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Choosing a Buck rose

Posted by literatejo z5b OH (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 10, 11 at 18:55

Hi, Everyone. I'm in Canton, Ohio, where the weather is influenced mostly by the Ice Age depressions left when the glaciers came through. We're not Lake Effect, we're not Snow Belt, and when rain comes our way, it usually breaks up before it hits us, and then reforms after it passes. Always interesting in Ohio!

Anyway, I have grown a few shrub roses (Belle Poitevine rugosa, Ballerina hybrid musk, Dart's Dash rugosa, Pierette rugosa, Belinda's Dream Earthkind), and would like to give a try with the Bucks. I'm hoping for a more classic flower shape, detectable fragrance, and an easy landscape rose. I'm considering Honeysweet and Frontier Twirl - love that orange-pinky color, and I need something smaller.

I've been researching for days, but I just can't seem to find definitive information. Assuming my site is mostly sunny (western exposure), amended soil, and proper watering, am I still doomed to disappointment because the Bucks just will not thrive in my rather weirdly-weathered area? I'm digging out the Rainbow Knockouts I planted last spring - I've never seen a rose age more pitifully, and on top of it they got mildew at the end of the season! I'm reluctant to waste the money on a lost cause - again.

So, any advice/suggestions? I'm especially interested in hearing from other Ohio/z5 folks with personal experience. I know the Bucks are thriving elsewhere, but I need some specific help.



Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Choosing a Buck rose

Forgot to add -
I like to run my garden they way I raised my children: benign neglect! If it can't stand on its own without a regimen of unending care, forget it. I admire roses, love the fragrance, but my philosophy is to enjoy the blooms, not be a slave to them. That said, now what about those Bucks?

Thanks! :)


RE: Choosing a Buck rose

With roses, unfortunately, like children, you reap what you sew. Neglect them and they don't respond, give them some care and they reward you with beautiful, disease resistant roses.
Go to an old overgrown cemetery and you'll find many roses growing that have been neglected for years. They look neglected! They may survive but they'll never acheive their full potential. A little weeding, deadheading, pruning, watering, and fertilizing, will go a long way to produce nice, healthy, roses.
Notice I said nothing about spraying? They'll survive without spraying of pesticides but even the most disease resistant may get blackspot or mildew. I have several Griffith Buck roses. Most all die back severely and require pruning in the spring. All do best when deadheaded as needed. They all get some disease including mildew.
My most perfect disease free rose is blushing pink Knock Out. No mildew or blackspot ever. I prune in spring and deadhead when I get a round tuit.

I do keep them weeded and toss some
fertilizer on them occassionally but that's about it. None of my Bucks are like this though. The better I take care of them, the better they bloom.
If you're going to practice benign neglect don't expect much in return regardless of what rose you plant.

RE: Choosing a Buck rose

Bucks were bred to survive (and hopefully thrive) in environments like yours, literatejo. Rose culture is essentially a trial & error proposition. Try the Bucks that interest you & see if they work under your conditions. Some will, some won't. If you're interested only in sure things, concentrate on plants other than roses.

RE: Choosing a Buck rose

Thank you for your opinion. I'm sorry if you found my explanation offensive.

Is there something useful you can tell me about Buck roses in OH z5? Or can I infer that thoughtful planting, watering, deadheading and weeding isn't enough? If I wasn't willing to do ANYTHING, I wouldn't have a garden. I'm simply not going to devote every minute of my free time to pampering a plant that cannot survive or look presentable without it. Since I don't need perfect roses, I've been very happy with my experience so far, despite my lackadaisical approach. But if Bucks are going to be as fussy as hybrid teas, I'd rather pass.

RE: Choosing a Buck rose

Thoughtful planting, watering, deadheading and weeding is fine. I may have misread your post but it appeared you didn't want to do even that! If you're willing to thoughtfully plant, water, deadhead, and weed, mostly what I do, there are many bucks that'll do fine in your area.
I've found with Bucks, it many take a few years to mature and begin to perform well. A few I planted four years prior just began to grow well last year. All mine are own root so a grafted Buck may do better
Bucks I grow in zone 5a NW Indiana are
Country Dancer-Griffith Buck shrub
Prairie Star-Griffith Buck shrub
Aunt Honey-Griffith Buck shrub
Autumn Dusk-Griffith Buck shrub
Prairie Sunset-Griffith Buck shrub
Winter Sunset-Griffith Buck shrub
Honeysweet-Griffith Buck shrub
Earthsong-Griffith Buck grandiflora
Kathy's Find-shrub
Folk singer-Griffith Buck shrub
Prairie Valor-Griffith Buck shrub
Prairie Joy-Griffith Buck shrub
Carefree Beauty-Griffith Buck shrub
Les Sjulin-Griffith Buck shrub
Serendipity-Griffith Buck hybrid tea/shrub
Summer Wind-Griffith Buck shrub
Ellen's Joy-shrub

Earthsong is my most vigorous with the largest blooms and best rebloom. The bloom form is hybrid tea like when it first opens.
Summer Wind, Serendipity, Les Sjulin, Kathy's Find, Ellen's Joy, and Honey Sweet have very interesting colored blooms that are hybrid tea like.
All but Earthsong require severe pruning each spring to remove dieback but all spring back quickly.

