charles de Mills for perfect Old Rose form. Every bloom is perfect, magical, and precise. The color is wonderful, the scent is as strong and lovely as you would expect from a damask, and it is an undemanding rose who gives great pleasure. I feel sorry for anyone who doesn't grow it. My garden wouldn't be complete without it.

la ville de bruxelles

I hope you all enjoyed my second post.....hope you're all having a great day.


clipped on: 03.13.2009 at 12:00 pm    last updated on: 03.13.2009 at 12:15 pm

The 10 roses I miss the most.......warning: pictures!

posted by: celestialrose on 03.10.2009 at 12:24 am in Antique Roses Forum

Hi everyone,
I was going to post this over on the gallery but it seems to be a ghost town of late.
In the midst of yet another snowstorm today I was longing for my beloved old roses, and it got me to thinking about which of them I miss the most. For me here in zone 4, I won't see the first roses blooming until the second week of June for the very earliest roses (rugosas, spinosissimas) and not till the 3rd week for the others to start. That still seems like an eternity away.

Over the years, I have often been asked which old roses are my favorites and I can usually name the top ten with no problem, but after that it becomes "ALL of them". I really love them all....they are my rose children....and it seems unfair to select favorites. But sometimes its kind of fun to ponder which roses we love the most and why.

I did not include any of my 'found' roses, because they are perhaps the dearest to my heart and totally irreplaceable. I have so many beautiful old roses whose identities are unknown, and yet they are priceless to me.
I couldn't even begin to pick favorites there, save for one that I call "Pompom" which is the sweetest, cutest little rose I have ever known. Florence knows the one I am referring to!

(I apologize to anyone who has dial-up if this post is
heavy on photos.....)

I would love to hear what roses you all grow that are the top roses in YOUR heart.

Blessings to all,



Charles is Number 1 in my heart because when I first started researching Old Roses I couldn't get past the photo of Charles de Mills. I would stare at that picture in awe and astonishment, not truly believing that any rose could have that form, that color, that many swirling petals. And even though the years have passed and I have gone on to obtain & love many, many roses....Charles remains Number One. He was my first love.
I have 3 bushes (which is unheard of for me, because of lack of space and wanting so many different roses) and I anticipate those fat, round buds opening in late June like a kid at Christmas. He still mesmerizes me after all these years. Charles has my heart, forever.



It wasn't hard to pick my Number Two rose, especially since her soft, sweet fragrance is unforgettable. This is the rose I stick my nose into most often, and whose demure beauty keeps me praising God that He loved us so much He created roses. This is THE ultimate old rose. Her perfume which intoxicates, her dream-like beauty, her excellent winter-hardiness and lovely foliage....she is perfection itself. I recall sniffing deeply into the last bloom of the season last early July, knowing that I would have to wait another long year to know the pleasure again....and even though the wait is excruciating....SHE is so worth it.



Yet another Alba, and another unforgettable fragrance! She is the softest blush pink, just as her name suggests (and even her name is alluring!). Sometimes I feel compelled to touch her petals, almost to caress them, they are so delicate and lovely. She has a fragrance that is never over-powering, just that pure, angelic Alba sweetness with a touch of baby powder. She conjures up images of cherubs and fluffy clouds leading to heaven....she is the angel of the rose kingdom.



In my soil, Tuscany Superb is always deep, royal purple. He reminds me of a King, stately and regal in his robe.
My plant of it is immense and festoons itself for weeks with the grandest, deepest, darkest blooms imaginable. I am totally smitten with this rose and it is one of my most photographed.
I had no dilemna choosing this rose as my Number 3 favorite. This rose is KING!



Those Gallicas & Albas reign supreme in my garden! It certainly helps that they are my hardiest and lowest maintenance, but there's something magical about them that makes them my favorites. I grow MANY and it was hard to choose but a few. Nestor was new to me last year, yet already look at where he stands! For me here, he is consistently a soft shade of lavender-purple with a wonderful form and shape. It was LOVE at first sight!
I predict a long and lasting relationship.



Here we go again with another Gallica! But this one is something extraordinary, even if one doesn't quite fancy gallicas in general. Those stripes are hypnotic and single petals never looked so striking! All that jazz, plus rich history too.


BELLE AMOUR (probably ALBA)......

There is something about this rose that speaks to my heart.
It came to live in my rose paradise by accident. My DH had ordered 4 of the Alba "Celeste" (my name) as a gift to me, which is what got me into growing old roses. Because they were bareroot, they didn't bloom until year three, which is when I found out they were mislabled and were "Belle Amour" instead. At first, it was a little disappointing that they weren't my namesake rose, but they won me over with their charm, grace and tough constitution.
They have a shell-like beauty to their petals and when the sun shines through them their beauty is astounding. Their scent is strong and spicy; some refer to it as myrrh-like, but I enjoy it.

belle amour


This rose and I have a relationship not unlike the relationship I have with my teenage daughter. On the one hand, this rose is so beautiful and charming that I have to catch my breath sometimes.....and on the other hand, thorns so vicious that one false move and I could be torn to shreds. She is by far my thorniest rose and when winds whip her long, arching canes of torture about she seems to delight in the bloody scratches she causes. But on quieter days, when the wind is calm and I tread carefully, she evokes such amazement in me....that something so tough in one respect can be so gentle in its beauty.
Her striping is soft and demure, not at all flashy or bold. She commands attention because of her supreme loveliness, and it is that beauty that makes me love her, thorns and all.



This rose reminds me of a sumptuous patchwork quilt. There are patches of many shades and tones of purples and mauves in each bloom, and the effect is quite charming.
She came to me through a trade and I am delighted to have
her in my garden. Jenny livens up the garden and keeps my "guy" Gallicas, Charles and Nestor, happy.



Last but not least, there is Yolande....a stately rose with a drop-dead gorgeous presence and fragrance. Her perfume is unforgettable, strong and pure old rose. There were so many other roses I would like to add to this list which are just as wonderful in their own way, but Yolande always calls to me from across the lawn, beckoning me with the promise of sweet heaven in every inhale. I can never
get past her section of the garden without visiting her, again and again. This is a rose that commands attention.



Of course....I can't leave MY rose off my list! But to put her first would seem too arrogant of me since we share the same name, same tall stature, same cold-hardiness, same low-maintenance attitude. We even share the same month....she blooms on my birthday! And she is pink, my favorite color....but no ordinary pink. Her pink is luminous, glowing, and ethereal....celestial. A rose aptly named! Her fragrance and her beauty are nothing short of heavenly.


To all my beloved roses whose names I didn't mention.....
you are all beautiful in my eyes!


clipped on: 03.13.2009 at 12:00 pm    last updated on: 03.13.2009 at 12:01 pm

bright roses on a cloudy day

posted by: blendguy on 05.05.2008 at 02:47 pm in Antique Roses Forum

Overcast weather here, so perfect for rose photos.

Eglantyne, so incredibly delicate. I love this rose more and more.





Jude the Obscure


Bishop's Castle


Graham Thomas, such a bright, happy yellow.



Cottage Rose, I always like this rose better in pictures than in real life, how odd.




Paul Neyron, one year old.


Comtesse de Provence


William Shakespeare 2000, one of my favorite roses, first bloom this year.


Guy De Maupassant, I love the look of this rose, almost no scent to my nose.


Thanks for looking!


clipped on: 06.15.2008 at 06:08 pm    last updated on: 06.15.2008 at 06:09 pm

Some More from the Garden

posted by: remy on 06.14.2008 at 10:47 pm in Antique Roses Forum

Hi All,
A few new bloomers have begun since last posting.
Bow Bells and a shot down the back end of the driveway beyond. Please ignore my garden work. : )

Belle Isis has begun to bloom.

Ok, bad photo, but guess who this is.

You won't believe it, but it is Clotilde Soupert full of beautiful blooms, not one balled!

Here's Mme. Ernest Calvat.

Here's a baptisia and Mme. Legras de St. Germain.

A closer shot of a bloom.

Here's Souvenir de la Malmaison.

Gruss an Aachen's first bloom is smushed between all the buds!

The entrance to the veggie garden has change a lot in just a few days. Belle De Crecy has started and Marie Pavie is full of blooms.

This bloom of Belle de Crecy hasn't turned purple yet, but I just loved the button center.

On the other side Fantin Latour has also become full of blooms.


