Polyantha Roses

Sometime around the middle of the century, a French nurseryman rescued a rosebush discarded from a local public park. The discarded bush was a curiosity -a Chinese import -and from it the nurseryman bred a group of seedlings. These proved to be tough and vigorous but also compact.

Typical polyantha roses are low-growing, compact, continually blooming plants with extreme winter hardiness. The small, informal flowers cover the plants in large sprays. Use polyantha roses for bedding, low hedges, and foregrounds. Although now largely surpassed by their bigger and showier relatives the floribundas, several polyanthas are still worth growing.

The polyanthas, also turned out to be generous rebloomers that bear repeated flushes of small ( 1 -2 in [2.5 - 5.1 cm])  clustered flowers throughout the summer and fall. The flower colors are delicate -creams, pinks, and golds -and the foliage is notably disease resistant. This characteristic, combined with their tolerance for alkaline soils and intense sun, has made the polyanthas superb roses for the Southeast and Southwest. Many are quite cold hardy and flourish into southern New England, southern Canada, and the milder regions of the Rocky Mountain West. Polyanthas also perform well in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Perfect for containers, polyanthas are an obvious choice for any situation in which a compact plant is desired. Their dense, mounded shape also makes them a natural for formal gardens.

'Cecile Brünner' Roses (Introduced - 1881)
The small, exquisite, coral pink buds of 'Cecile Brünner' rose have made it the quintessential boutonniere flower. Growing in clusters, the flowers open into something like a hybrid tea blossom just 1-2 in (2.5 -5.1cm) in diameter. The fragrance is light but distinctively spicy, and the stems are smooth and brownish purple. The thorns are few but sharp and hooked, to grab the careless. The foliage is a smooth dark green.
You'll recognize this rose as soon as its buds start to open. These are the pink roses you've seen on old-fashioned valentines, and a spray of 'Cecile Brunner' "sweetheart roses" is still the ultimate romantic gesture. In addition to the original compact form of the shrub, there is also a climbing form, which in mild climates can reach a height of 20 ft (6m). Both thrive in the Southeast and Southwest and flourish even in poor soils and partial shade.

'China Doll' Roses (Introduced - 1946)
This variety is perfect for containers or for low edges or borders, as it grows only 1 to 2 feet high. The large sprays of small (1- to 2-inch), fluffy, pure pink blooms with 24 petals can literally cover the mounded plant and bright green foliage.

'Gabrielle Privat' Roses (Introduced - 1931)
Large pyramidal clusters of 30 to 50 semi-double blooms are produced on the neat, low-growing plants of 'Gabrielle Privat'. Flowering begins in spring and continues in great profusion through fall. Individual blooms are carmine-pink and 1 1/4 inches across. They are attractively displayed against lush bright green foliage.
The bush has a full, mounding habit and requires little pruning except to thin and remove dead growth. Plants of 'Gabrielle Privat' are rugged" and tolerate a wide range of soils. A good choice for small gardens or for massing, they are also pretty in containers.

'La Marne' Roses (Introduced - 1915)
Sporting almost thornless canes with dark, shiny leaves, 'La Marne' rose makes an easy-care landscape shrub or hedge plant. This rose produces loose clusters of cupped, semi-double, blush pink flowers repeatedly through the season, and the blossoms show up well against the dark green, shiny foliage. Not only is the foliage handsome, but it is also healthy. In fact, its extraordinary resistance to fungal diseases makes 'La Marne' rose an excellent rose for the hot and humid Southeast. This rose is vulnerable to cold. Large for a polyantha, 'La Marne' is too expansive for most containers.

'Margo Koster' Roses (Introduced - 1931)
The double blooms of 'Margo Koster' rose are globular and 1 to 1 1/2 inches across. Borne in sprays, they are somewhat variable in color, ranging from salmon pink to orange. They have little fragrance. Plants commence blooming late in the season and repeat well through fall. A climbing sport is available. Leaves are gray-green and semi-glossy. Canes bear few prickles.
This rose is bushy and compact, and is often grown as a container plant for both indoors and outside. This rose is disease resistant.

'Marie Pavié' Roses (Introduced - 1888)
With pink buds that open into clusters of fragrant, creamy white, semi-double flowers (each only 2 in [5. 1 cm] wide), 'Marie Pavié' rose is both dainty and charming when in bloom -and it's generally in bloom from late spring right through to fall. This rose is also versatile: with some pruning, this rose makes an excellent container plant. Left to grow unchecked, a row of them can create a handsome low hedge. And because it is free of both thorns and diseases, this is an excellent rose to plant in the kitchen garden.

'Perle d'Or' Roses (Introduced - 1884)
The alternate name for this rose, 'Yellow Cecile Brunner', underlines the pronounced resemblance of this rose to its polyantha relative. But whereas the flowers of 'Cecile Brunner' are pink, those of 'Perle d'Or' are, as the name suggests, touched with gold. This rose's tiny, pointed buds are a warm apricot; they take on a buff tone as they open, then gradually age to a golden pink. The fully opened blossoms spread into little pompons with a pronounced perfume; they keep their color better if the rose is set where it receives some afternoon shade.
The size of this shrub varies with the climate. In most gardens, this rose will reach a height and spread of about 4 ft (12m), but at the northern edge of its range it will be smaller, and in the Deep South it is liable to prove considerably more expansive.

'Pinkie' Roses (Introduced - 1947)
Flowers of 'Pinkie' have 14 to 16 petals that are rose pink with a salmon blush. These form a cup-shaped 1 1/2 - to 2 1/2- inch semi-double blossom. The flowers occur in large clusters in spring and repeat in fall; they are heavily fragrant. Leaves are soft green and glossy.
'Pinkie' is small and bushy, with a width often equal to its height. Useful in the foreground of a bed or border, it also makes a fine container plant. This rose is tolerant of partial shade. A climbing sport, which grows 6 to 12 feet tall, has thornless canes that are easily trained on fences and trellises, although it can also be grown without support as a graceful shrub or hedge with cascading blooms.

'The Fairy' Roses (Introduced - 1932)
A delicate-looking but tough little plant, 'The Fairy' rose is the only rose of this class recommended for northern gardens. This cultivar begins flowering late in the season, but after the first blossoms open, it remains in bloom more or less continuously until cold weather arrives  in late fall, long after most other roses have passed their peak. Its low, arching habit adapts well to the front of a border, or plant in large groups for a grand effect. 'The Fairy' rose is often sold as a standard, or tree rose.

'White Pet' Roses (Introduced - 1879)
'White Pet' rose is a profuse bloomer with small, creamy white buds touched with carmine that open to rosette type double flowers. Appearing in large clusters, the flowers are borne continuously throughout the season and are well displayed against abundant dark green foliage.
Plants are small and round, up to 2 feet with an equal spread. Their neat form and free-flowering nature make them good candidates for edging or for incorporating into beds or borders. 'White Pet' is also perfectly suited to growing in containers and is a good source of flowers for cutting.


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