P is for Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden

  • Post published:04/18/2013
  • Post comments:6 Comments


Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden

P is for the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden. I last visited this garden in November of 2009 when there was still plenty of bloom on view although you wouldn’t know it from this photo of the view from the entry to the Gazebo where Awakening roses twine around the beautiful iron framework.

Peter Kukielski, Former curator

I had gone to meet Peter Kukielski, self-taught rosarian, and the then curator of the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, transforming it into one of the most environmentally-friendly gardens in the world.  He more than tripled the number of roses in this garden which seemed miraculous. I asked him how he did that. He looked at me with just the trace of an impish smile, leaned toward me and said very softly, “I planted them closer together.” Surprise and laughter from me. A simple answer.  Last year Peter co-edited The Sustainable Rose Garden with Pat Shanley and Gene Waering, and is currently working on a new book.

Carefree Delight, a Griffith Buck Hybrid

Kukielski looked to the hybrid roses created by Dr. Griffith Buck at Iowa State University. Dr. Buck’s goal was to create winter hardy  roses that also had bood disease resistance.  I have several Buck roses including Applejack which greets people as they come up our road, and Quietness which is a miracle on the Rose Walk. Many of those beautiful roses are still available from Chamblee’s Nursery and Antique Rose Emportium.

Distant Drums, a Kordes Hybrid

He also looked to all the Kordes hardy, disease resistant hybrids.  Nearly thirty years ago the German government outlawed many of the common herbicides and pesticides and other chemicals that were commonly used on roses. That means German hybridizers began work right away to develop roses that could thrive without that help.

The Fairy, an Earth Kind rose

He not only looked at Earth Kind roses, he began a trial garden at the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden to locate and name more Earth Kind roses. Texas A & M set up a test garden, planting a number of roses and caring for them for one year, then giving them no further care for nine years. Those that  did well were named Earth Kind roses because they were disease resistant and did not need supplemental irrigation. The Fairy, a old trooper of a a floribunda. Lots of gardeners appreciated The Fairy’s hardiness and exhuberance long before it became an Earth Kind Rose.

I want to make the point that roses have changed. There are plenty of hybrid teas that still need a lot of fussing, but for those of us who have no inclination to fuss because of the work, or because we don’t want poisons in our garden there is a whole new world of beautiful roses that we can happily have blooming in our gardens. Do you have any roses in your garden?

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Denise Hammond

    I love the few roses I have in my garden. Unfortunately, the deer like them more than I do. They even EAT them. The roses are not quite so pretty when they are draped with deer netting.

  2. Pat

    Denise – THis is terrible. I only had one spring when the deer came and ate the first tender growth.

  3. Jemima Pett

    Am I allowed to confess that I don’t like roses? I like the shape, smell and form of the blooms, but I hate the plants. The ones in my garden are there on sufferance. I wouldnt have planted them. I’m glad somebody does, though.
    Happy A to Z-ing
    Jemima at Jemima’s blog

  4. Pat

    Jemima – We all have our passions – and our indifferences. That’s what makes horseraces and garden.

  5. Liz

    Earth Kind Roses? If I had any land, I would seek those out. Never heard of them before.

  6. Nadia

    I do love roses in my garden. The last time I counted (which was 4 years ago), I had over 200. But even though I have a significant number of them I am always captivated by the ones I’ve never seen before.. such as The Fairy.. so beautiful!!!

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