Hardy Roses

Hardy Roses

Part of Ep. 205 Autumn Highlights

Take a look at hardy roses that don't need any winter protection even in Wisconsin's challenging climate. Meet Dr. Ed Hasselkus, Professor of Horticulture for the UW-Madison who introduces such plants as rugosa roses and hardy climbers.

Premiere date: Aug 31, 1994

TRANSCRIPT+
Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

Shelley:
Fall is a time when many of us gardeners start thinking about protecting our tender roses from the cold of winter. We're going to look at some roses today that don't need any care. I'm with Dr. Ed Hasselkus, Professor of Horticulture for the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ed is also curator here at the UW-Madison Arboretum. Ed, tell me more about these hardy roses.

Ed:
Shelley, as opposed to the garden roses, the hybrid teas, the floribundas, the grandifloras, which require all this care, we're going to look at the hardy shrub roses. And, the one I'd like to concentrate on today is the rugosa rose, one that has three distinct advantages. One, it's absolutely winter hardy without any winter protection. Secondly, it is free of the two great scourges of roses, black spot and mildew.

Shelley:
So we don't have to spray.

Ed:
Right, and thirdly, this is the one species rose that has repeat bloom. All roses bloom in June, many of the species-- most of the species roses don't bloom continuously after that, so a wonderful rose. In addition, it is so tolerant. And so, in the boulevards of the city of Milwaukee, they've used the rugose rose which has proven to be very tolerant of the ice and salt.

Shelley:
Okay, it's also very lovely. Now, I'm noticing, though, that some of the leaves look yellower. Like these right here are quite yellow compared to these green ones.

Ed:
Shelley, you have spotted the one disadvantage, and so, under highly alkaline soil conditions, we may get yellowing or chlorosis of the foliage. Typically that happens near a building, buried plaster, buried construction debris elevates the soil pH.

Shelley:
So, not a serious problem?

Ed:
Not in most cases. Now, the foliage of the rugosa rose is quilted in appearance, of course very disease free.

Shelley:
No holes.

Ed:
The flowers are single and magenta of fairly good size. And then, we have the advantage of the fruits in roses that are known as hips which turn a bright red-orange in the fall.

Shelley:
And, they're edible.

Ed:
They're very high in Vitamin C content.

Shelley:
Make great jams and teas. Now, with the beautiful red hips, you also fall get color, right.

Ed:
Yes, you typically get yellow autumn foliage coloration.

Shelley:
Are the flowers we're looking at pretty typical of all the rugosas?

Ed:
Actually, let me show you another example. This is Belle Poitevine, one of the better cultivars of the rugosa rose. In this case, it has semi-double flowers.

Shelley:
Oh, they're more delicate looking.

Ed:
And, actually, there are many cultivars with white, yellow, red, various shapes of things, some single, some double, some semi- double.

Shelley:
Now, the hips on these look a little smaller than--

Ed:
The hips here tend not to develop as fully on Belle Poitevine. And so, we might actually consider dead heading them to encourage more repeat bloom.

Shelley:
So, because they're just not as showy, you want more flowers rather than the hips.

Ed:
Rather than the developing hips.

Shelley:
Okay, would I do that just with the pruners like this, then?

Ed:
Yes, just clipping at, sort of, that cluster of fruits and you will induce more flowering.

Shelley:
Okay, is there any other care that I need to do with this kind of plant?

Ed:
Basically, the same cares as most other shrubs. And so, they should be renewal pruned on a fairly regular basis, which consists of taking out the oldest, heaviest canes at the ground line during the dormant season.

Shelley:
And, using one-handed loppers for that?

Ed:
Yes, to stay a little bit away from the thorns.

Shelley:
Okay, what about climbers? I've heard that those are hard to grow in this part of the country.

Ed:
Shelley, for the first time, we have some hardy climbing roses and I'd like to show you them right now.

Shelley:
Great. Now with other kind of climbers, I know that you have to take the canes down, dig a trench, put them in a trench, and cover it or they won't even begin to survive the winter. You're saying with these, we don't have to do that.

Ed:
These are the Canadian explorer series of climbing roses. They're all named after Canadian explorers. And, like the rugosas we've just talked about, they are hardy without any winter protection. They are also highly resistant to black spot and mildew. And, the other important feature of repeat bloom. And so, here we see a strong, growing shoot loaded with buds for future flowers.

Shelley:
Now what is the name of this particular cultivar?

Ed:
This is William Baffin, a semi-double pink flowers.

Shelley:
Really pretty.

Ed:
Another popular one is Henry Kelsey, with red flowers. And, both of them have these long, arching canes, perhaps, six, seven, eight feet in length.

Shelley:
Now, they're not really climbing, though, are they.

Ed:
They actually are, but they're not a vine in the sense. Most other vines have specialized structures that enable them to attach themselves to structure.

Shelley:
To grab on.

Ed:
In this case, we have to have a fence, a pergola, an arbor to sort of support them.

Shelley:
Well, it looks like they've woven sort of in and out of this fence.

Ed:
It works pretty well here, or tying with soft twine would be another alternative.

Shelley:
Okay, how long does it take to get to this height?

Ed:
This plant is six years old, but in the second year it will achieve this height.

Shelley:
Oh, wow. And when will it bloom?

Ed:
Guaranteed to flower the first year, Shelley, after planting.

Shelley:
Immediate rewards then, great. All right, thanks, Ed. Now remember, spring is the best time of year to plant roses. With these easy care varieties, though, you might have less work to do in the fall.

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