Low maintenance pink rose suggestion?

vickima(z5 MA)May 10, 2014

In my gardens now I have two red knockouts and an Autumn Sunset climber. I have a spot in a bed between two lavender bushes that I'd like to put a pink rose. I like the constant blooms of the KO's but I'd also like to try something else, preferably with scent. I've looked at carefree wonder and fairy roses, but I wonder if there are other "easy" pink roses? I'm 5b, north central Mass. and would appreciate any suggestions.

Also, has anybody planted roseanne geraniums near roses? I have a couple that I'm planning to move and I thought it might be neat if they would intertwine with the rose. I've seen photos of this, but I'm a fairly inexperienced gardener and not sure if this is something I should aim for.

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I have heard Beverly is a great choice. It has a great scent and as it's a Kordes rose it should be very hardy.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 11:34PM
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mark_roeder(4B IA)

Try Earth Song.

It is a Griffith Buck Rose so it is very low maintenance. It grows like a weed. The flowers are high-centered. It has the appearance of a grandiflora, but I am not sure how it is classified. It has a wonderful scent. It is a constant bloomer. It is the hardiest high-centered rose to be found, and Buck Roses are quite disease resistant. It was his best rose. Sorry I don't have a picture handy.

Plant this one and you won't be sorry.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 1:24AM
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I would also suggest Belinda's Dream.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 12:28PM
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kentucky_rose zone 6

I think Belinda's Dream or Beverly are excellent choices. Beverly is fragrant and taller.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 2:48PM
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vickima(z5 MA)

Thanks so much for the suggestions! I looked at some other Buck roses and Distant Drums caught my eye. In fact I'm leaning towards that, even though it's not pink. I think Belinda's Dream is only hardy to zone 6, but the others look nice, and now I'm wondering, why just get one?

The other issue I've found is that I won't be able to get these locally so I've been looking online and there's not widespread availability. Rogue Valley Roses has a couple of these in "bands" - something new to me. Is there a downside for someone new to roses buying bands (other than the issue of patience)?

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 7:44PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

The problem with bands is that they are own-root. While some roses do perfectly fine without a rootstock to push them, a lot don't. Particularly in a climate that isn't warm enough to encourage a lot of growth, and is cold enough for a lot of winterkill. IME, anything that winterkills regularly needs a good rootstock, and will never amount to anything own-root.

Earth Song is actually a good rose around here. Distant Drums will need a rootstock and a spray program. Belinda's Dream is a heat lover and just needs hotter summers. I packed it off to Texas. I don't know Beverley, but a lot of the 'really hardy' Kordes roses are really only hardy to zone 6, and freak at temperatures below -10F. Carefree Wonder was one of the worst roses I've ever tried to grow.

Rugosas come in pink. How about a nice Jens Munk?

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 8:37PM
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vickima(z5 MA)

VERY helpful information mad_gallica. Unfortunately, I can't find *any* of these roses in anything other than banded forms, and some not at all (incl. Jens Munk). I can get an Earth Song band from Rogue Valley Roses. Do you think that's worth the risk?

Thanks for letting me know about Carefree Wonder too. I thought that was supposed to be an "easy" rose as well. It really helps to hear true experiences. Based on what I read online, I wouldn't have guessed Distant Drums needed a spray program.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 9:06PM
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jasminerose4u, California(9b)

As for bands... I purchased a band from Heirloom Roses that had a well formed root system. It only took a month for the rosebush to triple its size and start blooming. It was a vigorous rose.

According to Help Me Find Roses, Earth Song is hardy to zone 4b and the comments say it is easy to grow. Beverly is hardy to zone 5b.

I'm confused about one thing...I thought areas of the country that experience winter kill WANT own root plants, so if the plant loses its canes to the ground, it has a chance to come back as the same rose (not the rootstock).

Here is a link that might be useful: Earth Song

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 9:08PM
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jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

I'm trying Thomas Affleck this year as its suppose to be cane hardy in colder climates and BS resistant but only time will tell...

But I heard the Buck rose Earth song is a good rose as recommended above but I've never personally grown it yet...

Here is a link that might be useful: Info on Thomas Affleck

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 10:07PM
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cambel(z6-7a DC)

Tiffany is probably the most aggressive bloomer I have ever had. gorgeous pink and smells wonderful.

