Today, my garden is a test garden. Every since last week’s late freeze, our temps have been up and down with no moisture except what little irrigation I’ve provided.
These conditions created an interesting environment. This is observation only, and I’m no scientist. However, every morning since the freeze, I’ve walked the garden and watched for burned foliage to determine:
- Which roses best weathered Mr. Freeze? (In fact, two freezes about two weeks apart.)
- Which have the least damaged foliage?
- Which were nipped in the bud so to speak, and
- Which suffered nearly total and complete setbacks?
Under the category of “Best weathered” we have:
‘Altissimo,’ a modern climber
‘Applejack,’ a Griffith Buck shrub rose
‘Cl. Pinkie,’ a China
‘Betty Prior,’ an old Floribunda from 1935
‘Baronne Prevost,’ a Hybrid Perpetual
‘Baseye’s Bluberry,’ a shrub rose
‘Carefree Wonder,’ a shrub rose
‘Cecile Bruner,’ a Polyantha
‘Cliffs of Dover,’ a shrub rose
‘Country Dancer,’ a Griffith Buck shrub rose
‘Cramoisi Superieur,’ a China
‘Don Juan,’ a modern climber
‘Dream Come True,’ a Hybrid Tea
‘The Fairy,’ a Polyantha
‘Fairy Queen,’ a Polyantha
‘Louis Phillippe,’ a China
‘Marie Pavie,’ a Polyantha
‘Marchessa Boccella,’ a Hybrid Perpetual
‘Mutabilis,’ a China
‘Home Run,’ a shrub rose
‘Jefferson,’ a found or Old Garden Rose
‘Old Blush’ and ‘Cl. Old Blush’ both old China roses
‘Valentine,’ a Floribunda
Winner’s Circle ™, a climber hybridized by William J. Radler (Knockout ® rose family hybridizer)
The mystery roses: yellow, pink and red all suffered minimal damage. I’m not surprised. They are stone hardy these passalongs.
Filed under damaged foliage, but not yet flat on the mat, we have:
‘About Face,’ a newish Grandiflora
‘Belinda’s Dream,’ a shrub rose
‘Carefree Beauty,’ Dr. Griffith Buck’s most famous rose and one of my all-time favorites, had some leaf tip and new foliage burn. I believe this is because she was putting on so many new blooms right before the freeze. Her other foliage remained unharmed.
‘Footloose,’ a shrub rose
‘Frontier Twirl,’ a Griffith Buck shrub rose, suffered very little damage, but it was covered due to an extreme amount of damage last spring.
‘Golden Slippers,’ a Floribunda
The Knockout ® family of roses: Double Knockout, Knockout, Pink Knockout, Blushing Knockout, Rainbow Knockout and Carefree Sunshine, a/k/a ‘Radsun’ (all patented plants) only had burned foliage on the newest leaf tips. Double Knockout did have a bit more damage than the others. Also, the two Pink Knockouts in raised beds had more damage than those in the lower garden. I don’t know why.
‘Mardi Gras,’ a Floribunda
‘Skyrocket,’ a climbing shrub rose
‘Tropicana,’ a Hybrid Tea
Most of the English roses, with the exception of ‘Gertrude Jekyll,’ are on the very sheltered East side of the house. Here is how they fared:
‘Gertrude Jekyll’ did extremely well. This particular Gertrude is not grafted and is grown on its own roots. It took her three years to establish, but she did not burn a leaf.
‘Teasing Georgia’ had only the most minor burning (East flower border; 2nd tier); However, she was covered because of poor performance last year.
‘Graham Thomas’ had a lot of new leaf damage. Older leaves were untouched (East flower border; 1st tier)
‘Abraham Darby’ had a small amount of leaf damage (East border; 1st tier next to the house)
‘Heritage’ had some new leaf damage (East border, 2nd tier)
‘Sophy’s Rose,’ a minimal amount of leaf burn (East border, south end; 1st tier next to the house)
Under the inauspicious title of “Most Damaged” are:
‘Rio Samba,’ both shrubs which are located on the East side of the house, but not next to it, suffered a lot of leaf burn even with total covering to the ground. ‘Rio Samba’ truly is a warm weather girl.
‘New Dawn,’ a vigorous climber. In all fairness to the Beast (as I lovingly call her), I pruned ‘New Dawn’ heavily earlier in spring, and she had just sprouted abundant, new growth, which is the most susceptible. In years past, nothing could hurt her, not even me.
A couple of other notations should be made:
- I’d already shovel pruned several non-performers, like ‘Aromatherapy,’ ‘La France’ and ‘Hot Cocoa’ earlier in the season and replaced them with more disease resistant varieties. I can tell you from past springs that both ‘La France’ and ‘Hot Cocoa’ suffered. ‘Aromatherapy’ was new last spring.
- I was very surprised that the China class of roses did so well. They are considered less cold hardy.
- Not all of the performers were long established in the garden. Three new roses: ‘Cramoisi Superieur,’ ‘Valentine’ and ‘Marchessa Boccella’ all had no damage.
- Some of the roses, especially the English ones, were in protected areas to soften the blow. Others were covered as noted above.
Not surprisingly, it is the shrubs and older roses which won the cold weather round. Perhaps, it’s because they have stood the test of time.
This summer, we’ll see which thrive in the extreme heat.