In choosing a rose for my not-quite-weekly focus, I had several refined and delicate roses in mind earlier this week, but at the last minute, I thought "Hey, it's time I displayed 'Rugelda'." And indeed, it is time and perhaps past time.
I've alluded to this somewhat little-known rose before in other posts, but I've never fully expressed my admiration of it. 'Rugelda', or 'KORruge', is a hybrid rugosa bred by the great rose breeding family W. Kordes and Sons in 1989. While not known well in the United States, she perhaps has more recognition in Europe and she won an award of Anerkannte Deutche Rose (Anerkannte means "Recognized") in 1992, A cross of 'Bonanza' (a yellow and red blend 1983 shrub by Kordes) and bright red 'Robusta' (a 1979 rugosa hybrid by Kordes), 'Rugelda' really doesn't exhibit the textured leaves of the rugosas, but I've always felt that it has some of the nicest glossiest mid-green foliage of all the roses I grow (next to 'Prairie Harvest'). That perfect disease-free foliage has been described as "holly-like" and it certainly has a bit of that look and indestructibility to it.
'Rugelda' is a double, bright yellow rose made unique by the unusual pink edges of the petals. She fades to a more graceful lighter yellow and open form as she ages. Cane hardy to at least Zone 5b by personal experience and, according to one website, perhaps into Zone 3, I've got two 'Rugelda's' that have survived now upwards of 10 years without winter protection or spraying. 'Rugelda' is trying to be a climber and annually puts out strong, lean canes up to 6 feet tall. She is one of the roses that I cut back to about 4 feet each fall so that the long canes don't whip about in the Kansas wind. Sge is also one of the roses I am most wary about being around; the thorns are wicked, much like the 'Robusta' parent, and really reach out to grab idle bystanders. Fragrance is moderate in my garden, but reports on the Internet range from little fragrance to very fragrant.
If 'Rugelda' has a unique feature that sets it apart, however, it has to be the perfect hybrid-tea-like form of the buds in contrast to the normal blowsy open form of other Rugosa's. That beautiful red/yellow coloring of those buds does not hurt them either. Take a good long look. Don't you want one in your garden?