Roses, Our National Flower, Shine at Powell Gardens in 2008

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Roses, Our National Flower, Shine at Powell Gardens in 2008

Categories: Blog, Garden Guru

The wonderfully moist and cooler-than-normal spring have allowed our roses to be more floriferous than ever! Powell Gardens may not have a rose garden but roses are used in the landscape throughout the grounds. We grow only disease-resistant, low maintenance varieties appropriate for each landscape setting. Enjoy the following sampling of Powell Gardens’ roses:

The rugosa rose ‘Frau Dagmar Hartopp is a compact shrub rose with masses of single pink flowers. It is very disease resistant. Look for these masses on the meadow side of the east bridge of the Island Garden.

A closeup of ‘Frau Dagmar Hartopp rose reveals flowers reminiscent of pink dogwoods. They have a delightful rugosa rose scent and will continue to bloom (though more sparingly) until fall. The later season flowers produce fine red hips that are winter ornament or can be used for jelly and teas rich in vitamin C.

Our favorite red landscape rose is ‘Champlain’ a hybrid rose from the Morden Experiment Station in Manitoba. It is very disease resistant, a great red, and both heat and cold tolerant. This shot was taken in the courtyard on the north side of the Visitor Center. We also have Champlain rose near the Visitor Center trolley stop and on the Island Garden.

Another wonderful Morden rose is Morden Centennial’ with excellent double pink blooms. Others in the series include ‘Morden Blush’ (blush pink), ‘Morden Fireglow‘ (orange-red) and ‘Winnipeg Parks’ (bright pink) all of which are excellent in the Kansas City climate.

The late Dr. Buck from Iowa State University also has a series of hybrid roses that do wonderfully here. Our favorite is ‘Distant Drums’ with the unique lavender-mauve-honey blend of colors. We have used this rose extensively in the Fountain Garden where it currently is in full bloom (depicted).

A closeup of ‘Distant Drums’ roses.

The rose ‘Carefree Sunshine’ is a wonderful yellow and is really quite sincerely carefree! We used it near the Fountain Garden’s centerpiece where we knew spray and mist would not mire its completely disease resistant foliage. It is a tall growing rose however and can be used as a climber.

The old fashioned climbing rose Zephirine Drouhin is also in bloom and has thornless canes! Look for a pair of these climbers on the walls on either side of the entrance to the courtyard at the north end of the Visitor Center.

Powell Gardens has many landscape roses currently in bud and bloom and they all enrich the visitor experience. Thirty-five varieties will be planted in the Heartland Harvest Garden because roses are edible flowers and provide vitamin C rich fruit. They are good companions to grapes and always used in vineyards as the “canaries in the mineshaft” to make sure conditions are good for the grapes.
New hybrid roses continue to arrive on the market and many of the newbies are shockingly beautiful and amazingly disease resistant. The hybridizers are finally breeding some fragrance back into the flowers too!