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Selecting Roses for Climate Change

Text from the Historic Roses Group Exhibit at Chelsea 2008

Rose species have been on the planet for some 35 million years, enduring many climate changes and successfully adapting to a range of extreme climatic conditions.

Many of today’s rose hybrids have inherited this tolerance from their species ancestors – and so despite climate change roses will still adorn our gardens.

To help people select the right roses to tolerate climate extremes, the Historic Roses Group exhibit features four climate categories:

Hot & Wet, Hot & Dry, Cold & Wet and Cold & Dry , displaying specially selected climbing and shrub roses that can be grown successfully in one or more of these categories.

The following is a list of the roses displayed in each of the above categories:



Cold & Dry

Some roses in this category need to be ‘vernalised’ – exposed to a period of cold winter weather – in order for them to regenerate each year. This stems from their genetic make-up, inherited from their species ancestors. These species adapted to a cold, dry climate range, resulting in a restricted ability to tolerate a wider range of conditions.

CLIMBERS :

‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’
Introduced by William Paul, UK, 1916

As nothing is known of the parentage of this very vigorous climbing rose, it is not possible to establish from where it inherited its tolerance of cold and dry climate conditions. However it is known to be hardy down to -23ºC.
(Zone 6 on US Dept of Agriculture hardiness scale)

‘Leverkusen’
Kordesii hybrid, 1954

A very tough rose in every respect. Tolerant of shade and poor dry soils, and hardy down to -35ºC. Highly adaptable, it performs even better in hotter climates, putting it into the ‘universal climate class’ occupied by some of the ‘hot’ category roses

‘Paul’s Scarlet’
Modern Climber, 1916

A most adaptable rose, tolerant of shade, poor dry soils and cold conditions (down to -29ºC). It also tolerates hotter climates.

SPECIES AND SHRUBS :

‘Mrs John Laing’
Hybrid Perpetual, 1887

Tolerant of poor, dry soils and low temperatures – down to -29ºC.
(Zone 6 on US Dept of Agriculture hardiness scale)

‘Comte de Chambord’
Portland rose, 1860

The two distant species ancestors (R. gallica and R. fedtschenkoana) of this rose possess tolerance of poor, dry soils and low temperature (down to -29ºC), which probably accounts for its adaptability to similar climatic conditions.

‘Stanwell Perpetual’
Spinosissima hybrid, 1838

Rosa spinosissima , a native of Europe, has high tolerance of poor, dry soils and low temperature – down to -35ºC.This hybrid is similarly adapted.

‘Roseraie de l’Haÿ
Rugosa hybrid, 1901

Fossil records suggest that Rosa rugosa is one of the oldest rose species
on the planet. As with most Rugosas and their hybrids, this rose is very tolerant of cold conditions (down to -35ºC) – whether dry or wet.
Rosa glauca

Species rose native to the Pyrenees and the Alps naturally adapted to thin, poor, dry soils as well as very low temperature (down to -35ºC). This places it at the cold end of the climate spectrum and, unlike some other roses in this category, it is unable to tolerate higher temperature.

‘Sydonie’
Portland Rose, 1846

The two distant species ancestors (R. gallica and R. fedtschenkoana) of this rose possess tolerance of poor, dry soils and low temperature (to -29ºC), which probably accounts for its adaptability to similar climatic conditions.

‘Salet’
Moss Rose, 1854

This rose shows a degree of tolerance of dry conditions, and is adapted to low temperature – down to -29ºC.



Cold & Wet

Some of the roses in this category are confined to the cold end of the climate spectrum. Others have adapted to a wider climate range and can tolerate higher temperatures. Most can withstand extremely wet conditions, and even a degree of flooding. This category includes some of the most rugged roses on the planet.

CLIMBERS :

‘Apple Blossom’
Multiflora Rambler Rose, introduced 1932

The parent species of this rose, Rosa multiflora, is a native of Japan and Korea, and will tolerate both wet conditions and low temperatures
(down to -29ºC) – characteristics inherited by this its offspring.

*‘Félicité Perpétue’ *
Sempervirens hybrid, 1827

The principal parent of this variety, Rosa sempervirens, inhabits the Mediterranean area and is rather tender. However ‘Old Blush China’ and R.moschata also appear in its DNA profile, and it is from these that it has inherited its tolerance of lower temperature (down to -29ºC).

SPECIES AND SHRUBS :

‘Blanc Double de Coubert’
Rugosa hybrid, 1892

As stated elsewhere, Rugosa species and their hybrids are tolerant of both dry and wet conditions (even a degree of flooding) as well as low temperature – down to -35ºC). These characteristics are inherited by this hybrid.

Rosa alba semi-plena

The Alba group of roses derives from a naturally occurring cross between R.canina (or close relative) and R.gallica. It is from these they inherit their hardiness. They flourish in poor soil, accept a degree of shade, and are tolerant of wet conditions and low temperature (down to -35ºC).

Alba maxima
Alba Rose, c.1700

A fully double form of Rosa alba semi-plena, with which it shares its adaptability to wet conditions and low temperature (down to -35ºC).

The Albas possess the most refined fragrance of all roses.

*‘Great Maiden’s Blush’ *
Alba Rose c.1550

Adapted to poor soil, a degree of shade, wet conditions and low temperature
(down to -29ºC).

‘The Fairy’ Polyantha Rose, 1932

Though not quite as tolerant of low temperatures as the other roses in this category, it is however a rugged, adaptable rose that performs well in poor soil, in the shade and in both wet and dry conditions.