If you get an Own Root Rose. Just remember, they will sit there for 2 years and do nothing, then they REALLY grow the third year and in the end grow better than the grafted roses. But they take a while to get there.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 10:30PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

In very general terms, cold climate nurseries sell grafted roses shipped bareroot. It is very late for bareroot roses. They are planted when dormant - around here usually late March or early April. Warm climate nurseries sell bands, and their selections tend to reflect their climates. Between the two, it can be hard to find appropriate roses in the spring.

My Earth Song spent the first winter in the basement under lights. When we root roses, that is how we do it. June cuttings are just too young that October to face winter. A band planted in May should be established enough by that fall, but it isn't a guarantee.

When talking about rose hardiness, people are usually talking about two separate things. First, cane hardiness - how much of the rose survives the winter. The second is vigor - how well does the rose bounce back from the winterkill. Obviously, the less winterkill a rose gets, the less vigorous it needs to be to replace the loss and grow larger. Here, a typical rose will die back to about an inch or two every winter. To replace that much winterkill, the rose has to be extremely vigorous. Most roses don't stand a chance without a good rootstock. There are roses I tried for years to get some size on them, but after a decade, I gave up.

BTW, the only Buck rose that is cane hardy here is Applejack. It's a nice rose, but has fallen off the radar because it is a once bloomer. The rest were meant to be grown as dieback shrubs. That doesn't tend to work here for own-root plants, so most Bucks aren't good performers in the northeast. The odd colored ones were chosen for their looks, and are divas.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 7:17AM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

I have to agree with Mark and MG. Earth Song is a great rose. Here ES stays green to the tips. Even last winter when it was -10.

There just aren't many hardy, low-maintenance roses that rebloom and have scent. You could try a Bourbon like Souvenir de la Malmaison or a Portland like Rose de Rescht. Or The Mayflower which is an Austin Rose. Or a Rugosa.

But, if you want an HT look, plant Earth Song.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 12:16PM
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vickima(z5 MA)

OK, that's it . . . I'm sold on Earth Song! Harry that photo is spectacular, but I'm mostly persuaded by the strong positive feelings several people have about it. And okay, there's Harry's photo too. :)

Now it's just a matter of finding one and I may be too late this year. I'm persuaded not to try bands, so if I can't locate one this year I'll put this off til next.

Thanks so much for all the information. It's incredibly helpful and has been making me think about growing even more roses.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 1:39PM
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jazzmom516(Zone 7 LI, NY)

A pretty and fragrant rugosa is 'Dart's Dash'. Performs very well in the extension's demonstration rose garden here.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 2:04PM
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Ask Roses Unlimited if they have a good sized Earth Song ready for shipping right now--or have them send you one next year at the beginning of the planting season.

Our Earth Song needs no winter protection--even with a tough winter that cut many HTs down to six inches or so.... Ours is a couple feet tall...

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 4:34PM
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ratdogheads(5b NH)

A couple nurseries that are worth checking out, and worth the trip, are Roseland in Acushnet, MA and Uncanoonuc Mountain in Goffstown, NH. Both have an unusually good selection and have websites listing inventory. Both have Distant Drums. I planted DD last year despite reservations that it was perhaps not as hardy as some Buck roses. It survived last winter with no protection and kept a couple inches of cane above the snow line.

Uncanoonuc (zone 5) has a rose display garden, and even with ample protection nearly all of their roses died back to the ground or snow line this winter. The two exceptions were Rose de Rescht and Harlow Carr. I have to say I was amazed by Harlow Carr. It's pink and fragrant. Uncanoonuc actually doesn't sell it but Roseland does.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 8:43PM
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vickima(z5 MA)

I tried to contact Roses Unlimited about Earth Song but haven't heard back yet. Uncanoonuc doesn't have ES but they do have Distant Drums, as you mentioned ratdogheads. It's one of the reasons I looked closely at that one. I've bought plants from Uncanoonuc before and really like them. They are about an hour north of me. Interesting about the die-back this year.

I would love to go to Roseland but it's just too far for me. I have to say I've been surprised that there are so few nurseries in the northwest Boston area that are serious about roses. Maybe knockouts have taken over the world?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 10:04AM
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As you may have discovered, Zone 5 significantly limits what roses you can grow--St. Patrick is known as an annual where you live. It is an annual for much of Z6 Connecticut as well, but it does nicely in a warm spot next to our black asphalt driveway...

If you have acid soil, like I do, I'd strongly recommend buying budded roses from Canadian nurseries.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 10:30AM
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jasminerose4u, California(9b)

Found this video by Jeffcatbuckeye of a Earth Song rosebush in full bloom. Gives a good idea of the flowers and follage, but be prepared to be a bit dizzy as the camera moves around.

