The American Rose Society created this class of modern rose in order to incorporate plants that are large as well as have a bushy growth – attributes that are not present in other rose categories. Practically all roses in the shrub rose category are winter hardy, tough plants that are capable of enduring neglect as well as poor growing environments.
In fact, shrub roses are ideal for growing as landscape plants, hedges, mass plantings, shrub borders and ground covers. Primarily, shrub roses are huge plants bearing ornamental flowers that appear in clusters throughout the summer. Once the flowering season is over, many of these plants produce ostentatious hips.
Plants in the shrub rose class have been further categorized into several sub-classes, such as hybrid hugonis, hybrid nitida, hybrid blanda, hybrid macounii, hybrid laevigata, hybrid moyesii, hybrid macrantha, hybrid musk, hybrid rugosa, hybrid nutkana, kordesii and hybrid suffulta.
Nevertheless, several of these sub-classes of shrub rose are ambiguous and today they do not have any member that is commonly grown or marketed. In fact, roses that do not fit into any of the above sub-classes are just known as shrub roses.
It is worth mentioning here that some of the shrub roses that are grown most commonly include those in the sub-classes hybrid rugosa, hybrid musk, kordesii, hybrid moyesii and some of the shrub categories. The plants of hybrid moyesii are usually large, winter-hardy and stiff plants. Most of them are also exceptionally resistant to diseases.
The plants in the sub-class hybrid rugosa are also hardy and resistant to diseases. In addition, these plants are easy to maintain and they are also capable of enduring salty air. The foliage of hybrid rugosa is wrinkled, the plants have a compact growth and they produce attractive hips.
Among the various sub-classes of shrub roses, kordesii are recent shrub and the plants in this sub-class are low-growing climbers. They are exceptionally hardy and bear flowers in a variety of colors as well as forms. On the other hand, flowers of hybrid musk rose appear in large clusters and they are heavily scented.
Most plants in this shrub rose sub-class, however not all, only bear single flowers. The plants of hybrid musk rose are tall, winter hardy and resistant to diseases. The plants in the catchall shrub sub-class have wide-ranging backgrounds, but generally are large, disease resistant and winter hardy.
Although shrub roses were introduced at the turn of the century, in recent times many new roses have been introduces, as rose lovers and growers revive the attractiveness, appeal as well as their worth as landscape plants.
‘Abraham Darby’ Roses
Introduced – 1985
Since the climbing hybrid tea rose ‘Aloha’ is one parent of the shrub rose ‘Abraham Darby’, you may maintain it in the form of a large shrub or grow it as a climber with some training. This shrub rose bears, large, double, cup-shaped flowers.
The blooms have an apricot-pink hue suffused with yellow. You may grow it on a wall or trellis to enjoy the fragrance. Alternatively, you may also grow this rose as a large shrub in your garden.
Similar to nearly all English roses, ‘Abraham Darby’ blends fragrance and an old-fashioned look with the modern rose’s ever blooming habit. This rose is excellent for growing in the Northeast and the Midwest where the climatic conditions are temperate. It is also perfect for growing in the Pacific Northwest, Mid-Atlantic states and also the Southwest.
‘Alba Meidiland’ Roses
Introduced – 1989
This shrub rose bears white double blooms having a touch of pink. The flowers of ‘Alba Meidiland’ bloom repeatedly and are borne in small clusters. Each flower measures about 2 inches across.
The plants of this rose grow up to a height of 2 feet, while they spread over an area of 6 feet. ‘Alba Meidiland’ is effective when grown in the form of ground cover or in a mass planting. The foliage of this shrub rose is small and dark green.
Introduced – 1956
Although the person who bred this shrub rose did not start his work with a lead, he did strike real gold, by developing a tall and long-legged rose named ‘Alchymist’. This name suits this shrub rose perfectly because its breeder produced something that only old-world alchemists could visualize.
You may grow ‘Alchymist’ either in the form of a shrub, or as a cascade of arching case. In addition, you may also tie the plant to a pillar to grow as a climber. As its name suggests, the flowers of this shrub rose have golden nuances. However, the yellow hue of the flowers is blended with apricot to impart succulent warmth to the blooms.
The flowers of ‘Alchymist’ rose are quartered – the arrangement of the petals is in a cruciform, giving the blooms an old-fashioned look. Even the shrub looks like an antique and they bloom profusely during the summer months.
During the remaining part of the year they produce very less or no flowers at all. Similar to all other shrubs in the kordes sub-class of shrub rose, ‘Alchymist’ is also remarkably cold hardy.
‘All That Jazz’ Roses
Introduced – 1990
This shrub rose flowers prolifically and its blooms have a splendid effect against the plant’s dark green, glossy foliage, which is exceptionally resistant to rose diseases. The flowers unfurl with 12 petals that measure anything between 5 inches and 6 inches.
The petals of ‘All That Jazz’ have a blend of coral and salmon hues and have a fragrance similar to that of damask. The plants of ‘All That Jazz’ grow up to a height of about 5 feet.
Introduced – 1962
‘Assiniboine’ to be their own rose as it was introduced by the Morden Research Station in Manitoba. Although this shrub rose doesn’t require appealing to patriotism, gardeners who are in the south of Canada’s border would equally appreciate ‘Assiniboine’.
This rose is healthy, resilient and a reliable shrub that is capable of surviving even in intense cold conditions without any extra protection. The only flaw of this rose (if it can really be called a flaw) is that it only reblooms sporadically.
In fact, this shrub rose blooms in surges instead of blooming continuously. The flowers of ‘Assiniboine’ are not as jazzy as the blooms of the classic hybrid tea rose; they are certainly attractive and worth waiting for. The flowers are semi-double, large and have a wine red hue.
Introduced – 1986
This shrub rose is also called ‘Robbie Burns’. In fact, ‘Ausburn is a very small modern shrub rose bearing small, single blooms, each composed of five petals. Similar to several other English roses created by the British breeder David Austin, this shrub rose reminds one of the older varieties.
‘Ausburn’ rose has a strong fragrance and its character is similar to that of old-fashioned roses. The flowers have a pale pink hue and a white center. The leaves of its plants are small and have a medium matte green color.
Since the size of this rose is small, it is useful when you incorporate it into your garden beds of borders, where they can be utilized in the foreground. Moreover, ‘Ausburn’ rose is highly effectual when you plant them in groups.
‘Autumn Delight’ Roses
Introduced – 1933
‘Autumn Delight’ rose is hybrid musk. This shrub rose bears single, 3-inch flowers that are borne in large clusters all through the summer. The white flowers are very fragrant and have red stamens. The plants of ‘Autumn Delight’ rose grow up to a height of anything between 4 feet and 5 feet.
‘Basye’s Blueberry’ Roses
Introduced – 1982
Gardeners who are weary of pruning the thorny branches of their roses, ‘Basye’s Blueberry’ is the perfect rose for them. This modern rose produces rounded leaves, while the stems are almost without thorns. The reddish fall hue of the stems make the shrub appears like a blueberry bush. However, the flowers make the difference.
This shrub rose bears large, semi-double, pink hued blooms with vivid yellow stamens. The flowers are very fragrant and they repeat all through the growing season. Dr. Robert Basye of Texas A&M University bred ‘Basye’s Blueberry’ in central Texas.
While this rose is hardy when grown well into the North, it thrives well in the heavy clay and alkaline soils of that region. When grown in the Southeast, this rose grows into an exceptional shrub. In addition, this rose would prove to be an excellent selection for growing in the Southwest as well as the Rocky Mountain West.