‘Rose de Rescht’ Portland Rose, c.1840

Like ‘Comte de Chambord’ described in the previous category, the two distant species ancestors (R. gallica and R. fedtschenkoana) of this rose possess tolerance of poor, dry soils and low temperature (down to -29ºC), which probably accounts for its adaptability to similar climatic conditions.

‘Jacque Cartier’ Portland Rose, 1868

This Portland rose possesses similar climatic tolerance to that described above.



Hot & Dry

“Some like it hot” – and also tolerate conditions where water is limited. Some dislike low temperatures, while others are adapted to a wider climate range. For gardens with decreasing rainfall levels, these roses offer hope for the future.

CLIMBERS :

Rosa banksiae

Although a native of sub-tropical China, R. banksiae , will also tolerate hot conditions where low rainfall is experienced – less than 500mm (20”) per annum.

*‘Phyllis Bide’ *
Bred in the UK in 1923, trials on the Mediterranean island of Ibiza have shown that this rose tolerates both high temperature – to 40ºC and low rainfall – less than 500mm (20”) per annum.

‘Madame Grégoire Staechelin’
Modern Climber, 1927

This rose has a very wide temperature tolerance – from -23°C to +40°C, and as in the case of ‘Phyllis Bide’, trials on the island of Ibiza have shown it is tolerant of low rainfall – less than 500mm (20”) per annum.

‘Mme Alfred Carrière’
Noisette Rose, 1879

At high temperature this rose flowers constantly, and the Ibiza trials have also shown it to be tolerant of low rainfall – less than 500mm (20”) per annum. Its overall temperature tolerance ranges from 40ºC to -12ºC.

SPECIES AND SHRUBS :

‘Mutabilis’

An unusual china rose of unknown origin that found its way to Italy in the early 20th Century. Tolerant of hot conditions, it is also capable of flourishing in areas of low rainfall.

‘Lady Hillingdon’
Tea Rose, bush form – 1910

Tea roses perform better at high temperatures when they will flower continuously, and, as with this rose, they are often tolerant of drought conditions. Though many are quite tender in colder climes, this particular rose will also tolerate a degree of wet and cold.

‘Buff Beauty’
Hybrid Musk – 1939

Several of the Hybrid Musks bred by the Rev. Joseph Pemberton and his successors, in the period 1910-1940, are tolerant of climate extremes.
This rose is adapted to dry conditions and a temperature range from
40ºC to -23ºC.

Rosa fedtschenkoana

Occurring naturally in central Asia, between the Caspian Sea and western China, it is adapted to wide ranging climate conditions, tolerating winter temperatures below -20ºC and to up to 30ºC in summer, with an average annual rainfall of only 250mm (10”).



Hot & Wet

Despite high temperatures and humidity, and increased susceptibility to disease, some roses are adapted to tropical conditions. However, the choice of roses remains very limited. A common factor in rose hybrids with tropical tolerance appears to be their China rose ancestry. Certain species roses are also adapted to these conditions.

‘Cécile Brunner’
China Rose, climbing form – 1894

Few roses are truly adapted to tropical conditions, with unrelieved high temperature. However some, like this one, can tolerate high rainfall and high temperature providing there is also some period of temperate relief.

‘Iceberg’
Floribunda, climbing form – 1968

This rose has a relatively high tolerance of tropical conditions. One of its parents is a Pemberton Hybrid Musk, which are often well adapted to tropical conditions. This may account for this tolerance. In addition, its temperature tolerance range is considerable – from +40º to –29ºC.

Rosa laevigata

A native species of the tropical lowland areas of south-east Asia. Naturally adapted to high temperatures and humidity. An early-flowering, vigorous rose capable of climbing to 10 metres.

‘Alister Stella Gray’
Noisette Rose, 1894

Few roses are truly adapted to tropical conditions, with unrelieved high temperature. However some, like this one, can tolerate high rainfall and high temperature providing there is at least some period of temperate relief.

‘Blush Noisette’
Noisette Rose, 1817

The first Noisette rose, a hybrid of Rosa moschata and ‘Old Blush China’. As with the previous rose, it seems likely that it is from the latter parent that its tolerance of hot and wet conditions is derived.

SPECIES AND SHRUBS :

‘Prosperity’
Hybrid Musk, 1919

Several of the Hybrid Musks bred in the UK by the Rev. Joseph Pemberton and his successors between 1910–1940 are tolerant of climate extremes. This rose is adapted to true tropical conditions and also has a temperature range from 40ºC to -23ºC.

Rosa roxburghii

This rose is tolerant of high rainfall and high temperature but will not flower in fully tropical conditions with no respite from continuous high temperature. A period of temperate relief is needed to encourage flowering.

‘Iceberg’
Floribunda, bush form – 1958

For climate tolerance see ‘climbing form’ described earlier.

‘Gloire de France’
Gallica hybrid, 1828

Gallica hybrids are not normally adapted to a hot and wet climate, but for some reason this one is – though its tolerance does not extend to truly
tropical conditions.

‘Louise Odier’ (1851) & ‘Mme Isaac Pereire’ (1881)
Bourbon Roses

Bourbon roses originated in the early 19th Century as a natural hybrid of the ‘Autumn Damask’ and ‘Old Blush China’ on the Ile de Bourbon (now Réunion) in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. They have adapted well to true tropical conditions – which may stem from their China ancestry.

‘Cécile Brunner’ (1881) & ‘White Cécile Brunner’ (1909)

For climate tolerance see ‘climbing form’ described earlier.

‘Arethusa’
China Rose – 1903

As with other China roses, this rose, though tolerant of high temperature and humidity for limited periods cannot adapt to the unrelieved heat typical of a true tropical climate.

 

For copyright reasons none of the colour photos (usually 25-30 per issue) which originally illustrated the articles have been reproduced here


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