When my wife, Mary, and I operated our greenhouse business 30 years ago, hybrid tea roses were the rage. Their picture-perfect, heavenly perfumed blooms in rich colors rivaled florist’s long-stemmed roses. Growing roses was a fine art, and the more you fertilized and fussed, the more spectacular they grew. Successful rose growers were held in high esteem.
There was only one problem – they weren’t winter-hardy for most of the Upper Midwest and would die quicker than you can hum “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden.” Covering in the fall and uncovering each spring was a must-do ritual.
There were hardy shrub roses, old varieties with names like Hansa, F.J. Grootendorst and Rugosa. They were truly vigorous, winter-hardy shrubs, but the flowers were not hybrid tea quality. Flower shapes were flatter and more open-centered.
Then the wonderful Canadian rose breeders introduced series after series of winter-hardy shrub roses like the Morden series (Morden Centennial, Morden Blush, etc.), The Canadian Artist series (Felix Leclerc, Emily Carr, Campfire, etc.), and the Canadian Explorer series (William Baffin, Henry Kelsey, John Cabot, etc.) Plus newer varieties like Never Alone and Hope For Humanity. These hardy roses survive winter quite reliably into Zone 3. Flower shape and quality were improvements over older shrub types, but still not hybrid tea equivalents. In bud, they are beautiful, and open usually into a flatter, more open flower form. Flowers on most types tend to be in clusters rather than single stems, making them difficult to cut for florist-type roses. Fragrance is slight. These are all wonderful roses, and are well worth increased planting. But for someone searching for hybrid tea flower quality, they aren’t quite there.
Finally, out of the Canadian rose breeding efforts comes a rose that’s described as a hybrid tea flower on a hardy shrub rose. It was developed by crossing a hybrid tea rose with a hardy shrub type. It’s name? Canada Blooms Rose, and it’s my new favorite of the hardy Canadian shrub roses. It was first introduced in 2014, and has made its way into retail garden centers the past several seasons.
What makes Canada Blooms Rose so special?
- The pink blended flowers are large, averaging 3 inches in diameter.
- Each blossom is exceptionally full, with between 40 and 60 petals per rose, which is a lot.
- The flower shape exhibits hybrid tea, florist-type quality.
- Flowers are born singly on long stems, rather than in clusters with short stems. Single blooms make it ideal for cutflower bouquets.
- Fragrance is nicely perfumed with a strong rose scent.
- Growth habit is upright rounded oval, between 28 and 36 inches high and 24 to 30 inches wide.
- Foliage is disease resistant.
- Winter hardiness has been rated as Zone 4a into Zone 3b, which includes all but the northern tier of North Dakota and Minnesota.
- It’s being produced on its own root, rather than grafting, so even in an exposed, extreme winter, it should grow back reliably from the base. Plant it deeply so the crown is about 3 inches below soil surface. (Note: Although it’s been well-tested in Canada, because this is a relatively new rose for our area, I’m going to mound some wood chips up around the base the first year. If wood chips are used in the planting, it’s easy to scoop them up around the base in late fall, and then level off in the spring for a little extra insurance.)
Mary and I are so excited about this rose that we bought and planted six of them this summer. They’ve bloomed beautifully since planting and have lived up to their description. Now we’ll see if they live up to their winter-hardiness reports.