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ingrid_vc

Griffith Buck Roses for a Hot, Dry Climate?

I understand that the Griffith Buck roses were bred for cold climates but wonder if anyone ever grows them where it's hot and dry, and how they perform. Some of them look quite pretty (although frankly most of the names don't appeal to me) but I've never ventured to try one. Has anyone else been braver than I am in an atypical climate for Buck roses?

Ingrid

Comments (31)

  • peachiekean
    11 years ago

    Ingrid, I'm not as dry as where you are but my Distant Drums is a very healthy rose. The best blooms are in spring. It has very dark, leathery leaves and will be 4-5 ft. tall and wide. Lovely fragrance and a great cutting rose. Mine gets the west exposure which is not the best but it's still an ideal plant.
    Mary

  • roseseek
    11 years ago

    Ingrid, I've grown about 70 of them. I had them in my old Newhall garden. Heat wasn't an issue for them. Wandrin' Wind rusted like an old nail. Applejack wanted a bit more cold to flower as heavily and as long as it should. For the most part, they were decent shrubs. Prairie Star, Prairie Harvest, Serendipity and all of the stippled ones were my favorites. Currently, I grow Prairie Lass, Sevilliana, Maytime (the rose Dr. Walter Lammerts proclaimed "immune to powdery mildew" and it appears so!) and Paloma Blanca. I had hoped Paloma Blanca would have been more disease resistant here than it was this spring. Rust was the issue. I had Golden Unicorn, but it was terrible in Encino! Rust no matter where I put it. Blue Skies was absolutely the WORST plant I have ever grown! It had every viral symptom there is and suffered every disease you can imagine, complete with gall. Earthsong still grows in my youngest sister's garden in Newhall. The link to the photo is below. Silver Shadows was a very fragrant, quite pretty flower on a rather weak plant. Of course, it came from ROYAT, the only source for it in those years.

    Distant Drums does far better in part sun in heat. Otherwise, not only are the flowers short lived, but the plant suffers and has difficulty growing. Folksinger was a mildew issue anywhere in that garden. Quite a few are really pretty roses, though you won't find that many with HT form, and even fewer whose form lasts that well in 90+ degree heat.

    I collected them 15 years ago because no one had them and I feared their loss. I'd sought the stippled varieties and wrote an article about them. Peter Schneider printed it in his American Rose Rambler and the only response it brought was from Ruby Buck, Dr. Buck's widow. She put me in touch with Kathy Zuzek, who had taken over Dr. Buck's breeding and worked at the University of Minnesota. That opened the door for his collection to grow in Southern California. I tried to interest Clair Martin at The Huntington in them, to no avail. I enjoyed them, and most performed OK there. Kim

    Here is a link that might be useful: Own root Earthsong in Newhall, CA

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  • sammy zone 7 Tulsa
    11 years ago

    I love Buck roses, but should not even comment much here since black spot is such a problem in Oklahoma, and you have little of it in California (I think).

    As others read this thread, I will look for comments about the newly found (developed) Buck roses. I understand that the newer roses were in the family, and only recently were put on the market. I never did understand if they were clearly Buck roses or a ploy to sell what had been developed by someone else.

    I would take a good look at Golden Unicorn before purchasing it. It is beautiful, and the color is good. However, I became concerned about whether I liked the center of the blooms. THen last winter killed it.

    Good luck with the roses -- they are great.

    Sammy

  • windeaux
    11 years ago

    'Golden Unicorn' was my first Buck. It's a grafted plant that I ordered years ago from the now-defunct Petaluma Rose Company. It's a very heavy bloomer but, during most of the season in my zone, the rich apricot blooms can open, fade to ivory and blow -- all within the course of a single day. It needs constant attention to dead-heading to keep the plant looking neat and to prevent its large hips from forming.

    I probably would have SP'd GU long ago were it not for the fact that it has the healthiest, most beautiful foliage of any rose in my black spot-pressured garden. I never spray GU and it never has even a hint of disease. It's a large, nicely shaped plant, and is always well foliated from the ground up. IMO, Knockouts have NOTHING on GU where disease resistance is concerned. If only those candelabra of blooms lasted a bit longer . . .

