Saturday, March 12, 2011

Prairie Joy

I believe that one of the most under-utilized roses for Midwestern and Northern climates must be "Prairie Joy," the bright pink, double shrub rose introduced in 1990 ('Prairie Princess' X 'Morden Cardinette') from  the Morden Research Center in Manitoba Canada.  Although many sources list it as being in the Parkland series, the Ag Canada publication Winter-Hardy Roses (2000) lists it as belonging to the "Other" series and states it was the first hedge rose released from Morden. I obtained it over a decade ago from a source I've since forgotten and I've only seen it growing in my own garden.  And I'm tellin' ya that y'all don't know wat'cher missing, y'hear?

'Prairie Joy', 1st bloom cycle
She's taller in my Flint Hill's garden than her reputation, growing in a nice vase-like shape for me about 6 feet tall by 4 foot wide with tall, strong single canes. She's listed at being about 3-4 feet tall by 4 feet wide by Ag Canada, so the hot Kansas summers seem to benefit her growth.  Ag Canada also states that her general form is "round," but she is definitely a dense vase for me. What Ag Canada got correct for Kansas was the arching nature of the bush: she sprawls over her neighbors unless you tie her up.  My tendency has been to tie the long canes together in Winter so they don't whip themselves to death. I let her sprawl a bit early in Spring so that more flower buds are produced along the canes, and  then I tie her back up in the middle just before flowering to tidy up for flowering.  And what a show she gives.  This is a rose that blooms in repeated cycles for me, with later cycles of bloom almost as prolific as the year's first.   In the interest of full disclosure, Ag Canada, in a colder climate, lists 'Prairie Joy' as having a good first flush with only sporadic later blooms. You can see proof that I at least get a good flush of repeat bloom as the daylilies bloom in July in the picture below.

'Prairie Joy', 2nd bloom cycle
'Prairie Joy' is pretty thorny, and as I said, she likes to bend over and grab passersby, so you'll want to tie her up if she's near a walkway to make her behave.  The luminous medium pink color blends well with most other hues except the purplish-pink rugosas, and the color fades slowly to light pink.  She blooms in clusters of 1-6 and the blooms average 40 petals.  After a bloom flush, the petals fall so clean from the bush that you'll think there has been a wedding in the area.  'Prairie Joy' has dark green leaves that are very resistant to powdery mildew and blackspot.  I never spray her and the leaves stay on in the heat of the summer clear to the bottom of the bush.  She is very winter-hardy as well; Zone 3 according to most sources, but Zone 2 according to Ag Canada.  Another plus for this bush is that there has been absolutely no suckering or spread beyond her nice vaselike form.  Her fragrance, to my nose, is mild and sweet.

So, my fellow rosarians, you may not live on the prairie, but take a chance on 'Prairie Joy'.  She is not only good for cold winter nights, she can bring you joy in the hot summer sun as well.

1 comment:

  1. I live in Edmonton, Alberta and I loves me Prairie Joy! I have her centre stage surrounded by lower more compact roses. She really is a joy. I have found the blooming is a little less in her 2nd bloom, but still pretty darn good!


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