Lastly, here's Sammie with the unknown climber out front.


clipped on: 06.15.2008 at 12:58 pm    last updated on: 06.15.2008 at 12:58 pm

Souvenir de Pierre Notting bush

posted by: jerome on 04.02.2008 at 10:43 pm in Antique Roses Forum

Here are some shots of Souvenir de Pierre Notting. Planted in March of '06. I cannot believe the basals it's putting out this year. About 5'8" x 6'. Nice plant. I really love it. Again, not a glamor shot, but gives you an idea of growth habit.

And here is another view...Baronne Henriette de Snoy is to the left, with larger leaves.



clipped on: 06.15.2008 at 12:54 pm    last updated on: 06.15.2008 at 12:54 pm

Do you like 'Before and After' shots? (many photos)

posted by: maybee_france on 06.12.2008 at 09:06 am in Antique Roses Forum

Hello again,

Rummaging through old photos the other day, I thought I would give everyone a good laugh by showing what my "garden" looked like 3 years ago, as compared with today. As I also received some encouragement to do so, I dedicate my little effort to "Simply J" (you know who you are!).

I am always awed and amazed when I see what some of you are doing in terms of landscape design, structures, pergolas, archways, paths, raised beds, etc. I hope one day we can do something of the sort, but for the moment, not really having a budget for such "hard-scaping", we have simply planted fragrant roses and are experimenting with companions, mostly blue and perennial.

Anyway, for those of you who like the old "Before and After" game, here is the front garden in August 2005 and recently:

As is common in rural France, behind the house we had a huge, ugly fuel tank. The whole area was a wasteland but after we replaced the "submarine" with a new underground tank, it was possible to start reclaiming that little space:

Another view from the side the green disk is the top of the buried tank. Sadly, after the excavations we found that the mound of "soil" was nothing more than rubble, stones and sticky blue clay so my poor hubby gradually removed it all and replaced it with our own manure-based compost:

On one side a dark hedge loomed and this wasted corner was a parking spot. We are gradually softening that outline with climbing OGRs and some Austins:

Another view, from the back:

and from the lane that borders our place:

And finally, looking the opposite way towards the back:

My limited experience suggests that, although three years can feel like an eternity (especially in winter when the roses are asleep), it is possible to begin to see the bones of a rose garden fleshing out. Coincidentally, as we started to dig and plant, we also began visiting this forum. So I wish to thank you all for the invaluable advice which has underpinned our efforts. And, please, continue to post photos from your gardens ... I need the motivation!



clipped on: 06.15.2008 at 12:49 pm    last updated on: 06.15.2008 at 12:52 pm

RE: Sissinghurst Secrets (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: cupshaped_roses on 04.16.2008 at 11:53 am in Antique Roses Forum


I made a quick sketch showing how the peg their roses into "domes". They plant 3 roses in various distances 3-6 feet apart. They loop the long canes over and tie them down to the over part of one of the canes of the other roses. They do it with roses like Felicia, Madeame Isaac Pereire and even Zephirine Drouhin. They are gorgeus huge domeshaped bushes:



clipped on: 06.14.2008 at 05:40 pm    last updated on: 06.14.2008 at 05:40 pm

Why I Love the Albas....lots of pics

posted by: celestialrose on 07.24.2007 at 11:45 pm in Antique Roses Forum

After posting photos of my Gallicas its only fair to post
photos of my other favorites, the Albas. The only problem is that I cannot share their pure, sweet fragrance along with the pictures....they smell like heaven! My favorite rose fragrance is that of Great Maiden's soft and yet so intoxicating. I await its blooms each June with such anticipation just so I can inhale that heavenly scent. I started growing roses because of the Alba "Celestial" (also known as "Celeste" which is of course, my name)...DH surprised me a few years ago with 4 bareroots of "Celeste" and I was hooked on roses forever. That was the best gift I have ever received!

The Albas are so undemanding and so very rewarding...they are a very romantic rose....soft pinks and whites and THAT
special Alba those blue-green leaves and their vigor...tall of stature and dependable....
that's why I will always love the Albas.



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clipped on: 08.11.2007 at 12:22 am    last updated on: 08.11.2007 at 12:22 am

Mad Diary of Zone Busting in Zone 3 ...The End is a Long Way Away

posted by: riku on 08.10.2007 at 07:47 pm in Antique Roses Forum

I got asked to write a light but interesting article awhile back but forgot to ask how many words and was asked to clip it but been too busy this summer and need to leave on a tour of duty. Well here it is unedited ... some of you may find this amusing, some interesting, some boring, some livid ... but those who like a laugh ... enjoy it... I laughed most of the time when I was writing it. It's long, I think about 5000 or 6000 words ... all the opinions contained within are mine apply within my property lines and probably no where else.

Regards Riku

A Mad Diary of Rose Zone Busting on the Prairie Foothills

Hit Hard and Fast with Everything to Hook Them

"Nothing grows in Calgary" was the tired old clich - that passes as sage gardening advice told to me a long time ago when a friend heard I was relocating to Calgary" ... "Rot" I shot back "Its the Banana Belt of Alberta with the Chinooks".

Well from that naive retort long ago about the dubious benefits of the Chinooks, it is now time to pen on this snowy May long weekend of a rose growing obsession. My more philistine non-gardener acquaintances called it that when my eyes glaze over and I begin to wax poetically about my endeavors. Little know to these retrogrades, it is more correctly termed a passion. Yes, a passion it is and one not strange to those who have succumbed to it.

What is this passion? It is growing successfully "out of zone" antique and old garden varieties roses to enjoy their rarity, unique beauty, color, form and lastly, fragrance so commonly missing from the more modern endeavors.

I also have a nobler mission with this coming out and it is in part to reassure those who may think they are afflicted and may wonder if they are mad rest assured you are, but your not alone your just part of a very small circle of rose growers I term as "zoned out".

Nature has decreed these "out of zone" roses do not "naturally" belong in her Calgary climate domain. She gives us winter temperatures and accompanying howlers to make sure her rules are followed by the plant kingdom and the gardener. Put slightly more clinically, and succinctly, for the "tell it to me straight types", an out of zone rose will eventually succumb to our wonderful winters if just plopped in the garden like one would do to a pansy.

If we want to break her rules, we can not. We learn quickly when first starting out this is impossible when trying to grow out of zone rose. All "out of zone" rose gardeners do is something more simple, we just indulge her patience a little by trying to bend her rules that a certain rose does not naturally belong here. However you can bend natures desire to correct an imbalance in the zone with this misplaced type of rose by using zone stretching practices that have been developed and passed on by generations of prairie rose growers since the 1920s. These pioneers succeeded by experimentation in growing out of zone roses, as well as hybridizing roses suited to our climate i.e. termed "hardy roses" as they need no protection to survive winter to bloom.

The second consideration before the tale is told is trying to quickly explain what is an antique rose, an old garden rose (ogr), and a "modern rose"? There are a debates and therefore preferences among the pundits and rose experts as to when and what marks the differences. For my simple needs it is easier to think in terms of dates than go into long explanations of difference and origins. So lets start with the date split between the old garden rose and the modern rose we tend to label as a hybrid tea (there are many other varieties of modern roses but the Hybrid tea is the bench mark and the most commercially powerful).

The type split occurred with the showing in 1867 in Paris France of the first hybrid tea a pink named La France (I grow it but may not be named right). This rose is the high centered repeating rose we see at our local florist shop on the special occasion trips. The introduction of the hybrid tea was the start of the longest successful commercial run in rose history with it still dominating the market 140 years later. The other two types of roses have been largely forgotten in the face of the commercial onslaught and success of the hybrid tea.

It is not too much of a stretch of bravado for me to state that based on my experience there is not one officially designated hybrid tea created since 1867 (and there has been thousands) that is cane hardy in my zone.

The hybrid tea was developed from the Old Garden Rose and this section of rose history is where the majority of my out of zone growing passion lies. The key attraction and importance of this period in rose history is it marks the period of time where hybridizers moved from once blooming European Antique Roses to creating repeating roses. The repeat on a large scale was credited to hybridizing the antique roses of Europe with specific imported "China Roses" that were found to have a repeating gene.

On of my favourites varieties to come out of this new breeding thrust of obtaining repeating roses was the Bourbon class. This class lend itself well to cultivation in Calgary if both the graft and canes are protected in winter small wonderfully fragrant flowers from these roses and if your lucky and have a warm hot summer you may get a small repeat in early to mid September if it beats the first hard frost and snow.

An antique rose is a term I use to generalize when talking about roses from Europe hybridized before the introduction of the China Rose repeating gene though they continued to be hybridized after the fate full landing of the god sent gene to out of zone growers.

