Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Oh Canada!

I'm not a hockey fan and I don't remember recalling that "eh?" was on my high school English teacher's list of good grammer phrases, but I do thank God for the poor frostbitten Canadian gardener who initiated the AgCanada program for breeding hardy roses.

'Hope for Humanity'
Over the past couple of decades, the Canadians have introduced approximately 37 rose cultivars bred to survive the harsh winters alongside our Northern cousins. These roses were released in two named series. The Parkland Series roses, which tend to be small shrubs with modern coloring characteristics, were bred in Manitoba at the Morden experimental station. The Explorer Series, bred in Ottawa, Ontario and trialed there and at the l'Assomption, Quebec locations, were named after famous Canadian explorers and they tend to be larger shrubs and climbers. I'm currently growing 19 Canadian roses here in the Kansas Flint Hills. Look on the accompanying pictures of dark red 'Hope for Humanity', on the overwhelming first display of bright red 'Champlain', and on the delicate yellow-pink glow that is the beauty of 'Morden Sunrise'. Why wouldn't anyone want to grow these babies?

'Morden Sunrise'
Imagine, you zone 2, 3, 4, or 5 gardeners, not having to use any winter protection to ensure the survival of your roses. Imagine climbing roses in Zone 4 or below who can reach the top of an arbor and whose long canes survive to bloom in the spring. And imagine roses that have been bred to be blackspot resistent as well, because that was part of the goal of the Ag Canada roses program. They even produced a chart listing the number of weeks that each cultivar bloomed during the summer. 'Champlain' and 'John Franklin' are absolute continuous bloomers!

Over time, I'll focus a blog or two on more of these striking introductions. Unfortunately these government-sponsored breeding programs have been discontinued and won't be releasing new roses, but in the meantime, 'Hope for Humanity' can give us all a little hope that other varieties from other breeding programs will be coming down the pike to brighten our gardens.



  1. I AM a hockey fan ... and a fan of the Canadian roses. 'John Davis' is beautiful, and 'William Baffin' stops traffic while in bloom.

  2. Agreed on both; I have both at home and both are now in the KSU rose garden, although John Davis in the KSU garden is still in its first year and has one cane about two feet tall. I think John Davis makes one of the best pillar roses I've grown.

  3. Gorgeous! Love those roses.
    I have a huge, sprawling floribunda called "Flower Girl." Every branch is a full bouquet of soft pink with yellow centers. She has full use of an entire corner of my garden where she's free to spread her branches upwards to about 6 feet and also to sort of lounge across the garden fence - they bring us such joy, don't they?:)

  4. I grew up a few miles from the Morden Nursaries, and I agree, it's a shame the the gov't cancelled the breeding program there. Now we look to the University of Saskatchewan (see http://antiqueroseemporium.com/groups/all) for new cultivars. In winter here it stays around -30C for months, and gets as low as -40 on occasion. I planted a few of these antique rose hybrids, (and then neglected them because I am not a gardener), but they come back bigger and fuller every year. I have four varieties from them: "Carlos Red", "Carlos Double Red", "Mrs. Anthony Waterer", and "Madeline's Choice" with a long blooming season. Most of these are not available anymore.

    In the past I've ordered "Betty Will" and "Beauty of Leafland" - but because they sell out fast, I never received those.

  5. Oh, I'm so delighted to discover your blog.
    I have a friend who is not a gardener but wants a rose.
    Therefore, I would think a disease and blackspot resistant would suit her.
    Now, it has to look like a tea rose. All folded up and tight, not laying open.
    And it has to be red. Not blue Red. True red.
    And fragrant. Oh, and no more than 2 1/2 ' tall.
    But other than that she's not fussy.
    So, I'm looking at "Lilli Marlene' but it may be too wild looking.
    I looked at 'Showbiz' but it may be too orange.

    What about 'Hope for Humanity'? Do you have any experience with it?

    Many thanks,

    1. Hmm...Red, Tea type rose bud, disease resistant, fragrant, 2.5'Tall. 'Hope for Humanity' is deep bright red, but taller than you want, not very fragrant, and maybe not Hybrid Tea enough in form. I've never grow 'Lilli Marlene', so can't speak to it. What area, Zonewise, do you live in? If you're far north, I might suggest 'Cuthbert Grant', which will be taller but will have all the other attributes you want. If you're Zone 4 or higher, I'd suggest 'Bright Melody' for a bright red, or 'Queen Bee', for a darker red.

    2. BTW Aurora, I can't reply directly to you because your Blogger profile is not set to allow them...it gives me a "noreply@blogger.com" adddress.


Thank you for your interest in my blog. I like to meet friends via my blog, so I try to respond if you comment from a valid email address rather than the anonymous noresponse@blogger.com. And thanks again for reading!


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