RE: Choosing a Buck rose

Thank you! I know some of the Bucks are described with "leathery foliage" on Chamblee's site. Do you think that is any advantage in terms of vigor and hardy nature? I'm looking at this from what I know of rugosa's and their very thick leaves.

And, specifically, what do you think of Honeysweet? Any input is appreciated!

RE: Choosing a Buck rose

I grow Honeysweet. She blooms her little heart out for me. I just weed, water, deadhead and fertilize with 12-12-12 (I buy the 30 lb sacks on sale). I don't detect much of a fragrance but it is a nice rose. Most Buck roses are not that fragrant despite what the catalogs say. Silver Shadows is very fragrant but is a weak grower. Another good one is Quietness. I also have Earthsong but it seems to take longer each year to come back. It was July 2010 before it started to grow. Prairie Breeze is very hardy and has large blooms but again little fragrance. Distant Drums survives but is only a few inches high. Many Buck roses have died in my garden. I get some blackspot in September on my roses (including Rugosas) as I don't spray.
There are also some Austins that do fine. I am particularly impressed with Evelyn. Some Austins have also died in my garden. Sharifa Asma is very hardy.
Bolero is the only Romantica to survive here and it is a honey.
Some Generosa roses are hardy, especially Martine Guillot. It gets very big so plant at the back. Marth Stewart likes Generosas.
Madame Bovary is a hardy Delbard rose. It gets big and is very thorny.
Old Garden Roses (OGRs) are another possibility although most repeating OGRs don't. Your best bet for a repeating OGR is Rose de Rescht.
I order all of my roses own root from Roses Unlimited.

RE: Choosing a Buck rose

I do not spray, and try to take care of my roses. Mine grow well even if a few weeds get in their way. I don't prune except in the winter, and simply snap spent blooms. My biggest problem is weeding.

My zone is 7A, that is a difference. I discarded many Bucks when I went no spray. Good roses for me are:
Carefree Beauty
Simon Estes
Country Dancer
Prairie Breeze
Square Dancer
Prairie Harvest
Earth Song
Pearlie Mae
April Moon
Golden Unicorn

Those that I pulled out because of black spot:
Frontier Twirl
Prairie Star
Distant Drums

Very beautiful roses could not withstand the black spot in MY garden. Everything could be different in your garden.

Also if you do not like to spray, you might consider some of the older roses like Souvenir de la Malmaison.

Buck roses were created to withstand the cold, and most of them should be fine for you.

There should be many consulting rosarians in Ohio, and in your city there should be one. Have you considered asking them about disease resistance in Canton?

The list of roses that I pulled consisted of some of the most beautiful of the Bucks. They were literally dying without spray. That does not mean you wouldl have bad luck with them.

Chamblees is a great nursery and they have a huge selection of roses.

Do you also participate on the Antique Rose Forum? You might like other older roses that do not require spray.


RE: Choosing a Buck rose

Thank you all for your input! I'm definitely willing to tolerate some less-than-perfect roses, but I was just unsure how far the Bucks would go down that road. I will give it some thought, and tap those other sources you suggested. Many thanks again!


RE: Choosing a Buck rose

What grows best for us may not do well for you and visa versa. You'll have to try them to see.

RE: Choosing a Buck rose

Carol, you sent me a private email through GW but I was unable to respond because my reply bounced back to me with the message "The email account that you tried to reach does not exist." Just didn't want you to think that I was ignoring you!
You asked me about Buck roses surviving in my garden...can I start out by saying that the one thing I have learned about growing 46 different roses hybridized by the late Dr. Griffith Buck is that all of his roses are not equal. "Buck Rose" is too general a term to use when advising about roses. It's like asking me if Hybrid Perpetuals winter well for me: some do and some don't. The key to the rose survival in my zone 4 garden, whether it is a Buck rose or a David Austin or any other modern rose is how healthy is it going into winter? Since I stopped spraying my roses a few years back, I have had to say goodbye to some terrific roses that just couldn't cut it without the chemical crutch. They went into winter afflicted with blackspot and didn't have enough "Oomph" left in them to bounce back well in spring after being cut down almost to the ground. (Did I mention that I do NOT winterize, either?) After a winter or two of this they just fade away.
So, I would say the most important thing to look for are roses that are disease resistant IN YOUR AREA, as Karl says. For me, the best are proving to be:

Applejack - hands down his best for zone 4, but a huge shrub not everyone wants to grow. Pity, it's a wonderful rose!

Quietness - very clean, very hardy and absolutely beautiful. I resisted buying it for a while because I thought I needed another pink Buck rose like I needed a hole in the head. Well, I was wrong - this one is a keeper.

