By KARL P. JONES, Barrington, Rhode Island
Reprinted from the 1949 American Rose Annual with permission of the American Rose Society
editor's note.—There is a lot to be said in favor of climbing roses but in many gardens they are almost completely overlooked. Mr. Jones' enthusiastic report should renew interest in them as a group.
THERE is no flowering plant more beautiful than a well-grown, large-flowered climbing rose in full bloom. In our gardens in Barrington, Rhode Island, my wife and I are successfully growing over a hundred plants, comprising 80 varieties. Three or four of these climbers, Aglaia (1896), Gardenia (1899), Mme. Sancy de Parabere (1875), and Zephirine Drouhin (1868), were introduced before the turn of the century, but with few exceptions the remainder were introduced since 1912.
The growing of climbers in our New England climate requires patience and perseverance. Most of the hybrid tea roses may be expected to flower the first season, but very few of the hardier climbers will do so. Some of the climbing hybrid teas will flower the first season, but most of these are disappointing, for they either bloom well and refuse to climb, or else grow well but refuse to bloom. An outstanding exception is the glorious Mrs. Whitman Cross, which we have wintered for several years with no more than a single wrapping of silo paper to keep off the winter sun and wind. In contrast is Mercedes Gallart, which we tried three times before we brought it through a winter. The tender canes of Cl. Etoile de Hollande and similar sports can be wintered if the plant is laid down and buried, but the results are hardly worth the effort.
So far as the hardier climbers are concerned, we do not believe that they should be expected to show many blooms until the third season. Copper Glow, Doubloons and Elegance will frequently bloom as high as eight feet the second flowering season if planted in the fall, but the best and strongest-growing yellows, Mrs. Arthur Curtiss James and Golden Pyramid, and the magnificent red Thor, will require three seasons or more to
Some of the less hardy climbers can be successfully wintered (163) if they are removed from their supports, wrapped with sil paper (a fiber-reinforced, waterproofed paper) and laid dow so that the tips may be covered with earth. This takes them out of the winter wind and provides for less exposure to th winter sun. Rodents can be kept out of the wrapping by add ing a half-dozen moth balls. Even the hardier climbers benefit from this treatment.
Which are the hardiest climbers ? Our conclusion is that this question cannot be definitely answered. The severe winter of 1947-48 killed only one of our climbers, Hercules. We had some loss of old wood on a few of the setigera hybrids, and a little on two or three of the Wichuraianas, but nothing abnormal. Many of our neighbors have stated that many of their climbers lost most of their wood, except the old multiflora Wichuraiana ramblers, and we heard the same complaint from the New Bedford section, where the winter is usually warmer than here in Barrington. Experience has shown us that our climbers winter better after a cool, dry fall when the season's growth has hardened before frost; but there must be other factors, else why should the same rose, grown under apparently identical exposure conditions, and in much the same sort of soil, winterkill in several gardens, and show little or no damage in another?
Our experience leads us to believe that the Wichuraiana hybrids are generally the hardiest, although after three seasons Jacotte froze to death in a mild winter. The setigera hybrids Buff King, Doubloons, Federation, Meda, and Mercurius have frozen back to 18 inches three times in six years, and Hercules winterkilled after four years. We once had Copper Glow and Elegance freeze back to a couple of feet, and also the too heavily flowered Dr. Burt and Harvest Glow; but practically every other Wichuraiana climber in the garden seems to winter well.
We grow all sorts of roses in the same gardens—climbers, species, teas, and perpetuals. In order to do this successfully! climbers are spaced ten feet apart, trained on eight-foot cedar posts, and out on chains at either side of posts at about seven feet above the ground. (Incidentally, the amount of heat absorbed by the chains does not damage the roses, contrary to some opinions.) In some beds this arrangement permits growing hybrid rugosas or other large shrub roses half way between the posts, with plenty of room for both varieties; in other beds, hybrid teas or hybrid perpetuals can be planted in back of or in front of the line of posts, so that all varieties are displayed to advantage. This type of planting calls for truly vigorous climbers as otherwise the top of the post and the chains look naked. Many of the climbers, particularly the creeper types, are best displayed when the canes are trained at or below eye level. Twenty of our climbers are planted in front of four-foot posts, spaced six feet apart, the roses being trained horizontally so that the colors are interlaced. The so-called "moderate" growth climbers have little place in either scheme.
In the case of the presently marketed repeat-blooming Wi-churaiana climbers, we have been successful with only one, New Dawn. We have not been able to secure a repeat-blooming Blaze or Orange Everglow, although we have recently heard that such are in existence.
When we started our collection of climbers, the only reasonably comprehensive information about them was contained in G. A. Stevens' Climbing Roses, published in 1933. We list our cumbers below in the hope that this information from our records may prove helpful to others. Where easy to do so, we have included name of originator, date of introduction, type of flower, and basic hybrid. Where we list a climber as hardy, we speak only for our own gardens and our own experience.
