Hardy Roses from Der Rosenmeister

– Posted in: Roses

Lee Ginenthal loves roses. And it’s a good thing for me, and for all you cold climate gardeners out there, that Lee decided to focus on hardy roses which thrive in USDA hardiness zones 5, 4, and even 3.

Lee Ginenthal, owner of Der Rosenmeister hardy rose nursery

Lee Ginenthal, owner of Der Rosenmeister hardy rose nursery

Lee operates Der Rosenmeister nursery from his home outside of Ithaca, NY. I visited there in mid-June with Elizabeth Licata, editor of Buffalo Spree, who also blogs at Gardening While Intoxicated and Garden Rant. We were in Ithaca to visit the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days gardens, but I wanted to pick up a rose my daughter admired for her birthday.

The Germans Have Us Beat

Hardy roses can be found in all classifications and types, from heirlooms to recent hybrids, from shrubs to ramblers to climbers. Lee was quick to point out that the Germans are way ahead of us in breeding roses for cold hardiness and disease resistance, thanks to the leadership of the Kordes nursery. For example, their Vigorosa roses are “known for disease resistance, cold hardiness, ease of care and constancy of bloom.”

A Hardy Rose Sampler

June is the perfect time to visit a rose nursery, as most of the spring bloomers are at the height of their powers. Roses just spilled out everywhere. If you ever doubted that roses could grow in cold climates, a walk around the display gardens would have put that doubt to rest. As we toured the nursery, Lee gave us a running commentary on each rose as we drew near it. Here’s some of what he shared with us.

‘Brite Eyes’, hybridized by Bill Radler, is genetically resistant to rose midge. “It is a pink blend, smallish climber/large shrub- disease free, broad leaved foliage, beautiful buds showing pink and yellow.”

Russell's Cottage Rose, an heirloom variety

Russell's Cottage Rose, an heirloom variety

‘Russell’s Cottage Rose’ is an hybrid multiflora rambler from before 1826, violet-red fading to lavender and slate gray, strong fragrance, hardy to zones 3-4, very vigorous 10 to 20 feet.”

‘Kazanlik’, also called Rosa damascena tringintipetala, is one of the roses used to make attar of roses. As you might expect, it is wonderfully fragrant and great for potpourri. We had a sniff of Lee’s shrub, and ah, yes! it smells like roses! Lee didn’t mention its hardiness, but Growing Roses in Cold Climates
says it is hardy to Zone 5.

Lillian Gibson

Lillian Gibson

‘Lillian Gibson’ is a Rosa blanda hybrid, developed by Niels Hansen in 1938. It is hardy to zone 3, a once bloomer with a sweet fragrance and thornless new growth that is red in the winter.” (Also pictured in the top photo of the nursery.)

‘Geschwinds Schönste’ was long considered the best hardy multiflora red climber. “It fades to pink from red as it ages. Probably zone 4. I believe it is superseded now by ‘Quadra’, a Canadian Explorer red climber.” (More about Geschwind here.)

‘Red Corsair’ “is a Kordes climber- gorgeous red new growth, blood red flowers. Stunning in the landscape. Can be grown as a large shrub or climber.” (This rose has a lot of names: KORramalu, ‘Temptress’, and ‘Rote Korsar’.)

Custom Propagation, But No Mail Order

At the present time, Lee does not ship roses. You’ll just have to visit his nursery, where you can see the roses trained on every kind of structure imaginable. He makes the structures himself.

Some of the rose structures, as seen from the hoop house.

Some of the rose structures, as seen from the hoop house.

Lee does, however, custom propagate roses, as he explains, “For custom propagation, customers need to let me know by July 1 what they want propagated and pay for it then… I get my propagating done the first week in July or work to locate a source for them. The rose would be available the following May.”

A Horticultural Vacation

If you can reasonably drive to Ithaca, NY, you’ll find plenty of other horticultural places of interest to visit, even if you don’t manage to arrive for an Open Days weekend.

Further Reading

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

Now, the digging and dividing of perennials, the general autumn cleanup and the planting of spring bulbs are all an act of faith. One carries on before the altar of delayed gratification, until the ground freezes and you can’t do any more other than refill the bird feeder and gaze through the window, waiting for the snow. . . . Meanwhile, it helps to think of yourself as a pear tree or a tulip. You will blossom spectacularly in the spring, but only after the required period of chilling.

~Adrian Higgins in The Washington Post, November 6, 2013

Comments on this entry are closed.

iain simpson May 14, 2014, 1:43 pm

what super looking gantlets, just what’s needed. can you please give me supplier details. since I saw them on your blog re. pruning, I’ve searched UK and found nothing comparable.
Iain Simpson

judy der aunt July 5, 2010, 9:25 pm

iam comming to see this in person some day i promise!!!!!!!!!!!

Donalyn July 11, 2009, 12:40 pm

It’s definitely on my list of places to visit – along with about 25 others 😉
.-= Donalyn´s last blog ..If you need me for anything =-.

JoeLand July 10, 2009, 2:19 pm

Those are beautiful roses I wish I could travel to NY to at the very least visit.

Chiot's Run July 8, 2009, 11:49 am

I’d love to get a few hardy roses the ones I have die back each year and they look worse and worse each year.
.-= Chiot’s Run´s last blog ..Summer Fun: Swimming =-.

Nicolescu Ana-Maria July 7, 2009, 1:47 pm

Beautiful garden.Congratulations!

heirloomgardener July 6, 2009, 9:55 pm

Wow, that sounds like a great visit. I particularly love Russell’s Cottage Rose.
.-= heirloomgardener´s last blog ..New Blogger Gadget Added: Recent Comments =-.

commonweeder July 6, 2009, 9:46 am

I really appreciated the names of those hardy roses. I’ll be looking for them at other nursseries since I won’t be getting up to Ithaca any time soon.
.-= commonweeder´s last blog ..At Least It Didn’t Snow =-.

Kathy Purdy July 6, 2009, 9:57 am

You can also check Lee’s website for a list of roses he grows. The designation ADR means it has passed a rigorous German rose trial. Any rose that has that designation (not necessarily from Der Rosenmeister) should be very disease resistant.