Rose of the Month #11
By Gaird Hamilton
Since I started our series of “Rose of the Month” we have already covered ten roses, and this month will be number eleven. I had visualized an article each month written by various members of our Humboldt Rose Society who would tell about a rose which they grew that was a joy to raise and to behold. So far, in spite of an open invitation for articles, the roses of the month have all been ones of mine. This works out alright though since we have lots of roses of which we are very fond of a large number. ( I should mention that other members have written very nice articles about a number of roses which they raise and like very much).
When you read the list which follows, you will notice that they are all roses which have been out awhile. This was because it is possible to have a new rose which seems awesome the first year but then fizzles out after that. These are all roses tried and true, which grow very well in our cool coastal damp climate. Now we also have a lot of roses which would have made the list already except that they are extremely difficult to locate, being either from Europe, or bought only in Canada and then no longer necessarily available there. Some of our favorite roses fall into this category. When asked, I gladly tell about these roses, and would be glad to write about them if such an article was desired. In the meantime, here is the list of available, fairly common roses which are uncommonly beautiful and healthy in our area.
1. Apricot Nectar, 2. Gold Medal, 3. Kardinal, 4. Gemini, 5. Playboy, 6. Ingrid Bergman, 7. Sally Holmes, 8. Lavaglut, 9. Pristine, 10. Behold. These are roses which I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone. Now I will add number eleven. The Rose of the Month for February is a rose for people who don’t think that they can raise roses. It is the shrub rose Bonica which has recently been named the World Rose Hall of Fame Winner for 2003, and was also the AARS winner in 1987, a rare honor for a shrub rose. It is my good fortune that we have a Bonica in the perennial bed behind our house which is located such that I can see it any time that I am sitting in bed in the morning drinking a cup of coffee(an everyday event). This bush is just totally covered from top to bottom with large clusters of small pink flowers most of the time, usually clear into December. The canes are mostly limber enough that when it is a stand alone specimen it is like a mound of flowers. It can be easily used as a short climber on a fence and HRS members, Floyd and Jacque Hubbard have the fence along the front of their place beautifully covered with Bonica in this fashion. This is a true easy care rose. It exists in our perennial beds(three of them) with almost no care from us except an occasional clipping, some watering, and sometimes when the limbs get too heavy with their huge clusters we have to do some propping of canes.
Here is the official description from Modern Roses XI: MEIDOMONAC, S, mp, 1985, (Bonica, Bonica 82, Demon); flowers medium pink center, lighter at edges, medium, dbl, no fragrance, foliage small, dark, semi-glossy; bushy growth;PP005105 AARS, 1987 ADR, 1983 [R. sempervirens X Mlle Marthe Carron) X Picasso] ; Meilland.
Since this is not a hybrid tea or floribunda, it does not have to be pruned in any special way. As a shrub rose, just prune it as you wish it to look, kind of like you would any shrub. When the cluster is all bloomed out you will see that there are already new shoots growing below the old cluster and you can just prune down to there and before you know it, the new flowers are already blooming. Another bonus which I should mention is that about this time of year the bushes are covered with thousands of small but colorful orange hips. It is a year-around treat.