The key Antique classes are called Albas, Gallicas, Centifolia and Damask. Their common trait is they only bloom once in a season and on the previous years cane growth except for one example I am aware of named Autumn Damask / Four Seasons rose. This Damask, and I am assuming I have the right one, repeats in the fall. It has proved to be an excellent rose in my garden for "surviving with protection" and repeating in the early fall of a hot summer.

The Antiques are the toughest challenge for me in Calgary. If you fail to protect the canes adequately against winter it will not bloom for you next spring. However just to aggravate you, the canes will grow quite nicely during the season and some reach 4 to 5 feet and producing lots of green and thorns. Then you repeat the protection process again the next year and still no blooms. Eventually the rose can fail to bloom even if cane survives for spring my experience with some types. Usually by the 3rd season I decide whether to move the rose to a more optimum location or shovel prune it a.k.a. get rid of it.

The Antiques also suffer in my garden as they are planted in the north facing gardens. This area only receives direct sun from mid April to mid September and essentially no wind break. Usually the north gardens do not even begin to break dormancy until about the mid May. For comparison the Bourbons an old garden rose are planted in the protected south gardens and are usually leafed out by end of May.

Based on testing, I have about given up on quite a few once blooming antiques. For example in the gallica class I have tried 34 varieties, in the damasks probably a dozen, and centifolia, again probably a dozen. All that remain are about 22 examples - the rest I have removed.

The ones I have decided to retain were acceded the honour of remaining in my garden because they give consistent blooming with cane protection methods. Some excellent examples I have listed below, but the lawyer in me must state "Your mileage may vary (remember it as YMMV)" meaning some I have turfed might do well for you will others I praise, may die in your garden:


Alika This is not European gallica, but a Siberian species with a stingy bush form you wont win prizes with the red blooms either. But it is the rock star of the generally wimpy out of zone gallicas as it is the hardiest I have ever grown. It never gets protection at all in my garden in the last 3 winters as I refused to do it.

It is planted in a generally lousy, sadistic location for a rose shady and gets little direct sun, no wind protection and is in poor soil basically just generally neglected. I read a famous hybridizer in the 1920s Hansen imported it to see if he could use it to hybridize hardy roses we should all thank the mans memory.
All the rest of the gallicas remaining in my garden have their canes and grafts protected. These Gallicas are:

Rosa Mundi
Apothecary Rose
Anas Sgales
Charles de Mills

Empress Josephine I grow but I believe it to be in decline and this year will tell for sure - but it has lasted 7 years. I continue to grow Tuscany and Tuscany Superior but they are tender and are hit and miss for blooming.


The Damask Roses not Portland Damasks who form a repeating sub class - are even frailer than the Gallicas until a Siberian one is found.
Again I protect both the graft and canes. In order of best performance in my garden they are

Mme Zoetmans (a white)
Omar Khayyam
Rose of Castile.

The Rose of Castile barely survives getting turfed because it gives maybe three blooms a season because its canes are very cold sensitive. All others tried are long gone pity.

Many a warm climate Rosarian raves about this class due to its messy and muddled blooms that they seem to like (not so with Mme Zoetmans as her are perfectly formed) combined with a powerful fragrance responsible for the Attar of Rose fragrance that costs about hundreds of dollars a gram.


The Albas have been quite successful in my garden. At least 40% of the ones I have tried are semi hardy to cane hardy. The remaining ones are tender and protected.

With the Albas I seem to see a trend where the "pure whites" are the hardiest if protected for the first couple of years by methods I will discuss later. The blushes (pink or tinted pink) must be totally protected in my north gardens.

This spring I finally did remove one named Belle Amour. Though it bloomed and was vigorous, it just did not produce enough blooms and the canes were ultra sensitive to cold damage. Personally to me it cane characteristics (thorns) and leaves look more Damask than Alba.

The Albas fortunately saved the Antique Rose group in my garden and I offer the following list in order of best winter hardiness and performance in my garden (YMMV). I note whether I protect the canes, or not with the letters "CP".

Pompon Blanc Parfait
Alba Maxima
Great Maiden's Blush
Maiden's Blush
Princesse de Lamballe CP (though a white being protected until older)
Armide CP (though a white being protected until older)
Blush Hip - CP
Celestial - CP
Flicit Parmentier - CP
Knigin von Dnemark - CP
Mme Legras de St Germain - CP (though a white being protected until older)
Mme Plaintier - CP (though a white being protected until older)
Jeanne d'Arc too new to comment

A possible trait of the successful ones (white) is they may not be crossed with tender species or only been crossed once be either nature or the hybridizers.


Many tried and all basically removed due to lack of blooming I dont recommend this class in north facing gardens.


There is one more class that straddles both the Antique and Old Garden classes and it is the Moss group one of the heaviest represented in my garden. They straddle the two groups because hybridizers succeeded in making this class repeat, whereas the Gallicas and Centifolia remain once bloomers.

The mosses that are the most successful in my garden are again the repeaters. However I do believe I see a real trait where the once blooming versions of this class are marginally better than the Centifolias for winter survival of cane and hence bloom (may just be my imagination) - note the mosses are believed to be a mutation of the centifolia and therefore created by nature.

The best of the once blooming mosses for actually blooming is Henri Martin a medium red which exhibits semi hardy behaviour and is not protected. However the bloom is sparse for me.

The repeating mosses are very reliable in my garden (YMMV) even if the canes die some years to the ground even with protection. One of the better ones is Soupert et Notting (canes protected) - a pink moss

The following are the mosses I grow that I considered repeaters and their performance puts them in no danger of being removed:

Alfred de Dalmas
Deuil de Paul Fontaine
Eugnie Guinoisseau
Gabriel Noyelle
Louis Gimard
Marchal Davoust
Mme de la Roche-Lambert
Ren d'Anjou
Soupert et Notting

In addition to Henri Martin, below are listed some of the more reliable, but not prolific, once bloomers that do bloom with cane protection (YMMV):

Nuits de Young
White Bath
Crested Moss
Common Moss
Mme William Paul

The "good" performers will usually make between 2 to 5 feet depending on their natural height tendency when grown in the appropriate climate.

Now lets balance the above with a little more background information as to why the repeating roses seem to do better in my garden with protection than the once blooming antiques to me it is not a mystery and that is because the blooming phenomenon is not dependent wholly on survival of last years canes.

The repeaters will bloom on this years new canes and quite well. It is repeat that put the Antique rose class in jeopardy of extinction in commerce. If it were not for the dedicated efforts and right climate of a few Rosarians in the last century this class would be gone today Graham Stuart Thomas is rather a famous individual who dedicated his life to preserving this class in England. His efforts can be seen at the Natonal Tust gardens at Montisfont Abbey in England

The Old Garden Roses My Favourites

This is the class for the out of zone grower who favors pre hybrid teas, to quickly taste success becomes the bloom does not depend on the survival of last years canes - with some exceptions. However cane survival increases the bloom density, size and overall bush form.

The survival of cane is an area I have been concentrating on over the last few years with developing and tuning my protection efforts.

To me the stars of this group are the Damask Portlands, Bourbons and the Hybrid Perpetuals classes. These roses do quite well in climate zones 5 to 6.

There are also true Teas, Noisettes and slightly more modern and post 1867 the Hybrid Musks classes. These later roses can be grown and are by me but are high to extremely tender and belong more in the zone 7 to 9 climates.

Now I must push a caveat on you. I must warn that a repeating old rose does not mean your bushes are continuously smothered in blooms from the July flush until the first frost far from it. Repeat means after a lull anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 weeks or more your rose will re-bloom but usually not as intensive as the spring bloom. The rose you want, and few exist in the old roses, is the continuous bloomer.

Last year was an exceptional year for me with a repeat occurring on lots of my out of zone roses. However everything is a balance remember you can not totally bend nature and in my experience enjoying a repeat in Calgary is a dicey proposition. Our season is so short that on numerous occasions my fall repeat freezes into marbles on the cane.

Journeys Beginnings and Just General Wandering Around Until the Light

Now that we have started with the end of the story and given you the dry results and all the practicalities, let us travel back 20 years and begin building the drama of how it began. The hope is some of you will not be scared off and see what I see and may take up the challenge on a limited scale I hope.

The gardening passion started first - the rose addiction evolved from it some years later. This out of zone rose passion was an accident or too much exposure to pulp fiction or being less kind a contempt of the norm or being told you can not succeed.