  • erasmus_gw
    11 years ago

    It is hot and dry here in the summer, so maybe my experience with Bucks would be relevant. My best Bucks are:
    Earth Song
    Prairie Breeze
    Quietness
    Carefree Beauty
    Griff's Red
    Honeysweet

    I think Carefree Beauty might be more widely grown with a different name. All of the above are prolific and healthy here and some are fragrant. I would include Prairie Sunrise on this list because it is so beautiful and mostly healthy. But my plant lost vigor and died. My second plant is growing very slowly but admittedly it is growing in a desert area. Polonaise is also a fine plant but the leaves on mine burn in the sun in the spot it's in. Griff's Red is really an outstanding red rose..fragrant, huge blooms, a beautiful shape, and very clean leaves.
    Simon Estes is a really pretty one that blooms alot, and reminds me of English roses. Quietness too has OGR form and nice fragrance..really an outstanding plant. My Distant Drums just bit the dust.. I think it can't take the heat as well as some. Hawkeye Belle does well here but the blooms are much prettier in cool weather.

  • roselee z8b S.W. Texas
    11 years ago

    I've grown quite a few Buck roses through the years and my favorite is Prairie Sunrise. It's perfectly healthy here in SW Texas and the blooms don't shrink like some do when it gets really hot. The bush size remains fairly small getting to about 3 1/2 to 4 ft tall and wide and it's also very fragrant.

    It's interesting that roses bred for the north also do well in the south. Another 'northern' rose that does very well here is Morden's Blush.

  • ibheri
    11 years ago

    Ingrid, the two that I am growing are Winter Sunset and Carefree Beauty. Winter Sunset is actually doing great, lots of blooms even in this hot TX weather (esp with the drought), ofcourse I water it good. The foliage is pretty good, can't complain actually much better than the TX superstar Nacogdoches (grandma's yellow rose). Don't know why I am drawing a comparison between the two, maybe becuase they are next to each other in my yard :)The flower shape may not be as beautiful as the English roses, I will try and take a picture of the whole bush and post it for you. Carefree Beauty is still a baby, so I really can't comment but again CB is an earthkind and I am positive its going to do well. I have also read that several of the roses chosen for the earthkind program have some connection to Dr. Buck roses. Either their parents are buck roses.. something on those lines.

  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9
    Original Author
    11 years ago

    Thank you so much for the interesting responses. My feeling from what you're all saying is that the Buck roses are not first-tier plants for my climate, with perhaps the exception of Quietness and Carefree Beauty, two roses that I've been interested in for a long time but haven't grown. Griff's Red sounds very nice except that I have a great aversion to red roses. The teas, small Bourbons, and some of the Austins seem to do best here and I think I'll stick with the tried and true.

    Ingrid

  • landperson
    11 years ago

    Ingrid, the only Buck rose I have is Distant Drums and she is quite young so I can't tell you her track record. However, I have seen mature plants and she has always looked very healthy and quite attractive (although a bit boring to tell you the truth.

    Vintage has her available right now on her own roots.

    Her sweet mutable coloring might fit in with what I think you tend to prefer in your garden.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Distant Drums at HMF

  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9
    Original Author
    11 years ago

    Susan, Distant Drums really is very pretty, especially when it has more of its lavender tones. I have to admit though, that the yellow/orange center is offputting to me. Thank you for thinking of me, though.

    Ingrid

  • roseseek
    11 years ago

    Ingrid, in my heat, DD didn't exhibit orange and yellow tones. They were more cinnamon and coffee, fading to a purple then lavender. The hotter and brighter it was, the faster the fade and shift to pale lavender. The intense myrrh fragrance shouldn't come as a surprise, being bred from pollen of The Yeoman. I second the praise of Morden Blush! It was, by far, the most bullet proof Canadian cold hardy rose in the mid desert! Amazing flower production and total freedom from any disease. Great rose there!

