The Musk Austin Roses

Susanne27(5a Ontario Canada)February 28, 2014

Of all the Austin roses I seem to be drawn to the Musk line. I think it is the upward facing blossoms that I prefer. Naturally, I prefer the ones that are probably the least hardy in my area. Anyone in the colder regions including zone 5 have experience with these roses? Some of my favourites are Charlotte, Queen of Sweden, Molineaux, and Crocus Rose.


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rideauroselad E.Ont4b

I don't know how Mr. Austin came up with these classifications. His Musk rose group is a bit difficult to understand based on the breeding of the roses in the group where it is available. I don't see a lot of Rosa Moschata, or Hybrid Musk for that matter in their breeding.

Of the roses you list, I have grown a number and find that with one or two exceptions, most of them are too tender for my climate. I live in Eastern Ontario about 80 kms North of Kingston.

The ones that I have trialed here and that are now gone due to lack of cold hardiness include: Graham Thomas, Molineux, and Pegasus.

Charlotte is gone, because she did not bloom well and the flowers there were did not open well in the humidity. I can't remember how well she did with respect to winter hardiness, but note she gets only a good member rating for cold hardiness on HMF and is again grown in a number of zone 4 and 5 gardens.

The ones that remain, but struggle are Jayne Austin and Heritage. Evelyn is not all that hardy, but vigorous enough to come back year after year and perform quite well, though quite susceptible to rust in my garden.

The one outstanding member for health, vigour and cold hardiness in this group is The Crocus Rose. One of the hardiest Austin yellows, and super vigorous and bushy. She would make a fine hedge rose in a climate slightly warmer than mine.

Queen of Sweden, I have not trialed, but I see on Help Me Find Roses that she gets 4 Excellent member ratings for cold hardiness and is grown in such zone 4 and 5 climates in Russia, the Czech Republic, Colorado and Illinois, so perhaps she is worth a try in your zone. Interestingly, Charlotte is one of her parents and Charlotte does have both Rugosa and Gallica close up in its breeding line which often imparts a little extra cold hardiness.

Hope this helps a little.

Cheers, RRL

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 12:28PM
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nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska

That just goes to show what a difference one zone number can make! All the four you list I grow in my zone 5 Nebraska yard, and all are easily hardy. In fact, most of them are tip hardy as I can recall. Queen of Sweden I have in both my zone 6 pocket and zone 4 pocket of my yard, and it hasn't complained about the cold in either place, so I think RRL would be justified in giving it a try in his zone. I agree that Charlotte is among the wimpier of my Austins, not just for shortness (which is often an asset among Austins) but for infrequent and relatively unexciting blooms. QOS and Molinieux are highly recommended from my yard.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 1:46PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

It's the difference in longitude. Over the years, one of the magic pieces of information I've discovered is that roses gain about half a zone of hardiness between here and Illinoi. So my dieback is roughly comparable to people who list themselves as zone 4/5 Illinois. Then another half zone is picked up between Illinois and Colorado.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 2:13PM
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Susanne27(5a Ontario Canada)

Thank you Rick and Cynthia. I appreciate the input. I am in south central Ontario about an hour north of Toronto and on very sandy soil.

I have been pouring over the 2014 Austin catalogue and noticed that the ones I like just happen to be mostly what they call the Musk group. I also noticed that these same roses appear later in the catalogue in a list for "best roses for cutting". I realize that picking out roses for aesthetic purposes and not zone hardiness is probably not a good idea.

However, since gardening is an ongoing and enjoyable experiment for me, I have decided to order Boscobel, The Alnwick Rose, Queen of Sweden and Darcy Bussell.
These appeared in a Collection Offer at a lesser price.

Years ago I got an Abraham Darby as a gift. This is the only Austin rose I have ever had. It dies almost to the ground and then comes back faithfully every year so far but it gets only a few spindly branches and only 2 or three roses that nod. The roses come later and then don't repeat. Its not very impressive but on the other hand, I have done nothing to help it out. I usually don't protect it for winter, give it extra water or even fertilize it.

What I am hoping, is that if I give these new Austins and all my other rose some really good care that I might get a better result with blossoms all summer and some fragrant roses for cutting.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 2:14PM
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of the roses that you listed I grow - Charlotte - Crocus Rose - and Queen of Sweden all do good in my Z5 garden, I do tend to have some problem with black spot. but they come back each year with average die back. can't tell you about the performance of them because of the Japanese Beetles infestation that i get each year,but the color of the blooms is exactly as pictured in David Austin's magazine's that i get each year. hope that helps with your question - happy gardening

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 7:09PM
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