disappointed with viking queen..looking for alternatives

lizruork(z5 toronto)February 8, 2008

hihi in 2005 i purchased viking queen from pickering nurseries and planted it on my south facing wall alongside clematis will goodwin, a very successful daphne, several species anemones, peonies, iris and nicotiana .....i saw VQ very widely recommended but i havent been too happy....

i really wanted something fragrant in this very tiny front garden and despite its billing as fragrant i havent found it to be noticeably so....also the blooms in spring are a very blowsy on spindly stems and they tend to flop forward and look down rather than out...and the colour is a rather dull uniform pink....in the fall the repeat blooms tend to have a stronger tea shape and crisper colour and have sturdier suppport....but all in all not the character plant i looked for....

so now i am up for suggestions>>>

the wall is white and garden now contains blues lavenders whites and pinks .want a good repeater with some real size...and some real fragrance...this is an excellent sheltered site....there is a good wire trellis support on the wall and room to go up 20 feet....the soil is supporting daphnes and clematis equally well....the spot is dry and sunny but air circulation may not be the very best due to density of plantings and iron trellis work

some roses under consideration

climbing cecile brunner

zehirine drouhin

gloire de dijon

ilse krohn

white cap

mme isaac pereire

mme alfred carriere

cl. ophelia

any and all opinions adn suggestions very welcome

thank you

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karl_bapst_rosenut(5a, NW Indiana)

Wait until it blooms this year before you make a final decision. Climbers often take a couple of years before they perform as expected.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 5:13PM
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I've been growing Mme Isaac Pereire for two years, hard to say what it's ultimate size will be. In my garden it might be 4-5 feet. I don't think it will reach climber height, but it might get taller in your garden.

Fragrance is awesome, smells like fresh raspberries, very fragrant.

I grow Ophelia, the bush form, and it has very strong sweet fragrance as well.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 5:14PM
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kathwhit(z8, West OR)

You will probably be disappointed with the repeat on ZD, but the scent is absolutely the strongest. The blooms are loose and pepto bismal pink. It is practically thornless and will grow 20 ft. without a problem. I love it, but I don't know if it will fit your needs.

How about an Austin climber. Many of them have great scent and repeat. Abraham Darby comes to mind.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 5:43PM
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the_morden_man((Z4-Z5) Ontario, Canada)

Hello Liz,

Your garden sounds like a very pretty blend of plants and colours. I really like the Clematis Will Goodwin and have one growing on either side of my John Davis climber.

Anyway, it is not easy to find an exceptionally fragrant climber that reblooms well and is cane hardy in zone 5. For instance, most of the Explorer climbers which are completely cane hardy in zone 5, are not fragrant to any significant degree.

I see that you mention that this wall and area is rather sheltered and is south facing. This likely makes the micro-climate in the area a full zone higher than what you are normally. You can get away with quite a bit growing borderline roses and plants against sheltered south walls. However, a harsh winter will still wreak havoc with cane winterkill on a borderline hardy rose, so be prepared for this.

I like your combination of blues and pinks and since the wall of your house is white, I would think you'd want a colour that is bright and will stand out against the white backdrop while also blending nicely with the blues and pinks. My first instinct in colour would be to go with a dark red rose in a situation like this and to avoid light pale pinks and white roses altogether, as these will just be washed out into the colour of the wall and will not stand out from any distance.

Here are a few suggestions and comments:

Don Juan- Dark velvety red. An outstanding and very powerful fragrance. However, not cane hardy in zone 5, but borderline cane hardy in zone 6. It is however, a very vigorous rose that will bounce back from winter kill well. Grows thick canes that grow very upright and can reach 10 to 12' by end of season once mature. Repeat flowers well in good flushes. Can be prone to BS, but has good resistance to mildew.

Illusion- Another dark red. Fragrance is not overpowering, but is detectable and sweet. A Kordesii climber and has good cane hardiness in zone 5. I suspect it will suffer little to no dieback against a south wall in all but the most severe winters. Blooms almost continuously once established. Very, very disease resistant. One of the best red climbers ever produced and very underrated.

Westerland- A bright blend of mostly orange with highlights of pink and yellow. Super vigorous and grows super upright. It is also super thorny. It repeat blooms well and can easily grow 10' by the end of its first season in a sheltered location. Be careful with feeding too much nitrogen with this rose or it will produce growth at the expense of blooms. Cane hardiness is good for zone 6, poor for zone 5. Disease resistance is pretty good, but BS is more of a problem than mildew. The colour definately makes an impact and the fragrance, while not overpowering, is strong and sweet.

Lemon Meringue- A yellow blooming sport of Westerland. Slightly less vigorous it seems, but otherwise identical in most respects.

Laguna- I have never grown it, so this is second hand info, but it comes highly recommended by Palatine Roses. It is a bright, deep pink almost light purple red coloured climbing rose. Blooms heavily, repeats well and is very fragrant. Decent hardiness in zone 5, but will dieback to varying degrees pending severity of winter. Supposedly very resistant to both mildew and BS.

Morgengruss (Morning Greeting)- A Kordesii large shrub/climber like Illusion. Blooms are mostly pink with highlights of orange, cream and yellow. Good, but not overpowering fragrance. Super vigorous and will produce a lot of thorny canes. Likes to grow as wide as it does tall, so needs pruning and training to make it a proper climber. Exceptional disease resistance. Does not bloom much in 1st year as it prefers growth. Blooms better in 2nd year and repeats okay, but really struts its stuff in year 3 and beyond and repeats well once established.