The story starts innocently one burning hot summer day in a small town in Northern Alberta as I was trying to figure out how to brighten up a drab rental unit landscaping efforts by previous tenants. Now this Town of Hope is a zone 3 climatic island surrounded by a sea of zone 2 - or as I like to say a good area for growing icicles reliably. I am just kidding as in truth the town has a strong and vigorous gardening culture. It is just the inhabitants must take advantage of the long hours of day light to compensate for the very short growing season.

The landscaping in the rental unit consisted of burned out grass, luxuriant growths of choking dandelion and thistle, with lovely contrasting shades of grey bare butt clay baked hard enough to drive a spiked tracked skidoo over without leaving an impression. The solution to my problem on that hot day came in remembering my parents gardens and making a garden seemed to be the natural thing to do to get out of the dirty thirties landscape. I started first with planting annuals and then I moved up to the sophisticated perennials class who wants to replant every spring I naively thought to myself.

I became drunk with my success at making eye candy when that first planting actually grew. The first garden was a 3 foot by 6 foot plot choked full of snap dragons, pansies, gladiolas, geraniums, and you name it, if it was green and had a bit of color it was in there still over plant even today.

Soon after that first planting splash we ditched the Quonset hut and bought our first house. Again but this time on a belly flop scale I went on over planting by stuffing the new place with deciduous trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials and just about anything the local nursery would let me buy got to remember folks winter seems very long up in no road north of 60. Then one day I moved beyond the nursery greenhouse and past the shrubs and tree lot and noticed a couple of scrawny rose bushes that were not much to look, but thought a what the heck give them a try. I planted them and to this day I dont even know what they were. That spring one rose turned out to be hardy and broke dormancy while the other died.

The survivor put out some kind of bland red bloom that did nothing for me and roses were quickly forgotten. This result compares less favorably to the feeling of success and awe I received from getting the Northern Lights azalea to bloom when I figured out in try two that I should plant with a south exposure and against the house.

Much later as my knowledge grew by 10 cents up north - I may have read at least one paper back book on gardening or maybe I splurged and got Rodales - I realized that the first steps in out of zone horticulture require understanding micro-climates in your yard. However back in year 0+1, I did not even know about efforts made to correlate between climatic zones and associated plants for those zones in particular that there were such things as hardy and not hardy plants just south of the artic circle.

My 10 cents bought me the knowledge of the past in that one should only plant what belongs in your zone did I heed this advice in those early days ? Nope ignored it as I usually ignore something I am not suppose to do once lured into the nursery because the grass is always greener until you hit the Mohave desert and catii are all thats left or is it lichen rock gardens way north of 60.

Eventually due to agreeing to do a favour for my company I tore myself away from the rugged rustic black fly paradise of the tundra gardens and found myself in Calgary ah I thought the Banana Belt of Canadas prairie garden this should be good. However in the first years gardening went into limbo due to a need to contribute to leading the lost out of the woods also known as extraneous work demands squeezed private time, sanity and a young growing families needs, so gardening was not important as a value.

But the sabbatical from gardening was not long in self-terminating. Once again the need to grow something took over again as a mission to "improve" the yard of the rented house why do all rental unit landscaping care and maintenance efforts by tenants look like a masterpiece of creative design to the Adams Family?

The rose growing passion still did not ignite until brief sojourns and detouring forays into perennial and vegetable horticulture died on the vine like the green tomatoes did after turning into baseballs after the second year in a row of early frost. In the missteps from the chosen path, I did manage to achieve a "nice" front yard perennial garden on one of those pie shaped lots where there is no front yard.

However time was drawing short to avoiding the inevitable confrontation with the "Enticer". It happened one Saturday in late August 1998. Innocuously enough, as I was accustomed to doing, I went to the nursery for a mental break from repair bashing the 12 year squeaking, leaking turkey I called domestic transport that goes forward backwards and stops when I want it to and nothing else my car at the time. Upon entering the hallowed halls of my favorite nursery I met the "Enticer" whos to blame for where I am today it went by the name Rosa Winnipeg Parks.

The nefarious Winnipegger was blocking my path to the perennials with its loud eye catching cherry candy red color- no doubt enhanced by liberal doses of fertilizer and astute lighting and pacing giving it an alluring almost fluorescent hue. As with those struck by the bug, I was immediately hooked and into the garden it went never did make it to the perennials. Later I was to learn that this rose was a modern Canadian, prairie hybridized rose from the Morden Experimental Station in Morden Manitoba. Notice I had pride and was not attracted by fragrance has none but instead by the color.

Being completely hooked by the encounter, I found myself back next day and leaving with roses by the names Abraham Darby (an Austin or English named rose), Ferdinand Pichard (a 1930s modern version of the 19th century Hybrid Perpetual class) and then another 6 modern hybrid tea roses followed in rapid succession. One was named Peace this 1945 introduction to North America fro France marks the break from old hybrid tea form to the modern, full, high pointed hybrid tea rose we all know from Safeway and weddings mandatory accruements of style.

Now in this missus I have failed to provide a clear and concise portrayal of the excitement and near frenzied approach I took to this early binging because the years have passed and feeling has been reduced by semi rose growing maturity (yeah right) but it was there and you are nearly powerless to control it once it has hold of you unless youre a Vulcan and the you can beat it before it starts because it is not logical as a reaction to some kind of life form but in reality the cause is a mysterious allure that well bred roses have on the human physique provided you are from planet earth.

Note in none of this first nuts reaction to the passion that was successfully eluded in the tundra with the rose is there any attempt to "learn" through what others knew or had written about roses. Only by pure happenstance did my first Calgary rose end up being what is loosely termed a hardy rose. It is loosely termed hardy in the sense that its canes do not completely survive our zone 3 winters 50% to 80% dieback is common in my garden.

So there I was in throes of the obsession before the passion and a good thing because nobody can tell you anything negative about rose in this phase because you are completely into the obviousness of it all as a good thing mainly because of the buzz it gives you your kind of like that lunatic Dilbert optimistic at work who management has told to jump off the cliff in a suicide mission and he does it because its all a positive experience including the end result at the bottom of the cliff.

Why was this frame of mind a good thing? Because in this phase you are insulated from the misplaced advice and tempering logic forced on you by heathens. I obtained my first experience with this insulating protection from negative vibes by experiencing the North American cultural comment from a nice (sincerely mean it) neighbour that went something like this " your nuts with all those roses planted in your yard " I only had eight planted compared to the seven hundred give or take fifty to hundred bushes of today.

What I did not realize at the time was the rose brings out the weird awe and fear of it in the non-gardener and sometimes the non-rose gardener. A better way to understand this strangeness is if you show them a yard loaded with annuals perennials and shrubs really landscaping as opposed to gardening - their first reaction is usually "thats quite nice looking" or "beautiful garden" or "what a great job you done" nope with lots of roses its " what are you nuts " - your free to substitute words "weird", "bent" "crazy" "obsessive" "illogical" - even been told I am on drugs. But from the more intelligent human biped I received an enquiry "How are you able to grow them when I cant" the last gets answered later.

Well by the new millennium, we decided (we means I am including my understanding spouse in this passion) it was time to get out of rentals and buy. So we purchased the new house was a gold medal winner of the ultimate in bleak cookie cutter suburbia contractor landscaping and lacked anything soft and "outdoors" people friendly for my short summers.

It was easy to see that in the neighborhood the traditional Canadian pastime of staying outdoors in the backyard from dusk to dawn was missing because of a lack of privacy in the backyards - no solid fences allowed. All in all the yard was about as enticing as camping in a -50C January howler blasting over the bald prairie at night (my apologies to those who find howlers interesting meteorological phenomenon to quote a famous local weatherman).

But before moving in unfinished business remained, that being rather than leave my roses in the old place to an uncertain future, and probably in the hands of future heathens, I uprooted and potted them for transfer to our new house. For some reason only known to history I decided to plant Abe and Ferdinand in the ground in October of the move in year their grafts were planted above ground. The remainder I stored in the garage deducing they would survive to plant in the spring.

Again up to this time I had done no reading about rose culture, let alone about growing out of zone roses in Calgary. However for some reason I decided by Novembers first cold to throw a bit of earth on top of the grafts. It must have been nursery chat osmosis, or something that told me I should do this.

