RHA Newsletter 9(4): 18-20 (1978)
Excerpt: The Canadian Rose Annual, 1977
The SEARCH for a ROSE
Keith Laver

Three years ago at a symposium at the Prince Hotel in Toronto, Sam McGredy was asked what he would consider to be a really outstanding project for Canadian rose enthusiasts. His reply was 'that a search for a rose which would be TRULY Canadian would be most significant'.

Since we already have a number of roses that have been hybridized and developed in Canada, we had to assume that the 'truly' part meant a rose or rose family whose characteristics were as widely adaptable as possible to the range of climatic conditions unique to Canada.

Let us look at some of the present roses:

  1. bedding rose types
  2. show rose types
  3. shrub or landscape rose types
  4. climbing and pillar rose types
  5. miniatures in all four previous groups

Of these only the shrub or landscape group are adaptable to more than pockets of Canada. Canadian and foreign.. hybridizers have utilized a variety of extremely hardy species roses to provide a number of hardy hybrids that have a wide use over the southern half of the country. The southern half, by the way, includes over 90% of the population.

Some of the species that have proved valuable in hybridizing are R. rugosa, R. blanda, R. woodsii, R. nitida, R. setigera, R. acicularis, R. laxa and R. arkansana. There are many other species that due to chromosome numbers are more difficult to hybridize, R. suffulta, R. macounii, R. rubrifolia are other challenging species.

There are in existence now, many interesting hardy roses for the Canadian collector, and many of these have been hybridized by Canadians. They fail to interest mainly because of their lack of recurrent bloom and their tendency to be uniformly large shrubby types. Future hybridizing must include hardy everblooming climbers. Candidates for parents are R. paulii, R. soulieana, R. wichuraiana and R. laxa. The hybridizing search must be for hardy, dwarf, everblooming, bedding-types to take the place of hybrid floribunda and hybrid tea roses. It must explore foliage variations particularly with the larger hybrids. R. rubrifolia can be used as a parent to find red-foliaged hybrids. Just imagine a hardy, red-foliaged rose covered with red or yellow heps in the fall. One could forgive the lack of recurrent bloom.

A number of concerned rosarians have joined together financially to start research at Guelph University intended to develop a breeding program for a better Canadian rose. We will have the experiences of a number of dedicated Canadian rose breeders to aid the foundation. H. H. Marshall of Morden Research Station, Percy Wright of Saskatoon, F. L. Skinner of Dropmore, Manitoba, F. Svejda of the Central Experimental Station at Ottawa and others have all contributed lifetimes of hybridizing. Their experiences can be used as a basis to search and find 'truly' Canadian roses,

Rosarians in Canada have unfortunately taken as "musts" the growing of the conventional hybrid teas, floribundas and climbers. The hardier hybrids put upon the market have had little sale and the Canadian hybridizers mentioned above have had little support from home owners. As a start let us help ourselves by purchasing some of the hardy Canadian hybridized varieties and listed below are their names, descriptions and where they may be obtained,

ADELAIDE HOODLESS (Marshall. '72) A hardy rose most closely resembling other red rose cultivars of the floribunda class which are lacking in hardiness. The bark on stems and twigs is reddish-brown and only a few spines are present. The foliage is glossy, normal green, medium in size with 7 leaflets per leaf and moderately resistant to blackspot and mildew. The flower buds are of medium size and ovate in shape and the shrub is vigorous, open and upright to 4' in height. This rose is a continuous and profuse bloomer from June to autumn frosts. The flowers are in clusters of up to 25 blooms, semi-double to double with about 25 petals when fully open, medium red in colour, faintly fragrant and long lasting as a cut flower.

ASSINIBOINE (Marshall '62) The blooms are purplish-red, large to medium in size, semi-double open and slightly fragrant. It flowers in abundance but intermittently, grows vigorously and is clothed with glossy bronze foliage.

JENS MUNK (Svejda) '74. This plant was selected because it is very hardy, flowers abundantly in June-July and again in August-September, is very resistant to blackspot and has a good field resistance to powdery mildew. The medium pink flowers are 2.5" in diameter (25 petals) very fragrant and are borne in clusters of 6-12. They are regular in form and show golden stamens when open. The shrub is vigorous, reaching a final height of 6.5' with good foliage cover. The foliage is rugose and sparkling red heps are a fall adornment,

KAKWA (Wallace '73) The flowers are cream coloured with pronounced yellow stamens, highly perfumed, 2" to 3" in diameter, semi-double with 4 to 6 rows of petals. Fruit black. Height 2 to 3' hence suitable for foundation plantings. This shrub is more spreading than the species, very winterhardy and flowers profusely in late June. Foliage is medium green.

CUTHBERT GRANT (Marshall '67) The semi-double flowers, cupped and slightly fragrant, are large and deep purplish-red. Buds are ovoid, foliage is glossy and the shrub is very vigorous and bushy with free intermittent bloom.

GEORGE WILL (Skinner '39) The double deep pink 3" flowers bloom in clusters and have a fragrance of cloves. The foliage is typically rugosa; the branches are slender and the height is from 3-4'. It blooms throughout the summer.

HENRY HUDSON (Svejda '77) The very fragrant flowers, averaging 2" in diameter with 25 petals are white with pink edges and in clusters of 6-12. The unopened bud is pink and the shrub is vigorous, well-balanced with good foliage cover and attractive heps. A very hardy new cultivar, flowering freely and repeatedly from June till frost. Resistant to blackspot & mildew.

MARTIN FROBISHER (Svejda '68) A hybrid rugosa with two-tone colouring of Neyron-rose. The flowers are arranged in clusters from 6-12, fragrant, medium sited with about 40 petals. This plant combines winter hardiness with a flowering season from June until frost and is resistant to mildew and blackspot. The shrub is 5-6' high, well balanced with good foliage cover. Wood is reddish-brown and upper parts of canes are spineless. Foliage is yellow-green.

PRAIRIE DAWN (Morden Experimental Farm '59) A rugosa-type hybrid with medium-sized double blooms of glowing pink. There is intermittent bloom all summer on the current season's wood. The shrub is upright to 5' with dark glossy foliage. Hardy on the prairies.

THERESE BUGNET (Bugnet, introduced by P. Wright '50) Dark red conical but square-tipped buds open to large, double (30-40 petals) blooms of fragrant red passing to pale pink. New shoots reach 5-6' in three months. It blooms on old wood from mid-June to frost in Alberta.

WASAGAMING (Skinner '39) Double clear-rose flowers bloom recurrently on a vigorous shrub growing up to 3'. Fragrant.

WILL ALDERMAN (Skinner '54) A clear rose-pink with large, double, well-shaped and very fragrant blooms. The shrub is erect and bushy growing to 4' with intermittent bloom right up to frost.