Rosarium Uetersen- Just a stunning dark pink climber with good, but not strong fragrance. The blooms age beautifully and become a silver pink on the edges of the petals which adds to the effect. Has good cane hardiness in zone 5, almost bullet-proof disease resistance and the spring flush is a sight to behold on an established plant. It repeats well, but not as heavily as the initial flush.

If you are set on pale pink in this location, then take a look at New Dawn and its sport, Awakening. They will fit what you are looking for as they grow huge, have good fragrance, are hardy, disease resistant and bloom well.

Best of luck.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 11:31PM
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The Morden Man said it all but forgot Autumn Sunset, an Apricot sport of Westerland. I grow both but my Autumn Sunset smells better and blooms a little more than Westerland They might get winterkilled to 1 foot tall some years but by the end of summer, they are 8' tall.
Another one to consider is Golden Celebration. Fairly hardy with excellent fragrance and repeat. I woudn't recommend Abe Darby, because a high percentage of the blooms are downfacing.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 1:16AM
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lizruork(z5 toronto)

hihi thanks for all the quick feedback...this area in downtown toronto, and my front garden for sure, would be at least a 6a

i should have mentionned the garden also has 2 new dawns being trained to cover the black porch and gaspipes and they smell of absolutely nothing LOL...

morgen gruss was one i originally was going to try but pickering suggested viking dawn over it in so far as hardiness...oh well

i have grown illusion here in toronto before, as well as dublin bay... but i was hoping to go more towards quite bright pink to lavender magenta tones and not towards reds unless they are quite violet to purple....i know i know i am quite rigid not to say obsessive about colour schemes....

i have found laguna at hortico and am thinking about it
but Rosarium Uetersen also sounds like a real possibility though i hate to give up on the possibility of a good strong scent...

i guess zephirine drouhin is out of the qustion in this climate???? i have seen it listed as zone 5 + on Roses
and everything rose & gardening related but maybe i am dreaming


someone mentionned david austin roses but i am not sure what would make a substantial medium to dark pink climber that repeats???? the dream repeating constance spry LOL

abraham darby is lovely, but like some other suggestion veers more towards the apricot blush spectrum .. my neighbour has compassion but i was dreaming (again ) of a big sprawling rose (new dawn size)....

meanwhile is anyone familiar with lavender lassie
thanks all

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 7:30AM
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I grow Lavender Lassie, and I don't think it will get to climber size in my garden setting. It does have lovely fragrance. The blooms have a pastel color quality to them.

You have email.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 8:43AM
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opheliathornvt zone 5

I grow Lavender Lassie in zone 5, and it only gets about 5' tall for me. It is fragrant, though.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 9:45AM
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predfern(z5 Chicago)

If you are considering Austins, try Graham Thomas. It dies back in the winter but bounces back in the spring with long canes. Oldheirloomroses has some hardy climber recommendations including Aloha and Prairie Princess (Buck). Anyone in zone 5 grow Polka?

Here is a link that might be useful: Hardy Climbers

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 11:58PM
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AnneCecilia z5 MI

Predfern, I had to go to the site you linked just to see what this use of Prairie Princess as a climber was all about, since this is about the 3rd mention I've read about it recently on these forums. I can hardly believe that Old Heirloom Roses claim it will achieve 10' and remain hardy in zone 4! I've had mine for 5 years, was told by Great Lakes Roses when I bought it that it would achieve a 5 to 6' height and it has never gotten taller than 5', usually more around 4' after the usual significant winter kill to the canes (even after one or two zone 5-like winters.) I wouldn't ever have dreamed of calling this one a climber and I wonder if they have a sport? Puzzling to me indeed.

And Lizruork, I would follow Karl's advise to you and let Viking Queen mature a few years before passing judgment. All climbers should really have 3 or 4 years to see what they can do. I find my VQ to be much lovelier in bloom now that it is an established plant. During its first few years, I couldn't see any reason to keep it. That said, however, it is still not cane hardy in my zone and is only a 4' shrub but it's a very pretty and healthy shrub. YMMV on the height in your zone of course.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 8:13AM
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I obviously cannot address the hardiness issue but maybe say something about fragrance.
Cl. Cecile Brunner is so huge if and where it is hardy that I simply cannot visualize it in a small garden. I saw a mature specimen in the display garden of Appalachian Rose nursery; it was gorgeous but would occupy almost my entire backyard. I keep reading that this rose destroys almost every structure it is grown on except the very sturdiest industrial strength kind.

Zephirine Drouhin is very fragrant, grows big in my yard but easy to train since it is thornless. It should be trained and old canes cut off because they usually dies after two years - no problem there is a lot of new canes to replace the old ones. ZD is usually blamed for poor repeat, I should disagree; mine repeats pretty well provided it gets enough water (rain is the best of course), rich soil and more feeding than an average rose would get.
Gloire de Dijon - wonderful rose but I doubt that it would be cane hardy in zone 5. Mine was doing great till the big Easter freeze in 2007. It was already in bloom when the freeze hit us. First nothing seemed to happen to this rose but then it started dying back. The following terrible drought didnt help either. Right now it has 1 and 1/2 canes. I love it so much that I will replace it next year if it does not develop new basals this year. Fragrance is good but not so strong (to my nose) than Zephirine Drouhin's.

Ilse Krohn Superior didn't repeat the first year but had good repeat from the second year on. I find it fragrant but some will disagree. Very thorny, so it must be placed carefully. I wanted to replace with White Cap but Donna at Pickering told me that White Cap is as thorny as Ilse so Ilse stays.

I do not grow the rest though Mme A. Carriere tempts me - however she grows so huge in warm climates that I couldn't find a good spot for her so far.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 10:20AM
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