Canada Agr. 22(3): 24-26. (1977)

Dr. Marshall is a rose breeder at the Agriculture Canada Research Station, Morden, Man.

Une nouvelle variété de rose, Parkand, devrait répondre à une forte demande dans les Prairies. Créée aux stations de recherche fédérales de Brandon et Morden, elle possède des caractéristiques qui lui permettent de très bien s'adapter au climat des Prairies. Sa vogue pourrait aussi s'étendre dans les autres parties du pays.

Work continues in the attempt to provide better roses for the Prairie Provinces. It now seems that Rosa arkansana Porter hybrids will go far toward filling the large void in the gardens there. These hybrids, developed at the Agriculture Canada Research Stations at Brandon and Morden, are called the Parkland roses.

Potential advantages The Parkland roses have distinct advantages over existing types for ease of culture in the Prairie Provinces. In 1976, Morden received slightly less than half of its normal precipitation and yet a bed of Parkland roses bloomed very well. Bloom quality is similar to that of Floribunda roses in a range of colors from pink to many shades of red, white, and probably also yellow. Although most Parkland roses are not fully everblooming, they repeat more freely than shrub roses. They are winter hardy to a satisfactory degree. Some killing back is usual in both the Parkland roses and in their native parent, R. arkansana, but the roots remain healthy. Regrowth from the base is rapid and new stems produce flowers in July and September.

The Parkland roses root well from greenwood cuttings under mist. It is usual for 90% of the cuttings to root and be successfully transplanted. Selection for rooting ability has been an important part of the development of these roses because no existing rootstock is satisfactory on the Prairies. Winter-killing and profuse suckering because of injury are serious problems in all rootstocks. Because the Parkland roses can be propagated on their own roots, suckering is no longer a problem. Like their wild prairie ancestor, these roses usually have seven or more leaflets. This sometimes causes concern among growers because it is a characteristic of suckers from rootstocks used for propagating Hybrid Tea and other tender roses.

There is a subgroup of the Parkland series which is fully everblooming. It was discovered only 5 years ago and the results in this short period are exciting. The plants are basically vigorous, but they expend so much energy in bloom that they are usually less than 45 cm (18 in.) in height. They bloom on seedlings or cuttings 10-20 cm (4-8 in.) high. The flowers are up to 8 cm (3 in.) in diameter and have the same color range as the main group. They have performed well as pot plants and seem to have sufficient hardiness to survive in the Prairies with little or no special protection. They can be reproduced in quantity as cultivars from small greenwood cuttings or from seed for further selection. These large-flowered, everblooming miniature roses may be the most valuable result of this breeding program when they are fully evaluated.

Morden Amorette is a free flowering miniature rose.

Developmental Problems A number of difficulties were encountered in developing the Parkland roses. The wild parent is distantly related to the cultivated roses. Crosses were successful in only a few combinations, but these were used in many further crosses. The numerous shades of color, produced by the interaction of 7-10 red, ivory and yellow pigments, was a further complication. Hardiness and disease resistance were required as well as plenty of attractive bloom. Therefore, large numbers of seedlings had to be grown for at least 3 years to find only a few with the combination of characters required in a garden rose.

Cultivar descriptions The first Parkland rose, Assiniboine, introduced in 1962, is a first generation Donald Prior x R. arkansana. It received an Award of Merit from the Western Canadian Society for Horticulture in 1965. It tip kills in most winters, but even when cut to the ground it produces purplish-red flowers freely in July and sparingly for the rest of the summer. It has not been widely accepted, possibly because the flowers have a conspicuous yellow open center and because it is susceptible to rust. It has been useful as a pollen parent in the breeding program and for bedding in sites where mechanical or winter injury is probable. The name comes from a Prairie Indian tribe.

The second Parkland rose, introduced in 1967, is Cuthbert Grant, [Crimson Glory x (Donald Prior x R. arkansana)] x Assiniboine. It also received an Award of Merit from the Western Canadian Society for Horticulture, in 1970, and was chosen as Manitoba's Centennial Rose the same year. The demand is strong. Small plants half the size of the usual commercial rose are selling at a premium. Besides being popular in the Prairie Provinces, it is gaining acceptance in other parts of Canada. While it is less hardy than Assiniboine, it survives well. Three specimens were planted in 1965 at Morden. They have never received special winter protection and in 1976 they were still in good health. Cuthbert Grant produces large, dark red, velvety semi-double blooms mainly in July and September. It is quite resistant to black spot and no other disease has been a problem. The name is that of a colorful fur trader who worked in that area which later became Manitoba.

Cuthhert Grant produces large semi-double blooms.

The third Parkland rose, introduced in 1973, is Adelaide Hoodless, Fire King x (J. W. Fargo x Assiniboine). It seems to be just as popular as Cuthbert Grant. Like others of this series, it does kill back somewhat, but produces large clusters (up to 35 blooms) of 3-in., semi-double blooms in July and September. Peonin pigment in this rose contributes to a fluorescent cardinal red, not the usual purplish red as in Assiniboine and many Rugosa hybrids. It has been very effective in bedding, but at 1 metre (3 ft plus) in height, it is taller than desired for this purpose. It starts easily from greenwood cuttings and is fertile both as a seed and pollen parent. This rose was named after the founder of the Women's Institute on the 75th Anniversary of its founding.

Two new Parkland cultivars will be released through the Canadian Ornamental Plant Foundation in 1977. Morden Ruby is a sister of Adelaide Hoodless, with double ruby red, long-lasting flowers. Its growth habit is similar to the preceding cultivars. Morden Amorette is a large-flowered, everblooming miniature with semi-double carmine flowers. It performs well as a pot plant or low-growing garden rose.

These two cultivars are expected to be on the market by 1979. In addition, there are many promising selections being evaluated in test plots.

We feel that Parkland roses are better roses for the Prairies. However, although they have been selected under Prairie conditions and have characters that are most desirable under these conditions, it is possible that some of these characters may be of value elsewhere. In northern and eastern areas there is increasing popularity of these roses. It is probable that they will be less attractive than the tender roses now being grown in favored localities, but under more severe conditions they are outstanding.