Barbier & Co., France. Large-flowered Wichuraiana hybrids. Albertine. 1921. Vigorous; 10 ft.; hardy; semi-double; coppery pink; excellent; some August re-bloom. Francois Poisson. 1902. Vigorous; 15 ft.; hardy; large; double; white tinged
yellow; good. Jacotte. 1920. Vigorous; 15 ft.; tender; large; semi-double; coppery yellow;
Primevere. 1929. Vigorous; 15 ft.; hardy; very double; yellow; dead petals . nmst be stripped to look well.
M-H. Horvath, Mentor, Ohio. Setigera hybrids (except Thor). Buff King. 1939. Few canes; few flowers; amber to buff; fair. l>oubloons. 1934. Vigorous; 10 ft.; medium hardy; large; double; golden
yellow; must be stripped to look well after first bloom; susceptible to black-
spot; good. Federation. 1938. Vigorous; 15 ft.; medium hardy; large; semi-double; pink
flowers like R. damascena; some intermittent blooms if stripped of dead
flowers and hips; good, ttercules. 1938. Pink; failed after four years' struggle.
£r" *®*k Very large; double; shrimp-pink; only 4 ft. in five years; some
better fall bloom; not satisfactory.
Mercurius. 1940. Very large; double; light coral-pink but only 6 ft in r years; some better fall bloom; better than Meda but not good enough
Thor. 1940. Hybrid Xanthina. Vigorous; 15 ft.; hardy; tremendous, douKl dark crimson flowers; the best Horvath rose and the best hardy red dimber
Dr r. J. H. Nicolas, Newark, N. Y. Large-flowered climbers. •
Dr. J. H. Nicolas. 1940. 4 ft. in five years; large, rose-pink flowers that b 11 in hot weather; medium hardy; some recurrent bloom.
June Morn. 1939. Same growth as Dr. J. H. Nicolas but bicolored bloom
King Midas. 1941. A few yellow flowers on a poor plant.
M. R. Jacobus, Ridgefield, N. J. Wichuraiana hybrids.
Dream Girl. 1944. Vigorous; 5 ft.; hardy; large,
double, coral-pink; repeats-
Inspiration. 1946. Vigorous; 5 ft.; hardy; same as Dream Girl, but darker pink.
Dr. Walter Van Fleet, Glenn Dale, Md. Large-flowered Wichuraiana hybrids All the following Van Fleet hybrids are hardy and can be grown to 15 ft and over.
Alida Lovett. 1905. Large; pink; fewer flowers than Mary Wallace but more petals; good.
American Pillar. 1902. Single; open; carmine with white centers; rampant
growth; late bloom; good.
Bess Lovett. 1915. Large; cup-shaped; double; crimson; few blooms; good. Dr. W. Van Fleet. 1910. Light pink to white; its everblooming sport New
Dawn is so much better that this is obsolete. Glenn Dale. 1927. Exquisitely perfect, small, lemon-yellow buds opening to
surprisingly large, white flowers; good.
Mary Lovett. 1915. Quantities of large, white, very double blooms; rather interesting.
Mary Wallace. 1924. Tremendous quantities of large, semi-double, rose-pink blooms; deserves its popularity.
New Dawn. 1930. We like to credit this rose to Dr. Van Fleet, for after all it is a sport of his rose; after the first heavy June flowering, it blooms a bit every month up to frost.
Luther Burbank, California. Large-flowered Wichuraiana (?) hybrids. Blushing Beauty. 1934. Vigorous; 10 ft.; medium hardy; shell-pink; fair. Copper Climber. 1938. Vigorous; 10 ft.; coppery salmon edged pink; black-spots badly.
Golden Sunset. 1934. Vigorous; 10 ft.; large, double, yellow; this latter appears to be the best of the three.
Mr. and Mrs. Walter D. Brownell, Little Compton, Rhode Island. Large-flowered Wichuraiana hybrids. All the Brownell climbers are hardy and ^disease free, and most of them will grow to 15 ft. or more if not "whacked." Apricot Glow. 1936. Very double, large, apricot blooms; thick canes grow
horizontally; excellent on low support, but difficult to train vertically. Brownell Yellow Rambler. 1942. Very double, yellow; blooms similar to
Primevere, but twice the size; good. ...
Coral Creeper. 1938. Large, semi-double, coral shaded to light pink blooms;
old petals shake off cleanly in light breeze; large horizontal canes; excellent
creeper or climber. pr. Butt. 1942. Masses of large, very double, reddish orange blooms, which
fade in hot sun; very beautiful if kept stripped; in this plant and Harvest
Glow the sexual factor predominates, and they bloom so heavily as to
weaken the plant; both best planted where they get only morning sun. Elegance- 1838. Lemon-yellow buds nearly as perfect as its parent, Glenn
Dale, but ten times as large; magnificent 6-in., yellow tinted to white
blooms on long stems; truly elegant. Frederick S. Peck. 1938. Large, semi-double, deep grenadine-pink blooms;
very excellent creeper or climber; blooms on second-year shoots; drops ripe
Golden Glow. 1937. Large, cadmium-yellow blooms on excellent plant; plant next to a good red and intermingle the canes; each accentuates the
Golden Orange Climber. 1937. Five-in., crinkly-petaled, orange-scarlet blooms; not very floriferous; a collector's prize.
