One of the first Griffith Buck roses I ever grew, and still one of my most cherished roses, is 'Prairie Harvest'. I've mentioned her before in this blog, but she deserves her own little moment alone in the spotlight. In fact, for Midwestern gardeners who seek out the Buck roses, 'Prairie Harvest' is a "must have" rose. Hardy yellow roses are difficult enough to find for Northern climates, let alone hardy yellow roses that are also ironclad healthy. 'Prairie Harvest' is one of my healthiest roses and the light green, glossy foliage is a nice contrast with that of the Rugosa clan. I never spray fungicide on this one and the perfect foliage holds on through August with minimal leaf loss, little blackspot, and no mildew.
A young, two year old 'Prairie Harvest'
Although the foliage IS spectacular, 'Prairie Harvest' is my favorite of all the Buck roses because of the blooms. Unlike many of the Buck-bred roses, these hybrid-tea style, 4 inch blooms hold their form well, not quickly opening flat or showing their centers as many of the Buck's are prone to do. The rose is fully double with 40-45 petals, and quick to repeat, with continuous single flowers and floribunda-type sprays throughout the summer and fall. But it is the soft-yellow color, more potent in the center and fading to white on the edges and as it ages, that makes this rose stand out for me. The yellow-white blend of the newer acclaimed floribunda 'White Licorice' reminds me of this rose. The color mixes well in the garden, not like the gaudy pink of 'Earthsong'. It also has a nicer, neater bush form than 'Carefree Beauty' (one of its parents), and it is just as healthy and hardy here in my Flint Hills garden as either of these other well-regarded Buck roses, solidly cane-hardy in my Zone-5 garden. In fact, the overall form of this rose is far better than most modern hybrid teas, with a nice vase-like four foot tall by three foot wide shape at maturity.
Prairie Harvest was released in 1985 and is officially classified as a shrub, although I would have said it is closer to the Grandiflora clan in its overall form. The Iowa State University website on the Buck roses describes it as "barium yellow," whatever that is. To me, this rose is honey-yellow, fading at the edges to white, and in cold weather it may have just a touch of blush pink at the edges. The fragrance is moderate and sweet, described as "fruity" by some with noses who are undoubtedly more discerning than mine. Both the yellow center and the fragrance undoubtedly are from 'Sunsprite', a Gamble Fragrance Award winner and the second parent of 'Prairie Harvest', but in my garden, as much as I love bright 'Sunsprite', 'Prairie Harvest' is by far the healthier and hardier of the two.
'Prairie Harvest' with a little Fall blush
I'm sorry to finally write this post, because I know it'll send half the rosarians reading it into a frantic search for a source for this rose, but sometimes, just sometimes, everyone needs a little nudge towards perfection.