Growing roses in zone 3

georgefromvtFebruary 8, 2009

I live in Northern Vermont and want to try my luck at growing roses. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I used to grow roses in Pennsylvania but that climate is much warmer and has shorter winters. I know roses can be grown because just north of us is the Botanical Gardens of Montreal which has an incredibly large and diverse rose garden including an immense collection of hybrid tea roses. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

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Cindy Ehrenreich

Look into the Canadian Explorer Series and the Morden Series. They are all listed as hardy to Zone 3. Most of the Buck Roses are also extremely hardy and good for zones 3 & 4. The Bucks are also incredibly beautiful. I don't think that there is a Vermont Rose Society, but there is a New Hampshire Rose Society and 2 in Maine. If you contact them, they would be glad to help you determine what roses would grow in your area.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 10:18AM
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geodave(z 4 MN)

The Jardins de Botanique in Montreal take their zone sensative roses off their structures in late fall, defoliate them, spray them, tie them up, peg them down,build box-like structures for them, cover with leaves, and then with insulating fabric (like cement blankets). Rose companies replace the more modern roses they lose in winter. This is what the staff told me when I was there.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 11:22AM
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celeste(zone 4 NH)

Hi George. I live in zone 4 New Hampshire and I successfully grow over 350 roses. I grow a wide assortment of roses, some like the old garden roses which are very hardy and low-maintenance (but bloom only in June) to more finicky floribundas and hybrid teas. The thing in our climate is to not expect your modern roses (with the exception of the Explorer or Morden series or the rugosas) to be cane hardy. They will die back every winter to just a few inches in most cases. This doesn't discourage me, since once pruned they grow like gangbusters and bloom well all summer long. If you don't want to "fuss" a lot over your roses then go with the Explorer and Morden roses or the rugosas. They experience very little, if any, winter dieback. I have personally found that with the exception of 'Quietness' and 'Applejack' the Buck roses are not cane hardy here. They die back to the crown every winter, so they aren't quite as hardy as promoted. Still, they are worth trying and I have quite a few.
Some of the Kordes (Germany) roses have been surprisingly hardy here as well. If you like the David Austin roses, the ones that are the most hardy here are: Winchester Cathedral, L.D. Braithwaite, Charlotte, Golden Celebration, Bishop's Castle, Harlow Carr, Pretty Jessica, Spirit of Freedom, The Generous Gardener, Crocus Rose, Mary Rose, Redoute, and Abraham Darby.

All the Rugosas are hardy. I grow:
Therese Bugnet, Hansa, F.J. Grootendorst, Pink Grootendorst, all the Pavement series, Blanc Double de Coubert, Schneezwerg, Amelie Gravereaux, Roseraie de l'Hay, Mont Blanc, Henry Hudson, Jens Munk, etc. You can't go wrong with rugosas.
The only one that wasn't very hardy was Topaz Jewel (yellow).

These roses are bullet-proof for winter-hardiness:
Champlain, Quietness, Stanwell Perpetual, Prairie Joy,
John Cabot, John Davis, William Baffin, Frontenac, Morden Blush, Morden Ruby, Morden Fireglow, Morden Sunrise, Morden Centennial, Morden Snowbeauty, Winnipeg Parks, Cuthbert Grant, John Franklin, Alexander Mackenzie, Adelaide Hoodless, Henry Kelsey, Hope for Humanity, J.P. Connell, Martin Frobisher, Applejack, Cape Diamond, George Vancouver, Louis Jolliet, Marie Victorin, Prairie Dawn.

And of course, there's the OGR's....Gallicas, Albas, Mosses, Damasks....they receive no winter-protection here and are hardy.

I have been to the Montreal Botanical Garden at least a dozen times and it never fails to excite me. That place is like the Garden of Eden to me! Sooooo beautiful. Just keep in mind that they use special covers to put over their hybrid teas and tender roses for the winter. They
don't leave them exposed. If you wish to grow hybrid teas then you will have to mulch them VERY well and then expect that even then you will only have a few inches of good cane left come spring. Just make sure if you buy grafted roses that you bury the graft down about 3-4 inches so its protected.
Good luck, and if you have any more questions I would be happy to help.