    I wasn't surprised by some of the Buck roses' disease issues as they weren't bred for such long growing seasons. Very often, the foliage ages faster than the season progresses with cold hardy plants. What I WAS impressed with was how much better their disease resistance was in that hotter, longer season than most of the Austin roses were to that date. It took a number of years for me to discover why. Buck, like Kordes and many others, not only selected for cold hardiness, but disease resistance. By Michael Marriott's statement at the GROTW 10 event, where he accepted the award for Austin, disease resistance takes a much lower position on their selection process, with 'the look', fragrance, flower beauty and color taking higher spots in the process. Instead of health being of greater importance, his statement that "health has to be acceptable" spoke volumes about the issues I, and many others, have experienced.

    I had been asked to present my tribute to Ralph Moore at the event. I stated Ralph admonished, "create a good plant first. It's always easy to hang a pretty flower on it later". Michael referenced that statement, responding the above. It should come as no surprise with that information why those roses respond the way they do in other than the climates they were selected in. Giving the devil the credit he's due, The Mayflower was one of the most disease resistant of any rose two blocks from the Pacific Ocean in Pacific Palisades. It amazed me how much it resembled an improved Portland and how wonderfully it performed there. Kim

  • sammy zone 7 Tulsa
    11 years ago

    Well, I think I will list my roses even though I live in Oklahoma.
    Square Dancer is not too big, but very pretty.
    Earth Song, Quietness, Prairie Breeze, Prairie Harvest, Pearlie Mae are pretty here. Folksinger is a good one as is April Moon.

    Country Dancer and Simon Estes are quite small and to me look alike.

    I have 2 Carefree Beauty roses. They are steady bloomers and a pretty pink, but you should know that as a plant mine are rather "carefree" rather than stiff, and the blooms are on the loose side. The plants are tall enough that is isn't too noticeable that they tend to be loose, but had I realized this, I may have chosen a different location.

    I also have Winter Sunset and Wanderin Wind. I think they are Buck, but possibly not.

    I love all my roses, and discard those that have disease.

    I think you will be pleased with the Buck roses.

    Sammy

  • roseseek
    11 years ago

    Thank you for mentioning April Moon, Sammy. I have wondered, based upon how it did here, if this one could be used like Iceberg in harsher climates? In the heat, April Moon had real flower power! It was clean, insistent to flower and very impressive. I used it with a Ralph Moore crested hybrid in an effort to improve the line. I think it has. Kim

    Here is a link that might be useful: April Mooncrest

  • jardineratx
    11 years ago

    I'm in southeast Texas and have found that many Buck roses do exceptionally well here. I have:
    EarthSong - absolutely deserves the earthkind label
    Barn Dancer - completely healthy, but blooms shrink and crisp in extreme heat
    RuralRhythm - Beautiful form, great disease resistance and very nice mounding form and blooming in this heat
    Amiga Mia - Upright grower that is continuing to bloom in this awful heat
    NightSong - Completely disease free, but is in a shady area so blooms are sparse
    Quietness - Has been slow to establish (grown from cutting), but has excellent disease resistance and beautiful bloom form
    The blooms on my Buck roses (for the most part) have faded and shrunk in the heat, but no more so than my teas, chinas, and noisettes. I had the opportunity to see the trial gardens at Chambless last year and saw the performance of these roses and, seeing them there, I plan to add more "Bucks" this fall.
    Molly

  • luxrosa
    11 years ago

    Except for Golden Unicorn and Distant Drums" I find Buck roses to be rather plain compared to O.G.R.s and Austin roses, and I hope I am not hurting any ones' feelings by stating an opinion.
    Plus none of the Buck roses bloom as often as China and Tea roses in the San Francisco bay area, because Bucks' pretty roses were bred to become dormant during Autumn.

    Lux.

  • roseseek
    11 years ago

    That's pretty much what I was intimating, Lux. OK shrubs, some rather nice, a few not so great. I particularly liked Prairie Star. "Austin-esque" style open flowers, elegant color, unusual fragrance. Kim

    Here is a link that might be useful: Prairie Star

  • sammy zone 7 Tulsa
    11 years ago

    Kim, when I was spraying for black spot, I used Prairie Star in a horseshoe around my rose bed. I thought it had a dramatic look, and to me was beautiful. Once I stopped spraying, they began dropping leaves with black spot. THey are gone now.

