Roses for the Peterborough Area


Beryl Harris

The rose is considered the Queen of all the flowers, also the most cherished of plants down through the ages. Hybrid teas and the floribundas are amongst the best known, especially the "teas", but they are the prima donnas of the rose world and require a great deal of care and attention, if grown in our areas they must have winter protection. Even then many are lost to our up and down climate in the cold weather. Many are lost during our spring thaw, the ground heaves, creating cracks, the water runs down to the roots and then the "big freeze" comes again, thus freezing and killing those tender roots. However, There are many different kinds of roses, that will survive the winters, with minimum care, are environmentally friendly (minimal sprays required. If any) yet will give you beautiful blooms throughout the summer.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s winter-hardy roses from the Explorer and Parkland series ( no longer owned by the government, due to the "cut-backs") have these special characteristics. They are hardy down to –35C with only the snow for winter protection. They are disease resistant, flower repeatedly throughout the summer, requiring only minimal pruning, come in a variety of colours and sizes. Better yet they are Canadian!

The roses I am going to suggest come from the Explorer and Parkland series. These roses are the result of a lengthy and successful research programme at Ottawa, Ontario, Assomption, and Morden Manitoba. In addition to these two groups, would recommend the hedge rose called Prairie Joy .

The Explorer Series

All these plants are winter – hardy down to zones 2 or 3 depending on the snow cover. Varying amounts of cane injury may be seen depending on the year, planting location and snow cover, but root survival is excellent. Re-growth in the spring is rapid and the new shoots will flower again the same season.

The breeding program has developed over the years and now we have compact plants, with various flower colours, finer leaves and fewer thorns. Rosa. kordesii was used to increase disease resistance, hardiness and develop climbing characteristics. R. laxa and R. spinosissima were used as sources of disease resistance in the breeding of climbers and various other shrubs. Repeat flowering and flower quality was obtained from tender hybrid tea and floribundas.

Here are some Explorer roses to try:

  • William Baffin - semi-double pink
  • Charles Albanel - mauve-red semi-double
  • David Thompson - large fragrant, rose-red
  • Henry Hudson - pinkish-white opens to white
  • Jens Munk - semi-double, medium pink often marked with a white streak
  • Captain Samuel Holland - semi-double deep pink-red
  • Champlain - semi-double deep red
  • De Montarville - open to medium pink and fade to mottled pink
  • Frontenac - deep pink
  • George Vancouver - rose-red buds open to bright pink
  • Henry Kelsey - semi-double deep red with golden yellow centres
  • John Cabot - pinkish red I have cut mine down to the ground and back up it comes – it will take over your life if you let it!
  • John Davis - bright pink semi-double
  • John Franklin - deep red semi-double
  • Lambert Closse - deep pink buds open to large double pale pink ruffled blooms
  • Louis Jolliet - medium pink
  • Marie-Victorin - peach coloured blooms
  • Martin Frobisher - pink
  • Nicholas - medium red
  • Quadra - rich deep dark red
  • Royal Edward - double deep pink
  • Simon Fraser - medium pink
  • William Booth - deep red pointed buds open as single rose-red blooms with bright golden stamens

Parkland Roses

In this series the native prairie rose R. arkansana, known for its adaptability to cold winters and tolerance to hot dry summers, was used as a key parent in the initial breeding program . The native plant has been instrumental in the cultivar development process #. Hybrid seedlings have been crossed with floribunda and hybrid tea types as well as several other species which have resulted in 11 new cultivar releases. These plants have a variety of different habits and forms, but are all generally smaller shrub type roses with excellent repeat flowering.

Here are some Parkland (Morden) roses to try:

  • Adelaide Hoodless red semi-double
  • Cuthbert Grant - dark red, highly fragrant velvety flowers
  • Hope for Humanity - double blood red flowers
  • Morden Amorrette - Carmine to rose
  • Morden Blush - double ivory with blush centre
  • Morden Cardinette - cardinal red dwarf suitable for a potted flowering
  • Morden Fireglow - insides are orange red and undersides are flaming scarlet
  • Morden Ruby - dark red
  • Winnipeg Parks –large double open cherry red and fade to dark pinkish-red getting red tinged leaves in the fall