Wanderin' Wind - another disease resistant and hardy rose. Mine is usually in the neighborhood of 4 to 5' tall, since it keeps at least part of it's canes over winter. It blooms almost constantly; in fact that is what is making me move it this spring. Currently it is next to my goldfish pool which is good because it needs no spray and I wouldn't spray it there under any circumstances, but it blooms so much it is constantly dropping petals which becomes a chore keeping them cleaned out of the water. So my complaints about it have nothing to do with the rose as it is a very good rose; I'm just a very poor planner.

Hi, Neighbor - a rose that has lived in a very poor spot for years and not only survived neglect but triumphed. It deserves better - something other than a hot, western exposure, more space around it for more air circulation, more of a place where it can be noticed. Very disease resistant and hardy.

Distant Drums - I know some people have disease issues with this rose. Perhaps it is where mine is planted, but it is very good grown no-spray, and it comes back like a champ after pruning to the ground in spring.

Pipe Dreams - another one of those hardier, disease resistant pink roses of Dr. Buck. This one forms a nice low mound, about 3x3' max and blooms all summer. The most distinctive feature is the dark reverse to the petals - very striking.

Are these my favorite Buck roses? Not necessarily, but they are the best in my garden. Are these the only Buck roses I would recommend? Not necessarily. It all depends on how you want to fuss. All you can do is research, research, and then give the rose a try. Best of luck to you!

RE: Choosing a Buck rose

For me, Carefree Beauty, Prairie Harvest, Freckles, Prairie Star and EarthSong are completely trouble free Buck roses. I also grow Paloma Blanca, Hawkeye Belle, Golden Celebration, Quietness, Winter Sunset, Griff's Red, Polonaise, Pearlie Mae, AppleJack, Wild Ginger, and some others I've likely forgotten at present. I've written about some of these on my blog.

Here is a link that might be useful: Garden Musings blog

RE: Choosing a Buck rose

I think the opinions of those farther north than here in Tulsa are more valuable to you than my opinions. I'd go with what they say.

RE: Choosing a Buck rose

If I were planting only one Buck Rose I'd go with the best of them; Earth Song. It is almost a continuous bloomer, with high centered blooms, and lots of them. It is resistant to disease and quite hardy.

RE: Choosing a Buck rose

Carefree Beauty has survived at least 10 years here in Michigan's upper peninsula with no winter protection. It is as tough as nails. However, I agree with some of the other comments that Earth Song is wonderful! I planted three along a section of split rail fence as a backdrop and they are unstoppable! They get no winter protection and have produced well for 3 years. Beautiful blooms.

RE: Choosing a Buck rose

Karl's right about giving Bucks time to mature. I've had some own-root Bucks that also didn't reach their full potential for 3 or 4 seasons. I almost dug out Prairie Sunrise, and now it is one of my favorite roses - a great bloomer and such a beauty. Quietness took off a lot faster and impresses me all the time. I don't get a lot of fragrance with my Bucks (I grow about 20 of them) - nothing like the Austin roses - but they are lovely. Square Dancer is a wonderful rebloomer and that bright fuschia color lights up the garden! Serendipity is so tall it needs a pillar, but is in bloom throughout the growing season. I'm glad I was patient with them.

RE: Choosing a Buck rose

Earth Song is great. Country Dancer is similar, with a more spreading plant form and a more ogr bloom form.

RE: Choosing a Buck rose

Karen, If you like Serendipity, you'll love Les Sjulin.
Similar bloom form and bush habit with a different colored flower.
I also like Honeysweet.


Les Sjulin

BTW, I don't spray anything. I just water overhead at least every other day in early A.M.for one hour each zone.

RE: Choosing a Buck rose

You're right about Les Sjulin, Karl. I do have him and I do love him!


RE: Choosing a Buck rose

In 5b Kansas, Quietness and Earthsong are doing beautifully. Quietness has a faint fragrance. Earthsong is stronger. I love that orangy-pink color, too. Easy Elegance's 'Kiss Me'(by Ping) is an orangy-pink grandiflora ~3' tall. No disease problems whatsoever which is wonderful because BS & PM love this area. Strong fragrance.

RE: Choosing a Buck rose

  • Posted by alameda 8 - East Texas (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 22, 11 at 14:12

I live in Texas and love many of the Bucks mentioned - Quietness, Carefree Beauty, Earthsong, Prairie Breeze, Golden Unicorn, Folksinger, Pearlie Mae, Honeysweet [love the color on this one, unique!], Pipe Dreams, Square Dancer, Freckles, Countryman.....One I have not seen mentioned is Bright Melody. It is tall for me and blooms all the time with reddish blooms and is practically disease free. Sometimes I am regular with spraying, sometimes not.....this rose is always healthy. Also like Habanera, Malaguena......just pick some to try and see how they do. Chamblees has an excellent assortment. I am 2 hours from them and love to see their roses in bloom! Very healthy plants - reasonable prices.

RE: Choosing a Buck rose


I love this thread of yours and your attitude too!
Although I'm a firm believer in the 3 year acclimation rule, I'd love to hear an update on your decisions and an early results report.

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