Rose Cuttings – February, 2011

From Freeze to Flowers

‘Bayse’s Blueberry’ is one of the cold-hardy parents of many of the Antique Rose Emporium’s roses. Photo courtesy of Mike Shoup.

Most of our roses have been set up, by our unusually cold winter, to be the stars of our gardens again this year. Expect dramatic displays from several varieties whose genetics for dealing with extreme cold will allow them to outshine others in your garden. “Who’s your daddy” — or mother, for that matter — makes a difference in a rose’s response to environmental factors like temperature and humidity. China and Tea roses evolved in a temperate part of China, and they like it warmer and more humid. Though perfect for Texas and the South, some Chinas and Tea roses may be slightly damaged by this year’s unusual cold and may be slower to emerge this spring. Nevertheless, they should be gorgeous by April. Hybrid Musks, Hybrid Perpetuals, Polyanthas, Bourbons, and other antique roses, on the other hand, will flourish from being in the deep freeze.
Two shrub roses that are especially cold-hardy are ‘Bayse’s Blueberry’ and  ‘Carefree Beauty’. ‘Bayse’s Blueberry’ is a rose resulting from a cross with, among others, wild native roses of R. virginiana and R. carolina. These “wild” roses are very vigorous and disease-resistant, and they gave ‘Bayse’s Blueberry’ the same qualities. ‘Carefree Beauty’ is a very cold-hardy, free-flowering, disease-resistant rose. It is also a parent of the popular rose ‘KnockOut’ and is a prominent parent in many of the Antique Rose Emporium’s Pioneer Roses.  ‘Thomas Affleck’,’ Landmark’,’ Old Baylor’, ‘Audubon’ and  ‘Cole’s Settlement’ are offspring from ‘Carefree Beauty’ and ‘Bayse’s Blueberry’ crosses. All are very cold-hardy, have very few thorns, are very disease-resistant and bloom profusely. Some have even earned wide reputations of being among the easiest and most rewarding garden plants. For example, Google ‘Thomas Affleck’ and see all the cyber comments.

As we enjoy our roses this spring, understand that the timing, fragrance, hardiness and disease-resistance can be attributed largely to parentage. No one rose is like another in its response to Mother Nature, and therein lies its infinite usefulness to the gardener.

About the author: Mike Shoup is the owner of the Antique Rose Emporium. Visit his company’s Brenham and San Antonio display gardens for endless ideas on landscaping with roses. To order roses online, visit

Posted by Neil Sperry
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