Here is a link that might be useful: Earth Song Rose video

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 11:09AM
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I love Bonica. You can't beat Fairy for low maintenance. I have 4 and love the look of the tiny flowers in huge clusters. It's short, tho, only about 2 feet high.

Pictured is Lovely Fairy.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 10:01PM
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Ispahan Zone6a Chicago

'Earth Song' is gorgeous but I also want to put in a plug for another of Griffith Buck's magnificent pinks, the amazing 'Quietness'. It is a stellar plant with excellent hardiness and disease resistance, beautiful plant habit and elegant, graceful silvery pink old-fashioned looking blooms. It is like a Knock Out rose but refined and lovely.

Mine is an own root plant purchased from Antique Rose Emporium. It has always been extremely vigorous for me which is something I cannot always say about own root, modern, repeat-blooming roses in my area. It is usually hardy to the tips for me, but this past winter it endured several bouts down to -16F and lost about 50% of its overall volume. But now it is healthy and growing back with a vengeance! I have never observed black spot or mildew on my plant.

Fragrance is definitely there and pleasant, but only moderate. If it had a heady, overwhelming damask fragrance, it would probably be the perfect rose...

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 11:18PM
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predfern(z5 Chicago)

I have both Earthsong and Quietness. My roses really died back this winter! Also consider some of the hardier Austin roses like Mary Rose, Gertrude Jekyll, etc.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 12:41AM
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ratdogheads(5b NH)

I was going to suggest Bonica too, I don't grow it but I like it and it's easy to find. There is a mass planting of Bonica at my office park which surely get very little maintenance and always looks good. I love that it is covered in big hips for fall & winter. Not sure if there is much scent

My two cents for own root vs budded in zone 5-6 NH/MA: I have some own root old garden roses that did really well this winter, better than most of my modern roses, but I can't call them low maintenance. I have one own root floribunda that did surprisingly well, Blueberry Hill. As for Distant Drums though, I think that is a zone pusher for Z5 and I'd say you want grafted. My Mom who lives further south (North-shore MA) put in two own root bands of Distant Drums last year and they grew very slowly. One didn't survive the winter, the other is a little twig. Mine was budded and even though it had considerable die back it's got surviving base canes the size of my thumb.

Uncanoonuc has some roses by Ping Lim this year. I think they are part of the Easy Elegance collection. I got Kashmir & Champagne Wishes and I see they have a pink one called Grandma's Blessing. They are all own root, but of course they are fairly mature plants, not bands. What I read suggests excellent winter hardiness.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 5:55AM
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vickima(z5 MA)

Such good suggestions, and I love the pics and video! I'm technically zone 5b, and I think my microclimate is on the warmer side (she said optimistically), so I may try an own root or two to see what happens - either Earth Song if I can find it or maybe something from Uncanoonuc if I can make it up there.

A rose without fragrance seems like a rose that isn't a rose.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 7:08PM
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I'm putting in a vote for my girl Octavia Hill. She is wonderful

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 11:20PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

When you are rose shopping, unless you are willing to spray, disease resistance is going to be at least as important as hardiness. Also, outside of the rugosas, hardy, repeat blooming, fragrant roses are not at all common. There are types that possess any two of those virtues, but not all three.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 10:00AM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Have you checked out the shorter Austin roses? He has several excellent pinks that get about 3x3--such as Princess Alexandra of Kent, Boscobel, Princess Anne, or Bishop's Castle. They are all also disease-resistant--and lovely!


    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 10:27AM
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mark_roeder(4B IA)

Earth Song used to be carried by Spring Valley Roses in West Central Wisconsin. They have excellent cold weather stock, but they run out of inventory. Try them now, and see if they have it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Spring Valley Roses

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 1:50AM
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mark_roeder(4B IA)

Oops! I just looked and it is not there even though it appears to be pictured on their website.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 1:52AM
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vickima(z5 MA)

Roses Unlimited had 1 Earth Song left so they are sending it to me later this month. I really do appreciate all the information and suggestions. I realize there is some risk with this rose and it may take a couple years to get going, but I'm prepared to give it a try and see how it does!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 4:37PM
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jasminerose4u, California(9b)

Congratulations Vickima! Earth Song reportedly does fine on its own roots and Roses Unlimited is a good source. My roses from them arrived in gallon pots and some had buds, ready to bloom. I hope the rose will do well for you. Looking forward to seeing future photographs :)


    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 9:17PM
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