Golden Pyramid. 1939. Blooms similar to Golden Climber; advertised as a 6-ft. pillar; ours has a main cane lj^ in. in diameter, and is trained up a lighting pole to over 20 ft.; most unusual for this climate; excellent.
Harvest Glow. 1941. Large, very double, bicolor; tremendously floriferous; characteristics like Dr. Burt.
Little Compton Creeper. 1938. Single, deep rose-pink flowers in open clusters; a good rose for contrast.
Magic Carpet. 1941. Large, semi-double, yellow tinted orange to scarlet; characteristics like Coral Creeper; good.
Moon Glow. 1937. Large, very double; rich cream; abundant bloom; good.
Mrs. Arthur Curtiss James (Golden Climber). 1933. Large, sunflower-yellow blooms on long stems; takes three years to establish, but is then a tremendous plant.
Orange Everglow. 1942. All the characteristics of Copper Glow, plus greater hardiness; so far ours have refused to repeat.
Pearly White. 1942. Large, semi-double, white blooms on long stems; good.
White Gold. 1943. Large, double, white with yellow centers; excellent.
Aglaia. 1896. Multiflora; vigorous; 15 ft.; hardy; very double flowers in
profuse clusters; often sold as Yellow Rambler, which it is not. Bloomfield Courage. 1925. Rambler-Wichuraiana; vigorous; 15 ft.; hardy;
abundant, single, blackish crimson flowers; particularly good interlaced
with yellows. Chaplin's Pink Climber. 1928. Vigorous; 15 ft.; medium hardy; abundant,
large, semi-double, pink blooms; poor foliage; fair. Chastity. 1924. CHP. Vigorous; 10 ft; hardy; semi-double, snow-white
blooms; good. Chevy Chase. 1939. Rambler-Soulieana; vigorous; 15 ft.; hardy; abundant,
small, very double, dark crimson flowers; mildew free; excellent addition
to the few available reds. Climbing American Beauty. 1909. LC.-Wichuraiana; vigorous; 15 ft.; hardy;
double red. The flowers blue quickly and the petals cling; must be stripped
continually to look well; useful because it is red. Coralie. 1919. LC.-Wichuraiana; vigorous; 15 ft.; hardy; double, coral-red;
excellent; slightly susceptible to blackspot.
Dr. Huey. 1920. LC.-Wichuraiana; vigorous; 15
ft.; hardy; 2-in.,
Flash. 1938. LC.; vigorous; 6 ft.; large, double, scarlet-red flowers with yellow reverse; grows like a hybrid perpetual; medium hardy; flowers turn purple too quickly; should not be classed as a climber.
Gerbe Rose. 1904. LC.-Wichuraiana; vigorous; 15 ft.;
hardy, double, phjj.
Ile De France. 1922. Rambler-Wichuraiana; vigorous; 15 ft.; hardy; semi-double, scarlet flowers with white centers; similar to American Pillar; fair
Mercedes Gallart. 1932. CHT.; vigorous; 10 ft.; large, double, purplish pink-disagreeable color unless by itself or near yellows; difficult to winter.
Miss Flora Mitten. 1913. LC.-Wichuraiana (?); vigorous; hardy; small pink flowers; not very good.
Mme. Sancy de Parabere. 1875. Alpina; vigorous; 10 ft.; large, semi-double light violet-rose; thornless; hardy; first climber to bloom; excellent.
Mrs. Whitman Cross. 1943. CHT.; vigorous; 10 ft.; large, semi-double; open orange-apricot with pink shading; excellent in all weathers; repeats all season; hardier than its class; flowers similar to Albertine but better.
Nubian. 1937. CHP.; vigorous; 6 ft.; dark red; does not climb any more than Henry Nevard and numerous other Perpetuals.
Paul's Lemon Pillar. 1915. CHT.-Wichuraiana; vigorous; 10 ft.; medium hardy; large, pale yellow blooms; good.
Paul's Scarlet Climber. 1916. LC.-Wichuraiana (?); vigorous; 15 ft.; large, scarlet, semi-double flowers which fade slowly; excellent; next to the best hardy red climber and perhaps easiest to grow.
Royal Scarlet Hybrid. 1926. LC.; similar in growth characteristics to Paul's Scarlet, but smaller and deeper colored flowers; excellent.
Ruth Alexander. 1937. LC.-Wichuraiana; long pointed buds, reddish orange opening to enormous, semi-double, yellow to orange blooms with large waxy petals; a sparse bloomer and not very vigorous, but so unusual as to make it a collector's item.
Star of Persia. 1919-Hyb. Foetida; vigorous and hardy, but not worth growing except as a curiosity; the flowers have a most disagreeable odor; black-spots terribly.
Zephirine Drouhin. 1868. Bourbon; vigorous; 6 ft.; large, semi-double, rose-red; thornless; recurrent blooming; fair.
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