A lucky break indeed because the roses in the unheated garage were dehydrated and utterly dead as door nails by spring - but not Abe and Ferdinand. Both of these rose canes were toast and I had a brief moment of manic depression and the rose saga was perilously close to permanent termination. However being ever the optimistic in non work related endeavors totally controlled by me ignoring nature for a moment I brushed the covering soil away from the grafts. As the clich says "Jo lo and behold there was a couple of tiny specks of new growth developing from the inch or two of cane that had remained green only a true new gardener could relate to the great feeling to see the green with six corpses in the garage - which should have been a better location for survival (attached to the house ah the lessons yet to learn still cant make tenders survive in the garage).

Though I did not know it yet that little bit of green was the beginning of out of zone rose growing, and believe it or not I still have both roses after 8 years. Indeed Ferdinand was moved from the original south bay window plot to the more hostile northern gardens in the back yard. As a testament to its "survivability" it still produces today on Dr Huey rootstock. Note the canes will in some years die over winter to the ground even with protection. Yet some years I start with 3 feet in the spring of green healthy cane. Dont ask the source of the inconsistency because I would have to be honest and tell you I do not have a clue I just chalk it up to its inherent in the sometimes inconsistent results of efforts for trying to save of cane over winter. In 2006 one of the three foot cane springs - it happened to throw an eight foot cane in defiance of its usual zone 3 length of 4 to 5 feet high maximum.

The eight foot cane did not survive the winter but this is one hybrid perpetual that is very conducive to rewarding even a little bit of effort to conserve canes. This rose is probably one of the best of the hybrid perpetuals for cold climates with others coming to mind.

In this class I can easily recommend to try, but protect, Sydonie / Sidonie (3 to 5 feet by seasons end), Mme Boll (3 to 4 feet), Enfant d France (2 to 3 feet), Mrs. Baker ( 2 to 4 feet). By the way it would be extremely unusual to find these varieties in your local to the point I would say you wont. You need to order them from reputable Old Garden Rose nurseries such as Pickering Nurseries in Ontario.

For wetting your appetite I lists below the ones that I grow that do reliably provide blooms and a list of ones more hit and miss (die). The most import aspect to remember for later when we learn some suggested guidelines when starting out in out of zone growing is all hybrid perpetuals (Old Garden Roses) are repeaters.

The second list is the more tender dicey ones I grow but who I find less reliable.

This class of roses actually was the precursor to the Hybrid Tea and was a mainstay of Victorian times in England and France. In my garden all the Hybrid perpetuals are in the aggressive north gardens no hybrid teas in there and so have been challenged with some doing still well after 7 years original plant.

Reliable Bloomers in Zone 3 with protection:

Alfred Colomb
Anna de Diesbach
Baron Girod de l'Ain
Baroness Rothschild
Baronne Prvost
Charles Lefbvre
Enfant de France
Eugne Frst
Ferdinan Picard
Frau Karl Druschki
Gen Jacqueminot
Henry Nevard
Mme Boll
Mrs. Baker
Reine des Violettes
Ulrich Brunner
Vick's Caprice

Less reliable in zone 3 with protection:

Alfred Colomb
Anna de Diesbach
Baron Girod de l'Ain
Comtesse Cecile de Chabrillant
Duke of Edinburgh
Fisher & Holmes
George Arends
Heinrich Schultheis
Henry Nevard
Hugh Dickson
Paul Neyron
Paul's Early Blush
Prince Camille de Rohan
Prince Noir
Souvenir de Docteur Jamain
Triomphe de l'Exposition

However I get ahead of myself somewhat in the evolution to out of zone growing. First came the planning of the first major dive into rose mania 8 was only a tease in the first year of the passion.

During the first winter in the new house, I would pass my time running through my mind how I was going to change this bleak desolate soccer field yard and the contact between it and the all angles " The Big Pink" house meet from a grass wasteland into something softer and reminding me of origins in Northern Ontario read trees. During a trip to the nurseries to get a fix of green and some landscaping inspiration I happened upon a little innocuous looking paperback book titled Lois Holes Rose Favourites.

Yes sir this addiction fostering little book was the trigger that caused the full blown rose growing mania 8 of year 1 became "Yeah that was nice as bouquet now for the real thing" this little book would be responsible for me hauling many hundreds of wheel barrel loads of top soil, kilograms upon kilograms of bone meal, shovels, hoes, pruners, hundreds of pounds of river rock, hundreds of pounds of pavers, a small forest of gardens ties, 10 hp Honda tillers, statues, a 600 pound fountain, garden bricks and buckets and buckets of soaking bare root roses not belonging in zone 3 etcetcetc around the yard in early May. And doing this and calling it a fun way to spend what has become an annual two week rite of spring planting ritual vacation from another real life.

Something about the format and content of this little book, or more probably its pictures and concise style of writing on the subject created the hunger to grows roses on a maddening scale. the net result of that winter book was rose gardening mania displaced landscaping to become the primary raison d'tre with landscaping geared to complementing the rose plan. In those early heady days all thoughts were pre-occupied with recreating little Britain delusions in my yard forget Northern Ontario tree landscape approximation thats good for attracting woodpeckers.

The vision that spawned during that first winter Little Britain episode in Calgary was massive glorious trusses of six to ten foot high climbing roses and bushes smothering the walls of The Big Pink and hiding the prison yard chain link subdivision caveat fencing. It was a nice illusion to be in but one fatal flaw. I completely forgot about zone considerations even when reading the book. Did not matter anyways because in the end the results were that the range of truly hardy varieties here was even narrow than within the pages. The reason was unfortunately it was not geared to my "specific foothills microclimate existing exactly within my fence line and within the exact spot I planted each test rose", though it is close, no cigar - or should I say no "Bouquet d Or" awarded though I grow it. But credit where due that in the end it was a simple well written, informative and illustrated little beginners "Das Booke" that set me on the road to learning about Zone Busting.

Problem is I did not know it back then that there were to be many successes but more "getting thumped" by the agonies of defeat before I found the right balance between what can be made to grow out of zone and is worth the effort I want to take to do the protection to "make it so Scotty" I am Professional Engineer by trades so I like Scotty - but still dont have a "British Garden".

What I have achieved is something in between that does draw compliments and gushes from those open to the joys of rose gardening and the awe that goes with really intensive examples almost bordering but not quite on mono-culture (not a good idea because of the limitations it brings with garden textures and bloom cycles - you get long periods of nice green and where is the color? or also known as use annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs to give balance to the roses and all season interest.

But back we must go to study evolution. By the time when the first frost hit in the 2nd week of October in year 1 of the New Dawn, the mild hobby before "Das Magnum Kinder Booke" had turned into a full blown practically executed obsession (not a passion yet) for which the enjoyable outdoor part had to end for the winter with about 100 hundred roses of nearly all classes planted and running the gamut of box, potted and bare root roses. By Year 7 the passion had eclipsed the initial primitive obsessive compulsive disorders with an organized garden of about 700 rose bushes in the small subdivision yard of 110 feet by 55 feet.

Ahhh least I forget and be accused as a bearer of falsehoods by those sharp tongued experts I need to give perspective on the results of year 1. The hidden realities of zone busting from that first year consisted of the visions of the 15 foot trusses of British roses hitting between 2 to 4 feet with a stretchy metal measuring tape - and receiving as a reward for my enthusiasm, two small mangy blooms from the out of zone roses. Of course being the type that always sees opportunity in delusions busted but not seeing the delusion - I saw the truly demented gift that I could "stuff" in a few more roses to enjoy those blooms that can not be replicated exactly the same in the truly hardy roses for zone 3 Calgary about 12 in number - just kidding but only just barely.

The Interrogation Are You Worthy?

So now that we know how it started, you may wonder what is step one of a sensible progression to deciding and learning how to do zone busting? I dont know for sure I am still trying to sort out sensible, but not really worrying about it because I am having just too much fun learning.

However we could start by having you ask yourself a number of questions. Here are a few I would ask if I were a rational person. By the way I am not even after spending way too much time in science and engineering due to curiosity and free money from the loving sixties bless those stuck in the sixties folks as they know why leave?

To me the questions would probably go something like this:

Do you think you would like to grow roses?

if you answer no then stop reading this article unless your having a coffee and TV is boring as the Senators already won the cup. However I would ask you how do you know you would not because you bought this periodical out of curiosity so your already half way there to wanting to try the first step and that is grow roses.

If you answer yes, then I would think you need to ask do you want a real challenge to your gardening skills that requires what others call real work but to you, you would call "joy"? If you answer yes then proceed, if you answer no then stop and go back to what you enjoy no hard feelings you just did not make the grade.

If you sincerely think yes, then ask are you ready willing and able to lose to nature to learn to work with her ? (by the way I use gender with nature as I believe nature to be feminine). If you answer no, then I suggest professional help - its natures world we live in so get on with it and work with it.