    April Moon from Chamblees is yellow. In our heat it looks almost white with yellow shadows, but it is not pink. I checked your link, Kim, in HMF, and all of the roses are pink.

    It seems odd to me that HMF roses are pink, but Chamblees roses are light yellow, and shown as such in his catalog.

    Once you stop spraying for black spot in my climate, your rose options become rather slim. I have appreciated all of my non pink roses since I want the variety. Sadly, I only have found one red I can grow, Cramoisi Superieur.

    Sammy

  • roseseek
    11 years ago

    Hi Sammy, sorry for the confusion. April Moon is light yellow fading white. The link I sent was for April MoonCREST, my hybrid of it with Ralph Moore's crested hybrid, MORcrest. Yes, it is pink and has crested sepals.

    Too bad Prairie Star is so heavily black spotted for you. There are four populations of black spot in the US. What is resistant to one, is likely not resistant to the others. Of all the roses tested to date, only Applejack has shown resistance to all four, so if you want something as close to guaranteed resistant as possible, Applejack is your choice. Kim

  • Tessiess, SoCal Inland, 9b, 1272' elev
    11 years ago

    Hi Ingrid, I've never tried any Buck roses myself, but my friend Carol in Arkansas grows them, and I asked her about which ones on the phone last night. She says she grows Prairie Harvest, Prairie Sunrise, and Carefree Beauty, no spray and loves them. All of them are in pots in the sun, no shade at all. This week it has been over 100 degrees there, and I understand, pretty miserable and humid! She hand waters her potted roses in this heat, and some are doing much better than others in handling the high temps. These Bucks have been some of the best, for her area, but then again it's not the same kind of heat as California. She won't be posting on Gardenweb because she told me everytime she tries to visit, the pages just hang and try to load forever. I'm going to try to convince her its worth some extra effort to get the pages to load since there is a wealth of info here.

    This is for another one of the recent threads, but this same friend also grows Wise Portia in a pot. Acquired this year. She told me she saw a spot on one of the leaves so went ahead and sprayed for blackspot (with neem oil). So she doesn't know actually how well this rose would do without spraying as she hasn't tried. But with the one-spraying it is doing fine. The first blooms were absolutely gorgeous and purpley and loaded with petals. Then she said the second flush was bright, bright pink and with far fewer petals and if she hadn't known better she'd swear it was a different rose.

    Oh and you might be interested in this rose, she has a sport of Duchesse de Brabant, named Madame Cara that is also doing really well in the heat. She got Madame Cara from Kaye Kettrey (she has a HMF listing but it isn't nearly up-to-date).

    Melissa

  • sammy zone 7 Tulsa
    11 years ago

    Kaye is a wonderful person who used to post here all the time. Now from time to time she pops in. Her garden is magnificent. They live in the country, and have a beautiful garden.

  • greybird
    11 years ago

    Carefree Beauty and Quietness baked in our dry heat and intense sunlight. Foliage dehydrated/sunburned and flowered little to none during the summer.

  • sabalmatt_tejas
    11 years ago

    I love Distant Drums and Carefree Beauty. I grew both in my Missouri garden as well. Carefree beauty is very cold tolerant, heat tolerant, drought resistant, disease resistant and ever blooming. It takes time for the entire shrub to fill out, but I find the shape and growth of an established plant to look very nice overall. Carefree Beauty is an Earthkind selection and the parent of many tough roses including knock out. I find it superior to knock out though. I grow the white sport of carefree beauty as well. I love the coloring and myhrr scent of distant drums. I don't grow it, but find winter sunset to be a superb performer.

  • alameda/zone 8/East Texas
    11 years ago

    I dont think Dorcas has been mentioned - it has lovely HT shaped blooms and blooms madly all year. It is in full all day hot Texas sun.

