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Hardy Roses | A Beginner’s Shopping List

Hardy Roses | A Beginner’s Shopping List
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yk0314_122Roses belong to an enormous family called Rosaceae, encompassing thousands of plant species from apples to strawberries. Here are a few hardy-rose suggestions:

Canadian Explorer Series (Zones 2–7): Developed in Ottawa at Agriculture Canada’s Central Experiment Station; exceptionally hardy roses bred from rugged parents with spectacular results. Vigorous climbers and shrubs; primarily red or pink; some repeat blooms. Try ‘William Baffin’: deep pink, double blooms; fragrant climber, 8–10 feet.

Easy Elegance (Zones 4–7): Tough beauties created by breeder Ping Lim for Bailey Nurseries in St. Paul, Minnesota, with Zone 3 potential. Among the newest hardy roses, gaining popularity in Northern gardens. Try ‘Yellow Submarine’: yellow fades to white on tea-style roses.

Knock Out (Zones 4–11): Developed by Wisconsin rose breeder William Radler in 1999 to be disease and drought resistant. Season-long bloomer; low-maintenance shrub. Try ‘Rainbow Knockout’: pink with yellow; compact growth.

Meidiland (with protection Zones 4–7): Developed in France by Meilland family; landscape roses smothered in small blooms. Rugged, own-root, low-maintenance, ever-blooming. Try ‘Bonica Meidiland’: shell-pink, summer to fall; World Federation of Rose Societies’ Hall of Fame winner.

Parkland Series (Zones 2–7): Developed in Manitoba, at Agriculture Canada’s Morden Research Station, around the same time as Explorer. Crosses several hardy roses to yield ever-blooming beauties. Try ‘Cuthbert Grant’ in slinky red velvet.

Rosa rugosa, a.k.a. beach rose (Zones 2–8): Very hardy and fragrant. Evolved along shorelines; salt and wind tolerant, good for hedges, disease resistant but sensitive to chemical fertilizers. Hybridized for double blooms. Try ‘Thérèse Bugnet’: medium pink.

Annie Graves


Annie Graves


Annie Graves is a regular contributor to Yankee. A New Hampshire native, she has been a writer and editor for over 25 years, while composing music and writing young adult novels. Find out more about Annie at

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