written by Judy Leahy | Earthheal Organic Garden
As our climate gets hotter and drier it is going to be a challenge to keep gardens of roses
going. We all know how much water, feeding and care shrubs roses need and even
though many Heritage roses are able to grow in less than ideal conditions, many are still
likely to be impacted by the rapid change in climate.
Enter the rugosa species and hybrid rugosa roses. These roses have had a less than enthusiastic reception from many Heritage rose growers and there has been a reluctance to grow plants that are perceived as being difficult to contain, are absolutely covered in often long and dense spines and are prone to rust. Many growers are not even aware of this group of hardy, drought tolerant roses. However, most rugosa roses are hardy, drought and salt tolerant, happily growing in light and sandy soils.
The colour range is from white through to deep carmine, red, yellow and gold. There are varying heights ranging from prostrate to very tall . Flower shapes are from tiny cluster trusses to double and
hugely single blooms. They require very little maintenance, being in the main very disease and pest resistant ( with just a few exceptions) and simply require removal of dead and weak canes rather than the usual traditional pruning. Plants grown on their own roots will happily sucker and make wonderful thickets of crinkled mid to deep green leaves topped by silky flowers during spring through to autumn. Favourites include Sarah Van Fleet, Conrad Ferdinand Meyer, Rugelda, Fimbriata, Anne Endt and Red Grootendort.
Campbell McGready, a well known vigneron and Heritage rose enthusiast living in the Great Southern of Western Australia, made it his mission to collect as many rugosa and rugosa hybrid roses as he could. He went to extraordinary lengths to obtain seed of overseas bred roses that had not been grown in Australia and made a wonderful collection of rugosas which grow on a north facing slope at the foot of the Porongurup Range.
Campbell died in January 2020 and there was a question about what to do with this collection. After a lot of searching and thought it was agreed with Campbell’s widow and his family that this collection would remain where it is and that it be made available to any one wishing to propagate and grow rugosa roses. The Great Southern branch of HRiA is involved in the management and maintenance of the collection - principally Sheryl Shaylor and Judy Leahy - who give advice and assistance when and where needed to ensure the plants are healthy. There are over 70 named varieties of rugosa rose in the collection and a catalogue of roses including their growth habits and heights has been compiled.
In the light of more and more stringent quarantine conditions imposed on importing roses
from the Eastern States and the fact that fewer and fewer nurseries are now growing these
generous and hardy roses , this collection is an important one, and one which has so
generously been made available to HRiA members .
If anyone would like to view the garden or is interested in taking cuttings please EMAIL JUDY LEAHY
or contact Sheryl Shaylor at Wayville Sur Mer in Albany to arrange a visit.
Click pdf to view the Campbell McGready Rugosa Collection 2021
McGready Rugosas 2021-2
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