This Week It Is Five New Rose Bush Cultivars
by Art Drysdale
by Art Drysdale


Art Drysdale, a life-long resident of Toronto and a horticulturist well known all across Canada, is now a resident of Parksville, British Columbia on Vancouver Island, just north of Nanaimo. He has reno-vated an old home and has a new garden there. His radio gardening vignettes are heard in south-western Ontario over radio station Easy 101 FM out of Tillsonburg at 2 PM weekdays.

Art also has his own website at

January 31, 2016

Above, the Oscar Peterson rose; Peach Lemonade rose; and Koko Loko floribunda rose. Below, Oh My! floribunda rose; and Sparkle and Shine floribunda rose.




This week I have five new roses to report to you, and I’ll start with a new member of the now famed Canadian Artists series.

Oscar Peterson, a Canadian born jazz pianist and composer, is known as one of the world’s greatest. His illustrious career lasted more than 60 years and was embellished with numerous awards and honours, including eight Grammy Awards.

Oscar Peterson’s music was seamless, as if it flowed from his fingers like a spring of clear water. Those who understand music know that such perfection is the result of hard work and endless practice.

It is fitting that the new ‘Oscar Peterson’ rose has attributes of perfection. Its flawless, deep green foliage acts as a perfect foil for blossoms that appear as if from a never ending floral spring. These glossy leaves are the result of the hard work and patience of generations of breed-ers who have worked to create roses with superb hardiness, disease resistance and great beauty.

The semi-double flowers begin life in a shade of softest yellow cream, especially in cooler weather. Often the tips of the petals are lightly touched by red. Soon cream turns to glistening bright white and a contrasting boss of golden yellow stamens. The flowers are arranged in sprays, and, like a musician who finishes his set with style, the petals drop cleanly away once the show is over.

This rose is a class act that does not spread across the bed with bothersome suckers. It grows upright to slightly spreading, making it a good specimen plant or an ideal hedging rose.

Oscar Peterson was a tough and relentless performer and his rose namesake lives up to those standards. This is among the hardiest roses that have appeared in the Canadian Artist Series, being able to survive temperatures of -35° with nary a bud damaged. The flowers appear with-out a break from late spring till the fall frosts close the curtain on its outstanding performance. It will have you shouting for an encore, and like its generous namesake, will no doubt deliver on your request.

Our second rose new this year is Peach Lemonade. This multi-coloured rose is sweet and special. Blooms start out lemon yellow, then fade to a blush pink. Because of its continual bloom from summer through fall, you’ll get both yellow and pink roses on the plant at the same time—a truly unique display. Dark green glossy foliage is featured. It is incredibly easy to grow and maintain, very disease-resistant. Re-bloom will be stronger if the finished blooms are removed, but it will self-clean.

This rose is exceptionally disease-resistant. It is a full sun plant that is cold hardy to zone 4. It grows 91 cm (3 ft.) tall and wide and has a generally rounded shape.

The third rose has an intriguing name: Koko Loko. It is a floribunda rose introduced by the huge rose growing firm, Weeks Roses. The cocoa colour of Koko Loko is creamy like latte at the outset but the latte goes loco to finish all lavender. This early-to-bloom rose has a moderate fragrance. Early to bloom, every lovely bud spirals open with impeccable show form. The flowers last long on both the plant and in a vase. Beyond its novelty there lies a great plant—rounded, handsome and bushy floribunda rose—chock full of clean green leaves.

Koko Loko grows to a height of 40 cm (15 in.) and a width of 60 cm (2 ft.)

Fourth in the line-up this week if another floribunda called Oh My! For a lot of people there just is no other colour that says ‘rose’ than velvety red. This is the red that North Americans love: deep enough, bright enough, velvety enough, long lasting enough.—it’s just right. Better yet that colour comes in great clusters of ruffled flowers showing off against the backdrop of dark red-green leaves with very good disease resistance. The bushy full plant could be used as a flowerful hedge, a showy mass planting or just by itself—a red beacon for your garden.

This one grows to 52 cm (20 in.) high and 26 cm (10 in.) wide.

My final rose bush suggestion this week is yet another floribunda This is a rose with great clusters of flowers on a rounded bushy plant, ‘Sparkle & Shine’ features brighter, longer-lasting yellow colour. The rose also provides bigger, moderately fragrant flowers, glossier foliage and handsome dark red new growth.

Expect Sparkle & Shine to grow to 39 cm (15 in.) high and 29 cm (11 in.) wide.

New roses generally are well distributed by garden centres across the country. If you have difficulty finding any of these five, just try at a few other garden centres or check the Web to find the closest garden centre selling the one you are searching.


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