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Your experiences with roses from Harkness

Posted by nastarana 5a (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 9, 13 at 9:46

I am so far not impressed with these roses.

Tower Bridge is a puny grower so far. Jacqueline des Pres is a BS magnet, the only roses in my yard with more BS were two older Tantau yellows and Joseph's Coat.

I saw a Radox Bouquet in a zone 5b Ohio garden and a miserable specimin it was.

I am wondering if the Harkness ouevre is best planted in the warmer zones.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Your experiences with roses from Harkness

  • Posted by hoovb z9 Southern CA (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 9, 13 at 10:47

I have Harverag, aka 'Samaritan', marketed under many different names, and 'Easy Does It'. They are both rather dainty growers that bloom like mad--haven't been able to cut back EDI because there are still so many flowers. Big clusters of them all winter!

I can see the daintiness being a problem in a cold zone, but here where roses can get unmanageably large, it is a virtue.

There is a rose for every climate, but not every rose is for every climate...

RE: Your experiences with roses from Harkness

I do know that, HoovB. I bought my two Harknesses from Heirloom and I believe the HR website indicated both could be grown in zone 5.

It is early years , so I am not giving up just yet. JdP did grow well, and the blooms are quite lovely, but oh my the BS. I intend to try serenade this year. If one is supposed to wait as much as a decade for hybrid rugosas and explorers to attain full glory, I can pamper English shrubs for 2-3 years at least.

RE: Your experiences with roses from Harkness

  • Posted by TNY78 7a-East TN (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 9, 13 at 12:54

I've had similar problems with them Nastarana. My Jac du Pre is getting pulled this year because of BS and lack of growth too. As a whole, I'm not overly impressed in our east coast environment either. It seems they do wonderful in other areas, just not here. Ones I'm giving some more time, but appear to also have BS: Irish Hope, Lady Jane Grey, and Ginger Syllabub.

My sister-in-law grows Livin Easy no-spray, and its beautiful, and my Easy Does It is a wonderful rose as well.


RE: Your experiences with roses from Harkness

Now I know I am not the only one. I shall see how they do over the summer. I may be offering them for trade this fall.

RE: Your experiences with roses from Harkness

Jacqueline du Pre was a very poor grower here, as well, and is long gone.

OTOH, 'International Herald Tribune' LOVES it here.


RE: Your experiences with roses from Harkness

Actually the roses you are talking about have been a problem(not Living Easy) but other Harkness roses have been so beautiful for me. I'm in zone 8 though which is so different. I agree they do seem rather delicate.

RE: Your experiences with roses from Harkness

My Radox took a while to get settled. The first years he was a runt but then became a tall robust rose, outgrowing my Queen Elizabeth. I don't know if he would do that in a colder zone. Rebloom and scent have been very good.

Lady Jane Grey is my smallest Harkness rose and the color is very changeable. It's a yellowy apricot most of the year until cool temps arrive when it gets the pretty pink blends that you see on the Heirloom description page. When it's at its best its luminous.

RE: Your experiences with roses from Harkness

I wouldn't hold out too much with the Serenade - it is specifically targeted at botrytis cinerea and has been fairly useless for blackspot.
Having said that, Harkness roses do get better year on year (my Cardinal Hume took 4 years to become a respectable rose) as they seem to possess a fair bit of adaptability but, they really don't do terribly well in areas of high heat and aridity, nor are they as hardy as may be claimed - I think Z5 is a tiny bit hopeful.
Moreover, the earlier Harkness oeuvre seems better than later varieties - anything from 60s - 80s and even then, BS is often an issue. But, by and large, although many of them defoliate completely, they do grow back very rapidly and overall, there seems no loss to the general health of the rose.
Harkness are based 15 miles down the road from me so I am a little biased since they are probably the only floribundas (and a couple of Legrice roses) I have.

RE: Your experiences with roses from Harkness

I only have three Harkness roses and the results are mixed, though none of them were particularly vulnerable to blackspot. (I do spray a bit with organic sulpher or copper-based sprays, but some roses still languish with BS). Caroline Victoria was a disapointment--I purchased it mainly as it was a white rose with the highest fragrance rating from Rogue Valley, but the fragrance turned out to be not that strong and the rose was otherwise unremarkable. The miniature Letchworth Centenary was pretty good, a nice ornate blossom that was present most of the summer--I liked it enough it was one of only two roses to survive my purge of grafted roses. (I gave them away--too squeamish to actually kill a rose deliberately). Judy Garland, however, was wonderful. It bloomed almost continiously all thru the very hot summer, in full sun no less, and had no blackspot to speak of. I had it placed in a large pot near the main parking lot at my jobsite, and everyone there was amazed and commented on the profound color changes each blossom would go thru as it progressed. It starts a bright yellow and becomes a dark red, appearing bicolored thru much of the cycle.

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