    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 11:26AM
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Thanks for the wonderful advice everyone. I grew Hybrid Teas in Pennsylvania and virtually never lost any roses to cold, of course I mulched them heavily in the fall. I wasn't aware that Montreal Botanical Garden took such measures and effort to protect them. It makes me appreciate them even more!!!! Thanks for all your help and I'll keep you posted on how it turns out.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 11:52AM
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I have posted extensively about my "wintering in the ditch" success in 07-08. Doing a search on "sunnysideuphill" would probably bring up the details. In summary - about 15 years ago a drainage ditch was cut on the slope above my house, curving down several hundred yards behind the barn. At the high end, it is nearly waist high on me (5'4"_. I plunked in the pots, covered with leaves, waited for snow (it came) and resurrected perfectly healthy roses in spring.
This year there are fifteen in there. And I have more than ten new roses on order....

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 12:20PM
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rugosa roses are best suited for extremely cold climates. Rubra, alba, roseraie de l'hay, dagmar haartrup and scabrosa are very reblooming and disease-free. They are just carefree beauties (and become quite large)

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 4:24PM
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sc_gardener(zone 5)

You need rugosas. Seriously easy roses. I have one other rose: winnipeg parks which is a really good one. A canadian rose.No scent though.

Many rugosas have really nice scent and hips. The good ones for rebloom I have are: wildberry breeze and wild spice, both from jackson & perkins I think? Really nice plants. I also have hansa, and polareis, and there is a pink variety of that: polarsonne, available from pickering nurseries. Polareis has nice dark green foliage. I recommend it. It will take up some serious real estate though.

Seriously, many of the david austin english roses are hardy here. We just had a 20 below F winter spell and the generous gardener has almost NO tip damage on the canes. Seriously hardy rose. The others not as hardy and they will get tip dieback. But the thing about some varieties of roses, even though the canes are not hardy, if they are vigorous enough, the canes will get to great lengths in a short time.

Try the buck roses. They do this. There is a large variety of those available own root though chamblees nursery. They are more your typical rose rather than the shrubby rugosas if that is what you want. I have had spotty luck with those though as far as disease resistance. They are vigorous though.

And antiques which bloom once: gallicas and albas are pretty hardy.

Good luck!!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 11:47PM
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My advice would be to try one of everything. I can't grow rugosas for some reason, but I have no problem with hybrid teas. I've got a large second year gallica that I really love so don't be afraid of once bloomers. The only caution would be that you have to be careful of climbers. A climbing roses that dies to the ground won't do much to cover a trellis. The Canadian Explorer roses are very hardy and work well as climbers. I have Quadra and John Cabot myself.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 7:04PM
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canadian_rose(zone 3a)

Celeste - I loved your list of roses!!! That was very helpful!

George - These are roses that I have grown in zone 3.

Winter protected

About Face - overwintered well and grows tall and thin.
L.D. Braithwaite - had about 3 feet of green cane! 3X3 bush
Honey Perfume - had about 1 foot of green cane
Liebezsauber - same as Honey Perfume - lovely large red flowers.
A Shropshire Lad - 3 feet of green cane. Gets tall!
Chrysler Imperial - died to the ground, grew to only 1 1/2 feet. The blooms were large - nice rose!
Gertrude Jekyll - blech, hardly bloomed.
Golden Celebration - about 6 inches of green cane. Grew 3X3
Mary Rose - grew only to about 1 X 1 feet.
Cherry Parfait - grew to about 2 X 2 lots of bloom, but the color of the rose against the leaves always bothered me.
Black Cherry - grew to about 1 1/2 X 1 1/2
Tournament of roses - same as BC
Brother Cadfael - about 6 inches of green cane - 3X3 bush
Elizabeth Taylor - 6 inches - grew 3 X 3
Julia Child - bloom machine - only grew to 1X1

My favorites were
- Elizabeth Taylor - wow!!
- L.D. Braithwaite - wow!!
- Golden Celebration
- Honey Perfume
- A shropshire Lad
- Black Cherry - lots of flowers, small bush
- Tournament of Roses - same as above

Brother Cadfael would have been fantastic if the blooms ever opened properly - that rose frustrated me!

Not protected

- Morden Blush - love, love this rose
- John Cabot - same!
- Morden Centennial - wow!! what a bloomer!
- Blanc Double de Coubert - took about 4 years of blah, then WOW - never out of bloom, a real presence in the garden.
- Henry Hudson - never got higher than 1/2 foot. - blech.
- Therese Bugnet - extremely fragrant, but when I lived in Fort McMurray - zone 2, every time a flush came, the wind came too. All of the petals blew away in a day. Another rose that frustrated me!

Hope that helps!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 1:31PM
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