I present to you this morning a rose that I allowed a prime space in my beds, but one that has never been quite satisfying enough for me. Somewhat rare, I obtained the Canadian rose 'Morden Sunrise' in 2002, just a few years after its 1999 introduction by the Morden Experimental Station.
'Morden Sunrise' is a somewhat-yellow flowered Parkland Rose. Actually, the official description of "yellow flowered" is pityingly inadequate to describe the colors of this rose, and it is the marvelous color of this rose that makes it worthwhile to keep. In my garden, the blooms vary in all colors of orange and yellow, with an occasional pink blush thrown in. The orange and pink seem to predominate during cooler spring weather, with yellow more prevalent in the summer doldrums. The bloom form is uninspiring to me, semidouble, with only 8 petals, produced in clusters of 4-8, and it is mildly fragrant, but the delicate nature of the blooms makes it up.
'Morden Sunrise' stands as a specimen plant in my front landscaping, but, although her bloom is pleasant, it has not quite provided the spectacular show I had hoped for. My main knock against this rose is that it seems to lack a certain amount of vigor. I nursed it for several years, expecting it to either die or get over whatever was holding it back, but its basic nature is unchanged even though this year is the healthiest I've yet seen the rose. It just doesn't do a lot of growing during the season, nor does it bloom so profusely that it will just "wow" the gardener.
'Morden Sunrise' is reportedly hardy to zone 3, but she occasionally has a little tip dieback here in Zone 5b. The bush has a vase-like shape and erect stems to about 2.5 feet in my climate. The foliage is shiny, dark green and very resistant to blackspot and mildew and she doesn't need sprayed. It was a complex cross of Rosa arkansana, 'Assiniboine', 'Sunsprite', 'White Bouquet', 'Fire King', and 'Prairie Princess', so maybe the problem is that all that heritage was just a little too mixed up.
Anyway, for those rosarians out there who have been thinking of giving her a try, if you like the blooms of 'Westerland' and 'Alchymist', then 'Morden Sunrise' is worth a spot in your garden. But if you want a rose to draw visitors from the street, she probably won't pull in the bystanders, however beautiful she is.