Friday, June 23, 2017


Applejack w/ bumblebee
I'm going to describe a rose today, one that has always left me with mixed feelings.  The bumblebee sitting deep in this blossom, however, does not seem to share my ambivalence, so perhaps it is time to give this rose its proper credit and decide that it has a place in my garden.

'Applejack' was one of the first releases of Dr. Griffith Buck, bred before 1962 and introduced by the Iowa Agricultural Experiment Station in 1973.  Although Heirloom Roses nursery describes it as one of Dr. Buck's most popular roses, I fail to understand why.  It is also disconcerting that Heirloom's current online photo of Applejack is not Applejack. 

Applejack grows in my garden as a large, lax bush, with 6-8 foot long canes that drape over neighboring plants, so I can't recommend it in a small garden.  In fact, I've moved it several times myself, although I now actually have two large specimens, the second formed by regrowth from roots left behind at the last move.  And common descriptions of its blossoms, as "large 4-inch semidouble rose-pink blooms with crimson streaks" doesn't really match what I see here in Kansas.  Yes, the first blooms of the season are semi-double and have some mild streaks, but later blooms are 5-petaled and lose their streaks to the summer sun.     

Applejack individual blossoms
Another discrepancy between what I see and what some sources describe is the bloom period of this rose.  Helpmefind/ describes this rose as "blooming in flushes throughout the season," and Peter Beales says it is "very free-flowering."  Iowa State, presumably from Dr. Buck himself, described the rose as "intermittent flowering from late May to killing frost." I find that Applejack has an extremely long first bloom season (now going over 6 weeks), but I rarely have seen bloom later in the season.  And, in fact, many of the member comments about this rose on also suggest that they don't see any rebloom.  Is this rose just that variable in bloom depending on its climate or is the great, late Mr. Beales wrong about this one?  I believe that Rogue Valley Roses has it right, describing it as a first bloom of a month or more, "sometimes followed by autumn flowers."  (07/04/2017 addendum;  Well, I was wrong.  My two specimens are fully grown and both have had blooms almost continuously since early May, albeit sparse at best, but they're still there.  I guess this rose does bloom throughout the season, at least once it reaches a mature span.  The photo at the bottom is a photo of one of the bushes on 7/04/2017).

Given my current RRD issues, and the extremes of Kansas weather, I really should make myself focus on the positives of this rose.  It does indeed have a really long first bloom season, and it is extremely hardy here in Kansas and drought-resistant as well. A tough rose, I've never seen blackspot affect it, and so far, the Rose Rosette Disease has left both of my specimens unscathed.  The offspring of 'Goldbusch' and a cross of 'Josef Rothmund' X Rosa laxa, its genes are now spread throughout several lines of roses, chosen for procreation because of its extreme hardiness and disease resistance.  And, really, if the bees like it, so should I.  

And, of course, I haven't touched on the most redeeming feature of Applejack.  'Goldbusch' and 'Josef Rothmund' are both sweetbrier hybrids (R. rubiginosa), and they have passed on the sweetbrier-scented foliage to Applejack.  Walk around this rose on a rainy day, and if you don't melt from the rain yourself, you'll find the scent of green apples everywhere in its vicinity.  Despite this, however, Applejack is always planted on shaky ground in my garden.  Perhaps if I quit moving it, it will settle in and bloom more to its billing.  Or perhaps it would repeat bloom if I was mentally disturbed enough to actually want to deadhead this rose as it blooms.  I should give it more of a chance.

2017-07-04 bloom

No comments:

Post a Comment

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 And thanks again for reading!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...