If yes, then the next question is do you like to read about gardening?

The point here is to avoid making the same mistakes others made but actually wrote down in a book how they succeeded exaggerating how they were a genius and figure it all out on their first try.

If you answered "yes" to reading then youre a rational person and well onto using a systematic approach to learning zone busting except youre likely have strong technocratic tendencies and you will need to suppress these or your totally screwed in that you cant understand nature totally by equations and hypothesis - so dont try. The best you can hope for is just a close approximation of how she works, how you can work with her, and live-learn and re-learn again approach of peaceful co-existence in your garden with her.

As you may guess, I answered nope to the question, and just did it about $30,000, 7 years and 10,000 hours of labour in the garden I realized I should have lied and answered yes.

The way I stumbled into it was by visions of grandeur in the yard with roses and no patience for Nay Sayers, real in depth books, technology and professionals but one saving grace is I had time to listen to the verbal tales of battle scared old timers.

And last and most important question, do you want to have rose bushes as big as they grow in California, or just a bloom or two of what they grow there?

If you answered as big as they grow in California youre out of this venture - wrong perspective for out of zone growing. Forget California rose growing as the states climate is a heavenly fluke, or divine after thought of heavenly pity for earth that other climates even exist to add longing.

However a California rose bloom is possible in Calgary it is just that the zone 3 bush equivalent is only 1/10 the size they grow there and your number of blooms is only 1/100 on a bad California rose day.

So if you do all your reading - unlike me - you will discover the following number 1 rule of out of zone rose growing.

Start with rose rated to your zone. That is the number 1 advice experienced Rosarians - or just me who has lost it totally - will tell you. Or being more kind following that advice is what rational people call a sensible plan. Why because it gives you the feeling of success and starting to understand the basics or how to plant roses, soil conditions, soil maintenance, watering, location, micro-climates in your yard etcetcetc ... but the initial success is the most important because it allows you to get arrogant and say "thats easy, now bring buddy with the out of zone stuff you claim is so hard".

How do you find out what rose is rated to your zone?

Actually the truth be stated as my opinion, rose "zone rating" is one of the more controversial areas of "no expertise". My "expertise" is limited to the growing conditions within the specific 5000 square feet of my yard, the compass azimuths within it, lights and shadows caused by structures and the sun rises sort of in thee easy and kind of travels above my roof south lie and probably by now somewhere between one or two thousand rose names tested for hardiness behaviour in various location within the yard or only one location. If I walk across my street, probably 40% of what I know is useless for my neighbours yard except the advice start with a hardy rose.

The point being the level of hardiness behaviors exhibited by a marginal zone rose can be location specific because of micro-climates influences in your yard.

Finding and noting different micro-climates is what an out of zone rose grower tries to discover in their yard. They then use this knowledge to their advantage for selecting the correct placement of the correct type of out of zone rose to do the biggest zone stretch. For me mission ridiculous is now targeting to get a tea rose to have canes survive winter protected in the south gardens most out of zone friendly spot. This area is the "best out of zone microclimate in my yard and for the right rose".

Whereas I have learned to plant rugosas and hardy species in my "very cold" micro climates that are characterized by the first direct sun exposure occurring latter in spring, and loss of direct sun earlier in fall than in my warm microclimate areas in the yard.

The ultimate micro climate in my yard is created by an area in front of a south facing wall with additional protection from cold winter winds from the east and the warm Chinooks from the west. This protection comes from smaller walls. If you can find a similar situation in your yard it could allow you to stretch sometimes stretch to a zone 6 or 7 rose albeit not to the height or bloom density of the proper environment for the simple reason our season is not long enough to generate enough heat units in its some 100 plus frost free days.

But let us return back to what we have with respect to understanding whats meant by zone hardiness or a zone hardy rose in Calgary. If you ask someone who grows roses if a specific rose is hardy you can get the full spectrum of replies. The replies will range form the optimistic - typified by an overly stretched imagination as to what are the bare minimum characteristics defining a rose as an acceptable rose the first spring after its first winter - to the overly pessimist fatalist who wont accept blooms on a rose the spring as real because the rose did not come from the local bush lot.

I ignore both these camps definitions when it comes to rose hardiness as they are extreme viewpoints - though at first I fell into the optimistic camp as many of you will. The simple fact or in my case my opinion is the rose world does not define well enough in formal circles what is meant by a rose being hardy.

But before tackling this "hardy question as it applies to out of zone roses lets take a side step. Interestingly the scientific calculation of the climatic zone number is fascinating as it has reduced "feelings and observation recordings" about climate and plant compatibility to a mathematical zone equation. Ill spare you and me it precise equation as even I find it a challenge to understand. The formula is used with Environment Canada data to assign every area in Canada a zone value Calgary is assigned zone 3a Lotusland varies from 6 to 8.

The equation is not all about temperature inputs because it also includes a number of inputs including one that has always interested me and that is wind. The combination of cold, dry normal winter winds alternating with the warm moist winter Chinook winds have go tot be a thermal and desiccating killer for unprotected out of zone rose canes let alone normally hardy plants for our zone. I feel this is because of the desiccating effect on roses not "designed by nature" to compensate for it in our climate.

Out of zone roses that grow low to the ground or procumbent usually have a high tolerance of the winds good cane survival - as they are not in its full blast of the wind. However at the same time there are other hardy rose making over 6 feet high that are straight and rigid that experience no apparent winter wind damage except perhaps a little tip die down hence that would seem to make a lie out of the theory desiccations is a killer and not thermal changes e.g. Persiana Yellow which is not natural to Calgary but completely hardy. Is not nature wonderful, as no generalization can be really stretched far without finding a contradiction to it (low to the ground equals better survival of canes).

Anyways enough of a side bar, back to trying to define what is meant by, and characterizes a specific rose type and named rose as "zone hardy" to Calgary.

Lets start with a scenario, if I was extremely cavalier and filthy rich then the simplest method of determining a roses hardiness in my garden would be to test it. In this very simple test I would plant the rose like you would a perennial - dig a hole as deep and as wide as the roots, plop it in, backfill to the soil line, water and hope for the best. In this test we do not plant the graft below the soil line. Dont laugh or call this an unrealistic test as 20/20 hindsight is our friend whereas neophyte rose gardeners do just that when they plant their first hybrid tea with no hindsight or knowledge but us being now educated by reading we know there is no hybrid tea hardy to Calgary by the strictest definition to follow soon of what hardy means.

If you have money to burn and did the test mentioned you would likely one of three types of results occur the following spring after planting like offered below:

The real hardy rose is the rose that naturally belongs in the zone 3a environment even if it was not originally a rose created by nature in Calgary or even North America zone 3as. It is characterized by trivial yet important characteristics - it grows leaves telling us the graft is alive and it has no damaged to the canes worth mentioning after winter (meaning will grow larger in its second season in our garden). With respect to cane damage in my books this has to be less 10% of the total cane length (total arbitrary scale on my part) or down of the total number of canes. It is never zero unless the rose is made of plastic.

In my experience there are a very limited number of truly graft and cane hardy roses for Calgary. The truly cane hardy roses in my garden tend to fall into the species or the following formal classes such as the Albas (the whites as opposed to the blushes), Rugosa Rugosa Hybrid (but not all as Ive learned from trial and error), Pimpinefollia (Scots Roses such as Double Blush Burnet), Moyessi (Nevada) and Foetida (Persiana Yellow a rose all over Calgary with about the most brilliant deep shade of yellow I have ever seen). Nearly every privately breed prairie hardy rose seems to have one or more of these classes in their background to provide some measure of true cane hardiness.

I neglect to list, due to a lack of in depth knowledge, whether roses exist that are crosses with our own naturally occurring species rose - Rosa accicularis (the provincial flower emblem) but the legendary Theresa Bugnet bred in Legal Alberta is stated to have some in her genes.

By the way one spring I had shock when one of my six Alberta hybridized Theresa Bugnets a rose that falls in this group of truly hardy with no more than 10% die back of the cane length or canes - lost all its canes to exposed crown / graft. To this day I have no idea why this rose did the massive die down. But as we will see with the second category of hardiness, after I cut all the dead canes to the crown s vigorously re-grew all new canes from basal beaks by fall. By first frost she was nearly as high and wide as the previous fall before the die down truly an amazing rose to me and one of my favourites try and get an out of zone rose to do that.