  • greybird
    11 years ago

    In my case, the heat is very dry and desert-like, without the humidity of DFW and east TX. Probably much like Ingrid's Mediterranian setting, with the oven turned up a few degrees.

  • dennisb1
    11 years ago

    I have 1 buck rose, Winter Sunset. While it gets hot here, 100's on occasion, I suspect it is not as dry as the west coast.

    It's relatively small, a near constant bloomer, disease resistant (haven't actually seen any at all) and completely winter hardy.

    For me it doesn't get any easier, it think it's one of my favs. If I wasn't looking to scale back i'd look into more buck roses.

  • seil zone 6b MI
    11 years ago

    If the performance of my Buck roses in this current heat wave is any indication, than I'd say they do very well! Every one of my Buck roses, Winter Sunset, Country Music, Rural Rhythm, Quietness and Iobelle, are in bloom and disease free at this time. And the blooms themselves are holding up well in the heat too!

  • mudbird
    11 years ago

    I live in Zone 10 southern California, but within the coastal zone which has misty conditions spring-earkt summer, then settles into a true Mediterranean climate by August which continues till December when the rains start. Many roses will mildew, ball and sulk here during spring - early summer, and then after the dry weather takes over in August, the same sulky roses will bloom beautifully and have clean foliage till December. I tried growing Carefree Beauty last year - probably planted it in June - a nice healthy ownroot rose from ARE with really strong roots. After the first few weeks in the ground and a promising initial burst of growth, CB just sulked and mildewed. It did not improve after the dry sunny late summer settled in, so I shovelpruned it in December. I sometimes gift unhappy roses to a friend's garden in Topanga Canyon which tho inland from Malibu has 100+ temps in the summer, and these roses are often very happy there as long as they get enough water. So maybe CB would do better in a more classic southern California climate than my microclimate provides.

  • michaelg
    11 years ago

    Iowa can be very hot in summer, so it should't surprise people that most Buck roses are reasonably heat tolerant. But they were primarily selected for hardiness (compared to HTs) along with broad similarity to the bush roses popular at the time.* Blackspot was the primary disease pressure, and a lot of Buck roses have above average blackspot resistance. Considering these conditions for selection, it would be pure luck if some Buck roses turned out to be well-adapted to California. Likewise, relatively few California-bred roses are well adapted to the eastern half of the US. I just realized I grow only a handful of California-bred roses.

    * At the end of his career, Buck raised two very good roses with somewhat old-style, very double flowers--Prairie Sunrise and Quietness. I wonder if he discarded a lot of seedlings earlier because they had that form.

  • ilovemyroses
    11 years ago

    echoing others, but, Distant Drums died in the heat. plently of water for it's neighbors, but, just died. and, Golden Princess (2 of them in separate areas) died.

    i wonder if some of these are great for cold, but can't handle heat. altho Summer Wind is looking great, really growing quite well in the heat. a few are stagnant. Carefree Wonder, for one.

    a shame. i had high hopes for these. got them at Chamblee's, and assumed they would do well in a 'like' environment. of course, this summer is particularly tough. but these roses DIED, no struggle for life, no holding on, just rolled over and died.

    :(

    and GOlden Princess is SO pretty. i had high hopes for her. one of very FEW roses i have more than one of.

    funny tho, so many David Austins take the sun so well! Kansas versus England????? go figure!

  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9
    Original Author
    11 years ago

    I wanted to get a lot of feedback before I even thought of ordering one of these roses. The only reason I even considered it was because I already had an order in from Chamblee's and they have a huge selection of Buck roses.

    Ingrid

  • roselee z8b S.W. Texas
    11 years ago

    I'm taking the risk of repeating myself, but it so surprising to me how well Prairie Sunrise and Quietness are doing and blooming in spite of the triple digit heat we've had for weeks on end that I'm doing it anyway :-)

    Quietness is a fairly recently rooted cutting that has grown by leaps and bounds right out in the hot sun. It had one big pretty fully double bloom, but after satisfying my curiosity to see what it was like I'm disbuding it now.