Saturday, August 21, 2010

Carefree Perfection

Readers of this blog already know that I'm partial to many of the roses bred by the late Griffith Buck.  It's a sure thing that Professor Buck created a number of marvelous and hardy roses specifically for the Midwest climate, but many of them remain unknown to rosarians in other areas where roses grow easily and large.

The most well-known and best of these roses has to be the aptly named 'Carefree Beauty'.  Here in the Flint Hills, 'Carefree Beauty' also has to be in the running for the title of Most Perfect Rose.  This clear pink stunner blooms continually and it's resistant to blackspot, drought, and wind.  It's so resistant to blackspot that in a survey by the Montreal Botanical Garden it was found to have only a 0-5% infection rate. The only time I've ever seen 'Carefree Beauty' look under the weather was during the ice storm of three winters ago, when a one-half inch coating of ice broke off several canes and generally made a ragged mess of one of my two specimens. 

'Carefree Beauty' grows about 4 feet tall in my garden and it's a rose that is not prone to send out new canes, but often has a central "stalk" that just widens and spreads over time.  I've rarely seen it without a bloom and the early bloom, as in the picture at the left, will knock your socks off.  Rated hardy to Zone 4b, it is completely hardy with no die-back in my Zone 5 garden.  It even adds winter interest with a nice display of globular orange hips.

'Carefree Beauty', released in 1977, has received its accolades from many sources.  This shrub rose was one of the first named to the Texas A&M EarthKind program ( and long before that recognition it was a popular rose propagated by the Texas Rose Rustlers with the study name 'Katy Road Pink'.  It's also been recommended by the University of Minnesota and as a solidly hardy rose and it was one of 24 roses that "passed the test" in Longwood Garden's Ten-Year Rose Trials (  'Carefree Beauty' is truly a rose for any garden and any gardener.


  1. Katy Road was one of the first roses I grew, after I read Mike Shoup's Landscaping with Antique Roses. I later found out it was one of the Buck roses. It truly was a great rose for me; continual bloom, no disease. Gean

  2. Your photo of this rose is lovely!! It's always amazing to me how differently roses perform in various areas of the country. Here in my Virginia garden, Carefree Beauty is not nearly as nice as it is elsewhere. It's a lanky, awkward grower, with odd flowers, few leaves, and I have decided that it is not worth the prime real estate it occupies for me to put up with it anymore. I don't know if I'll move it or give it away ... I just know it's not staying where it is.

  3. Gean, Hartwood,interesting how this rose and other plants vary so much across the US. I was just reading last night how corn gluten may not work as it should outside of the Midwest where it was developed.


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