The cane hardy rose is never shunned even by the true psychotic out of zone grower. They tend to be scattered through out the garden in a vague belief that when they get too old to do protection of out of zone roses they can fall back on the hardies to get their rose fix my thinking plus this vague notion I will one day begin hybridizing to stave off post retirement boredom this is a pursuit though noble, right now feels to me the equivalent to watching paint dry because of the high level of knowledge, patience, and timing required - all skills I suppress in my need for instant gratification.

But back to the cane hardy, for some reason a large percentage of people starting out in rose growing tend to go through a stage where they turn up their noses at natural success offered by the cane hardy ones. Personally my theory is its all the fault of Safeway in that people believe" if it does not look like the roses in Safeway it cant be a rose". Darn subversive.

The second type of indicator of hardiness level for the unprotected rose experiment is finding the majority, or all of the canes or cane length, is dead. But if your patient your patience will be rewarded because the rose will have survived because the graft is still alive even though no viable cane is present at spring.

I call this rose semi-hardy and therefore not out of zone because by mid to late May the rose begins to push out something that looks like green to reddish green leaves from the remaining cane or I will develop new canes from its graft (basal breaks) and bloom in July. Most non-rugosa Parkland and Explorer series roses breed in zone 3 and 5 by us taxpayers (bless us for our foresightedness) fall into this group.

When I started zone 3a rose growing I assumed that because these varieties were declared hybridized for Canadian winters it meant 100% canes hardiness. It was a big disappointment to learn that it did not apply to the canes. However I quickly learned that the vigour bred into the roses compensated for it having to start over. So dont be disappointed, they are hardy in that they come back to bloom vigorously year after year its all in the definition of what do you mean by hardy. This type of rose is the source of friction by the hardiness purist, and the "get real folks" one has to understand a perennial rose is allowed respect.

The last choice an unprotected rose has as a reaction to our winter is the reaction resulting from not being cane and crown hardy also known as your rose is so-o-o-o dead come spring. This is the "not hardy" rose.

In this case when the snow melts you notice all the canes are dead to the ground but you still dont know if the crown or graft is dead. Usually by end of May to early June if there is no green growth you can be 95% sure the rose is dead that dateline is a rule I created for myself. Sometimes a new cane will appear but the rose is not worth keeping as it will not be a healthy plant best put it out of its misery.

Now to help the started some nurseries warn you indirectly the rose is not hardy by the posted dual hints a sign stating something like "Not guaranteed for winter no refunds". The box stores dont bother as they themselves dont know the difference - meaning to the uninitiated is the rose needs protection so dont blame us if it dies.

For me the majority of the rose classes developed in Europe and the United States warmer climates (biggest populations and therefore biggest commercial market) fall into this group of "no hardiness" in zone 3. These classes included and tested in my garden include Hybrid Teas, Gallicas, Centifolia, Noisettes, Teas, Chinas, Musks, Bourbons, Damask, Boursalts, English Austin roses, Multiflora, and Damask Portlands etc all really great looking ones with powerful fragrances in some cases.

This third result of this hypothetical experiment of picking the wrong rose for the Calgary zone, combined with the wrong planting method instantly and permanently terminates most would be rose growers budding passion agony of defeat.

Yet this is where the out of zone grower lives and flourishes in his or her private world. The result also breeds the out of zone rose cultivation cult and mystique best understood by the intelligent question I am asked numerous times "How do you manage to grow those rose when I can not?"

The Practical - or Its Too Late To Back Out - Your Committed

So how does one grow out of zone roses successfully?

First and most important prepare mentally for the agony of defeat so as to avoid it. To do this one has to immediately remove from ones mind the vision of 10 to 20 foot long trusses with hundreds of rose blooms up the side of the house those visions are real in California, not in -30C winter wonderland. Be happy with 2 to 4 foot canes and actually getting blooms as second for "once a season" blooming roses when starting out and in the first few years as you tune your skills to your specific garden.

Once you eliminate the height issue you must also eliminate the issue of canes never dying even with protection they will as no method I have tried is prefect. I can have massive die downs of out of zone roses for reasons I have not yet worked out some die down is due to a fungal disease called canker that can be fostered by winter protection methods where dampness penetrates the rose protection covering.

Next you ask yourself are you ready to do more than 15 minutes of work per rose in a year, past just planting it. If yes then your looking at approximately 1 hour worth of work per rose per year to ensure its survival before and after winter exclusive of watering fertilizing and pruning off winterkill. The extra work consists of 15 to 30 minutes to protect it come fall, and another 15 to 30 minutes in the spring to get it ready for the next growing season.

Next one must pick a rose to do your first experiment with. I recommend picking a rose whose natural lower limit growing zone is close to zone 3, say zone 4 or 5 (lots of Kordes Hybrid teas fall into zone 4 and 5 e.g. Folklore). Starting with a zone 6 rose, like a Noisettes say Madame Alfred Carrire which is the hardiest Noisette I grow, is not really a good idea.
Using zone 4 or 5 rose should allow the greatest amount of retained cane in the spring.

Second pick a vigorous repeating out of zone rose and not a once bloomer like a Gallica not yet anyways but you will eventually get to the class. If the repeating rose does not bloom in its first season there is a strong possibility there is something wrong with the rose and not your technique it happens. In an extreme case due to poor vendor quality control it took me four tries to get a zone 5 repeating rose to bloom in the first year the yellow fading rapidly to white 5 petal (single) rose called Golden Wings.

My three failures had nothing to do with my technique or the real Golden Wings it was the vendor either storing the rose poorly or as I suspect a wrongly labeled rose that was actually a once blooming rose because its form and leaves ended up being nothing like the real Golden Wings. The fourth Golden Wings bloomed and repeated and repeated for 3 years straight after winter and is still doing fine hence the advice select a vigorous repeater to start.

Next and critical is get your out of zone roses from a "dedicated reputable nursery". I tend to purchase large quantities (about 100 per year) and only buy them from Canadian bare root nurseries who graft the rose to multiflora rootstock. I usually receive them at the end of April for planting in the first two weeks of May if I dont get 2 feet of snow like a few years back. By the way as a rose addict I usually take two weeks vacation to do the plant.

Picking the optimum location to plant the rose sun for better part of the day and other steps (getting good backfill soil, remembering water in steps at planting, putting in amendments etc) you will find out in your own reading are common whether the rose is out of zone or hardy. However with selecting the location in your yard special consideration for out of zone growing has to be given. I strongly suggest when starting out you chose a site with a north wind break such as a south facing wall and if your really lucky west and east windbreaks (garage wall and/or neighboring houses) when you select this as your location for your first OZR you are now considering the practical aspects of successful out of zone growing.

As I mentioned previously I have such a spot and it is the "premium location where an out of zone rose has to perform within three years maximum or it is out because the space is small and the best location.

The first actual different physical activity in out of zone gardening is digging the hole slightly different as it is the second and the most critical first step towards protection to get next seasons blooms to happen. The hole must be dug to "protect the graft by planting it buried". Therefore the depth of the hole is critical step in zone busting and more than its width common rules to hardy and non-hardy apply. The graft is the Achilles heal of the out of zone rose as all new canes originate from it and nutrients pass through it. If the graft union dies in winter, then your rose is dead, dead, dead - or put more simply the egg came first not the chicken kill the egg and there will be no chicken to enjoy.

Most people believe as I did in the beginning that it is the freezing of the graft that kills an out of zone rose. I do not believe it anymore. I am of the opinion it is cycles of freeze and thaw that destroy it (remember those friendly warm winter Chinooks in Calgary). By burying the graft you do not prevent freezing it will freeze at just below 0 degrees centigrade and stay frozen solid at that temperature.

What you try to prevent is rapid and repeated thermal changes causing freeze and thawing of the graft. Why do I know I am surely correct as to the benefits of graft burial. Simple principals best demonstrated by the Inuit of old - if you find yourself trapped in a winter storm outside for the night dive into the snow bank and stay there so long as you can breath the inside of the snow bank will be at a constant temperature of just around freezing and not at -20 degrees centigrade. Bizarre is it not to use snow (ice with lots of holes in it) to stay warmer same thing in out of zone rose graft protection by burial.

What proof do I have for my belief? By February nearly all of my out of zone rose grafts will be frozen solid even under the protection. Nothing is more proven than when in late April I begin to shovel prune and hit blocks of frozen solid rose crowns and roots the rose I am shovel pruning is still alive because its gone through 2 or three winters but is being removed because I want a change.

