Sunday, March 27, 2011

Adelaide HoodWho?

As an accomplished botanical serial killer, I would truthfully state that there are few roses of which I am able to say that I only purchased once and still have a surviving specimen to display.  One of those tough, against-all-odds roses however, is the bright red Canadian shrub rose 'Adelaide Hoodless'. 

'Adelaide Hoodless'
'Adelaide Hoodless' is a 1973 introduction from the Parkland Series of AgCanada, bred by Henry Marshall in the Morden Research Station of southern Manitoba (floribunda 'Fire King' X seedling of 'J.W.Fargo' and 'Assiniboine') . She was named to honor the esteemed 19th century founder of the Women's Institute, now an International Organization dedicated to providing women with educational opportunities.  I first purchased her way back in the early 1990 or 1991 as I first "got into" roses, and I placed her as the backdrop to some moisture-stealing junipers in an elevated front planter with a straight southern exposure at our first home.  There, in that arid, crowded, hot environment, with a brick wall as a backdrop and tended by a neophyte gardener, she defied the odds through summer after summer and winter after winter, blooming her little top right off for several weeks each summer.

When we moved to the prairie, I moved a rooted portion of my own-root 'Adelaide Hoodless' out to the site of my first rose experimental bed (now abandoned) where she continues to survive unaided amidst the taller prairie grass and ice storms and prairie fires, but I have also propagated other plants from that one and the original rose now has not one, but two cloned grandchildren in protected positions in my shrub rose beds.   This rose is a true survivor in Kansas, with no winter dieback seen in any winter of my 20 years here.

'Adelaide Hoodless' is a good rose, but I don't think I would say she has been a great rose for me.  She's listed on some websites as "deep pink," but while I can see the pink tints, I would list this rose closer to bright red, especially at a distance. She has a stupendous first display of  those red, semi-double, 3 inch blooms borne in large clusters, but despite her rumored continual bloom through summer and fall, I have found her to have a long first season, covered for over a month with flowers, but  then only sporadic repeat throughout the rest of the year.  Her semi-double form opens quickly and a little flat for my taste, but the open form allows her to display lots of yellow stamens, and the blooms then stay on the bush in good form for a long time.  She grows to about the 4-5 foot range, with a round form that is more reminiscent of a floribunda than a shrub, and I can confirm her complete hardiness in Zone 5, probably not surprising anyone who knows that this rose should be good to Zone 2.  'Adelaide Hoodless' is supposed to have a number of hips in winter, but I've found the hips small and uninspiring.  She has a mild fragrance, and is generally a healthy bush, although she's prone to a little blackspot in the summer, dropping her pantaloons a bit if I don't keep a close eye on her. I do spray this rose in an occasional bad summer, and I use her as an indicator that it is time to spray other black-spot susceptible varieties, but I don't want to mislead anyone into thinking she is a blackspot magnet to the degree of a Hybrid Tea. 

So why, you might ask, do I still grow this rose of minor fragrance, unspectacular bloom form and repeat, small hips, and occasional fungal disfigurement?  To put it most simply, I strongly admire any plant that I haven't been able to kill at least once.  The vigor of this rose is simply unsurpassable.  I saw it yesterday in bagged form at Home Depot and even there, I found myself admiring that in those prematurely-budding decrepit bags, 'Adelaide Hoodless' looked much healthier and had more new buds growing than any of the other varieties offered.  If you need a bright red rose of better shrub form than Knockout, but with most of the other drawbacks of Knockout, then this is a shrub rose for you.


  1. I love all the information you shared about this precious rose! Thank you! Hope you are having a fantastic weekend! xoxo, tracie

  2. There's a lot to be said for a plant that won't die.


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