Spring rose report

We had a rough winter here in northern Utah, getting down to nearly 20 below 0 (Fahrenheit). I thought I’d report on how the roses held up to it so you can get an idea of how cold hardy (or not cold hardy) some of these roses are. I mulched around the most sensitive plants, and we had a couple of feet of snow cover during he worst part of the cold. The pictures on the page are from previous summers; we don’t get roses until June here.

  • Alba Foliacea, which is over 8 feet tall in my garden, didn’t even have any tip die back.


    Alba foliacea

  • Alfred Colomb died back a little, despite the mulch, but it’s recovering well and has some buds that should open soon.
  • Archduke Charles, a China, was not supposed to spend the winter outside, but the cold and snow hit over Christmas and it ended up buried so I left it. It did survive, at least right around the base, but the spring freeze seems to have finished it off, despite being mulched.
  • Arizona totally surprised me. I thought it was dead, especially since it wasn’t well protected, but it’s putting up strong new shoots this spring.
  • Botzaris, one of my favorites, hardly even noticed the cold, and has tons of buds this spring.
  • Camaieux lost its tallest and oldest branch, but this short gallica rose (and its many suckers!) stayed safe under the snow.
  • Chapeau de Napoleon, or Crested Moss, is a pretty tough old rose, but it did suffer some die back and doesn’t have a lot of buds this spring.
  • Eden died back to the snow line, then suffered from the late frost this spring, despite being mulched, but it’s growing back from the roots very vigorously. This isn’t the first time growing own-root roses has paid off for me!
  • Great Maiden’s Blush was a little slow waking up this spring, after being moved last fall from a spot that was too shady (people tout it for its shade tolerance, but on the north side of a wooden fence it only produced about one flower a year for me, and was growing very slowly). It did have some tip die back, but I’m impressed it even survived after its transplant, since it wasn’t the smoothest move.
  • Greenmantle is a monster. It’s very vigorous and I don’t think it even noticed the cold.
  • Mme. Louis Leveque worried me because it went dormant really early in the fall, but it was under the snow all winter, and now it’s bushing out and make some mossy little buds.


    Mme Louis Leveque

  • Marie Bugnet was buried under the snow, but it was the first rose to leaf out this spring.
  • Mountain Music, a Buck rose, didn’t get good protection, but it looks unfazed by the cold.
  • Old Blush shouldn’t be hardy here, and it did lose some tips, but it was under mulch and snow, and it looks like it will be the first rose to bloom this spring.
  • Rosa Mundi was under the snow and slept through the winter quite happily.
  • Shropshire Lass, an old once-blooming Austin rose, had some tip die back, but everything under the snow is in good shape, and a few branches above the snow survived.
  • Tuscany Superb, a gallica, might have lost a couple of tips, but otherwise it seems happy.
  • I see a lot of complaints about Variegata di Bologna, but it does well for me. I did mulch it before the snow, and it’s looking healthy and happy this spring, with lots of fat little buds.
  • Vick’s Caprice has me on edge, because I really like this rose. It was in a pretty exposed location without a lot of snow cover, and died back almost to the roots. It has put out some new leaves, but then a slug was munching those away. I moved it to a better spot and am holding my breath that it will recover. I doubt it will bloom this year even if it pulls through.


    Vick’s Caprice

  • Woods rose is native to this area, and it didn’t seem to mind the cold.

I don’t think I lost any other plants to the cold (lavender, irises, lots of native flowers, and fruits and berries), though the peach buds were all dead, either because of the cold winter or the spring frost. Now, we’ll see how many of the roses survive the move to our new house this summer.

In anticipation of having a bigger yard I also put in several rose orders this year, and I’m looking forward to being able to report on Aimee Vibert, Duchess of Portland, Easy Does It, Mme. Blanche Lafitte, Perpetual White Moss, Quietness, Sharifa Asma, the ever-elusive Souvenir d’Alphonse Lavallee, Souvenir du Dr. Jamain, Therese Bugnet, and York and Lancaster.

High Country Roses and Rogue Valley Roses were great to work with as always, and I was impressed by Heirloom Roses and Angel Gardens, after doing my first orders from them this year. I’m especially grateful that Angels Gardens had Mme. Blanche Lafitte, a Bourbon rose that was grown in pioneer Utah and is now very difficult to find.


About eabwheeler

Freelance writer mainly working on projects about history, historic preservation, and children and nature. I'm also venturing into historical fiction and fantasy. I have graduate degrees in history and landscape architecture. I like gardening, sewing, folk music, and rainy afternoons with a good book. My debut novel, a Victorian paranormal mystery, THE HAUNTING OF SPRINGETT HALL, will be available in print and ebook July 14, 2015 from Cedar Fort Publishing.
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