I will dig my holes four to six inches deeper than the distance from the graft to the longest root. This will permit you to bury the crown / graft bud under four to six inches of insulating soil for winter. I will trim roots if the rose is very long rooted as my soil is no deeper than18 inches before I hit impenetrable hardpan clay and I need to allow for burying the graft. If you get a poor rose with short canes you can still plant it 4 to 6 inches below and have the canes exposed to the sun by using a little invention (not original but originally came to me) of mine by cutting out the bottom of a one gallon pot. Put the old bottom end over and around the rose canes and pile the soil around the outside to get your 4 to 6 inches. This will allow the canes to grow come fall you can pull out the cone and put soil flush to the outside level.

There are permutations of this planting method that have developed over the years. Some pioneers state emphatically that planting the roses on a 45 deg or there about slant pointed to the north improves their survivability by keeping the roots in the sweet zone of maximum aeration and nutrient availability and encourages them to go own root (i.e. the plant eventually discards the rootstock). I cant bring my self to test this method as it looks strange to me to have a hundred crooked roses in the ground too short a season.

Now the Really Hard Part or Break Your Back

Come fall the second part of the protection strategy is used that dissuades many from growing out of zone roses the real work - but this step is not critical to the rose survival as is planting the graft correctly. It only critical when you try of "perennial roses" and would like larger roses with more laterals off the canes and blooms. This next step involves above ground protection by placing covering material such as a rose cone, or loose mounding material over the rose canes.

The solid protection methods like rose cones or permutations of have worked for me, except but I dont buy the manufactured ones as they are too expensive relative to the number of roses I cover. I just recycle old large nursery pots and relegate using them to the once blooming roses that can not tolerate much cane dieback (gallicas and damask). However due to laziness I have yet to fill the interior with additional "insulating material.

Others will build wire cylinders around the rose out of chicken wire or like and fill it with leaves, newspapers or anything that does not retain water. Some even go to the lengths of building long boxes with lids made of Styrofoam. My recycled planting pots and Home Depot pails work but I still get between 2%0 to 40 % die back . I only use them for "short" stiff caned once blooming OGRs until the canes are too long.

With loose covering material like soil or peat moss it is not necessary to cut the canes down. Some people including myself will cut down the hybrid teas and shrub roses just to be able to easily pour the lose covering materials around the base also called mounding . If you have lose sandy soil then cutting down the canes maybe also good idea to reduce wind rock however either way the canes above the protection medium are dead come spring.

This process is the most labour intensive part of out of zone rose growing. If you have hundreds of out of zone roses as I grow this process can take up to 5 to 6 full days to complete if you have a half dozen it is not that much effort.

I begin the process usually in about late October or early November after the first good killer frost sounds like an oxymoron statement - but the frost lets the roses know it is time to go dormant. To affect protection I will shovel peat moss to a depth of 6 to 10 inches on the rose bush centre in my case this usually translate to getting 160 compressed m3 of fine grained peat or sphagnum moss to do the garden.
Usually I will cover the peat moss in some of the beds in windy areas with jute of burlap, staking the sides down into the earth. Side by side rolls I stitch the sides together with large cedar shims split and sharpened into holding pins. If you neglect the effect of wind the moss will soon blow away and as has happened to me you can lose the rose come spring (was too lazy to recover).
The first part of the pain was the covering the second part is the uncovering. What do you do with the peat moss in spring? I use it to mix with the soil during my spring plant or shovel it into the soil to break up the clay. To reduce the shoveling hours I will take off the burlap 3 to 4 weeks before the beginning of May and allow the wind to blow over it for a few weeks which helps to dry it - Calgary is a windy place in the spring. There is also another reason once dry the wind gets rid of a few hundred cubic metres into my neighbours yard (just kidding but lots of the moss does just that and disappears by wind dispersal).
There are numerous permutations to this covering method. Each method has its pluses and minuses, but what is common is the saving of cane gives more laterals (on shrub roses and OGRs) and more blooms will result.
Some other alternatives used for the loose covering medium are straw, long fiber peat moss (I use short fiber), and covering with an insulating tarp. I tried all except the straw due to convenience of easy access to the short moss. As to tarps, last winter I used medium weight frost cloth - a paper product - without any under laying or over laying of peat moss. The results at first looked competitive with peat moss by now I am noticing the cane survival was not as good but it sure was a lot less work covering and uncovering a few thousand less shovel motions less.

If you use peat moss or anything with water retaining ability, be cautious, because if your in an area has winters with large snowfalls followed by thaws you will find the peat moss gets soaked over time and increases the risk of canker destroying the cane if it girdles them. Meaning all your protection effort was in vain to retain cane. In Calgary there is not enough snow most seasons to result in me having to deal with a wet soupy mess in spring but I still will get canker the moss is usually quite dry after the first 2 or 3 inches in a wet spring.

Now a word of reality, the above methods are not perfect, you will not always get cane survival above the soil line for what ever reason but on average you will get more survival and higher and wider bushes compared to not covering.

Please sir I Want More (and get it)

In my on the job education, I always change if I want more which is nearly always. I found that after a couple of years of success in making out of zone roses survive winter, I started to get frustrated at the low bloom / cane count, and short height.

It became obvious I needed protect all the canes. Not doing so resulted in some roses slightly taller than the 4 to 8 inch tall ubiquitous Prairie crocus we love to see as the first sign of spring. I exaggerate in that my floribundas and hybrid teas would make between 2 to 3 feet in a year and bloom adequately for me but for my once blooming OGRs and normally tall roses the bloom density was not enough to warrant the work because most of the canes needed to start over.

Yes I am contradicting step 1 about forgetting California but only in the sense I wanted slightly more blooms and taller roses we are talking about trying to achieve out of zone roses that are in the 4 to 6 foot height region and more than one or two canes.

After reading what others did it such as Shewchuk in Edmonton, Heimbecker in Calgary and reading about the Minnesota tip method way too much work for me as it involves digging a trench and under cutting the root ball - I decide create a "bend peg and bury" method using peat moss.

Prior to reading about the method of taking down climbers and covering using insulating tarps (pool covers), nature gave me the first clue that "bend peg and bury" the canes might work. It happened one fall when an early winter made its introduction with a freezing rain - ice storm. This storm knocked down many canes to the ground and encased them in ice for the entire winter in a shady area of gardens after the middle of September (the sun rises lower in the horizon after June 23).

Next spring the canes on the once blooming OGRs such as the mosses Nuits de Young and Chapeau de Napoleon bloomed well (flexible canes). I figured I needed to replicate nature to solve my issue at least for my flexible caned roses (e.g. the Hybrid Perpetual Reine des Violettes and the bourbons Prince Napoleon and Louise Odier both zone 5 roses). The method is a modification of what is used at the public Botanical Gardens in Hamilton Ontario and Montreal Quebec.

The method will not work for stiff caned climbers as I can not bend them without snapping off the canes after they are two or three years old. Hybrid teas also are not conducive to using this method.

In this method for flexible long caned rose I do the following:

1. Bundle the canes together and loosely bind them in late October or early November after the first frost of note.

2. Drive a pair of strong stakes into the ground and opposite each other sometimes two sets are used if the rose is tall with a gap left wide enough between stakes to fit the thickness of the cane bundle between them.

3. Then very gently bend the bundle down to the ground between the pair of opposing stakes.

4. Fasten the bundle with string to the stakes or cross loop the string between the stakes to hold the bundle down on the earth.

5. Optional: At this point you need to decide if you want to place mouse bait down near the crown. I have lost the season for a few roses because the varmints got under the peat moss and gnawed the canes at the base. If they girdle them as in the canker case the cane is dead come spring.

6. Optional - sprinkle or spray fungicide on the canes your trying to prevent or reduce canker occurrence (I do it and can not say for certain it has an effect).

7. Cover the bundle with peat moss to about four to 6 inches is good enough for me.

8. Pray for no real wet winters

Repeating again, the more cane you will save the closer the out of zone rose is to your zone. I get very good cane survival for flexible caned zone 4 and 5 roses with bend peg and bury. But beyond that it is tremendously iffy.

For example I have made the very tender climbing tea named Marchal Niel to survive for 3 winters, but no cane remains with the method. It just comes back but to grow and bloom at 1/10 the normal height of the rose.

So there you have it, simple yeah? and a lot of learning and work to get this far and more to learn and skills to tune but the rewards are grand for me.

Regards and Good Luck

Copyrighted (I think and not that I care unless ripped off)
Riku Helin


clipped on: 08.11.2007 at 12:12 am    last updated on: 08.11.2007 at 12:13 am