Climbing roses

jennypat Zone 3b NW MN(Zone 3b NW MN)September 8, 2006

Can anyone recommend a climbing rose that is hardy here in MN? Specifically zone 3 hardy. I have an old tv antennea tower in my yard, and would like to plant some clematis and roses on it.


Jenny P

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How about John Davis? I have this one I just planted it this year it's growing really nice It will have flowers on it next season can't wait to see them.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2006 at 6:36PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

or William Baffin. Mine burned to the ground a couple of years ago (long story) and is back to 8 feet. I never cover or protect it in any way. Some people say it suckers too much, but mine never has.


    Bookmark   September 9, 2006 at 6:26AM
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I just de-Baffinated my yard this spring and spent two hours Saturday vanquishing 'John Cabot.' These are really, big, lusty, shrub roses with long canes. They spread and sucker all over the place. Amazing spring (scentless) bloom with a few little flowers thereafter. If you attempt these for climbers, be assured they will pull you antenna out of the ground in five years. Be prepared for a lot of work with Baffin.

The recommendation for 'John Davis' is good. That one reblooms a lot and the canes are almost thornless. Even better is the old rose 'Lillian Gibson.' That one has such profuse flowers, long, supple, thornless canes. And Lillian has the added bonus of red canes and amazing fall foliage color (bright yellow).

    Bookmark   September 11, 2006 at 9:15AM
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I've got a Baffin and it pretty much tore apart the trellis I had for it. I've let it grow into a massive shrub now instead of trying to get it to climb on something. It has a spectacular display, like a giant fountain of roses with a fairly long blooming season. I like it because all I have to do is cut out a few dead canes every once in a while.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2006 at 2:25PM
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jel48(Z4 Michigan)

I have two Baffins, which I planted summer before last. I didn't get anything in place for them to climb last summer, but my intention is to add an arbor. I take it from your update, that I'd better not go with a flimsy trellis ;-)

    Bookmark   January 2, 2007 at 10:42PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

I think my Baffin has put out 1 sucker in 8 years. Still love the thing.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2007 at 7:18PM
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I have had 'Ramblin Red' climbing shrub rose for two years now and think it's the best climber I have ever had. It is a zone 3, no die back, and absolutely best of all, blooms all summer. Got it at Gertens in Inver Grove Heights.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2007 at 5:23PM
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ladylotus(Z3/4 ND)

Greetings All,

It's been awhile since I've had time to frequent this forum. I have several great climbers:

John Davis
John Cabot
Henry Kelsey
William Baffin
Lilian Gibson
Ramblin Red

I love all of them. The only one I can't seem to get to climb which I've had since it first came out is Ramblin Red. But we have had drought conditions which might be playing a big part of that.

I would really like to find more climbers that would survive up here. I am going to the National Rose Convention there in Minnesota this summer. I hope I can find some really nice hardy roses. Are any of you going?

    Bookmark   February 4, 2007 at 10:28PM
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cosmo1(z4 MN)

William Baffin is a great climber, very prolific. I don't have one myself, but a relative has it and its full of roses. I have the Ramblin Red. The horticulturist at Bachman's recommended it. Put it in last spring, and got several flushes. It was basically wanting to bloom toward the bottom and not on the tall canes. I'm going to stagger the cane's heights this summer so there will be more new growth. I was told it was a great bloomer / and it is everblooming / but I'm hold my blessings till summer's end.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2007 at 4:32PM
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jennypat Zone 3b NW MN(Zone 3b NW MN)

LOL Of all the roses that have been recommended here, the one I am most interested in is: Lilian Gibson I like the color of this one. I think it would look great with a jackmani Clematis.

Of course I can't find any where to purchase it! Any recommendations?

Jenny P

    Bookmark   February 21, 2007 at 4:56PM
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twohuskies(z4A Mpls, MN)

I LOVE Ramblin Red! Climbers usually take 3 years to settle in and really show what they can do. Last summer was the third for my RR and all I can say is wow! Mine is well over 10 feet wide by easily 8 feet tall. Just for reference the fence in this picture is 6' high.

Are there enough blooms????

    Bookmark   February 21, 2007 at 10:28PM
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jennypat Zone 3b NW MN(Zone 3b NW MN)

That looks great! To bad I don't want a red rose. I already have 2 red roses in my gardens. I really want something different.

Jenny P

    Bookmark   February 21, 2007 at 11:15PM
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North Creek Farm sells Lillian via mail order. The place is run by Suzy Verrier, the author of the famous rose books, 'Rosa Gallica' and 'Rosa Rugosa'

A similar rose to 'Lillian Gibson' is '"Victorian Memory' ('Isabella Skinner') only this one repeat blooms and is scented. Has fuller flowers than Lillian, too. I have no experience with this one, but will probably order this one from High Country Roses.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to High Country Roses

    Bookmark   February 22, 2007 at 11:49AM
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I have quite a few Lillian Gibsons. They are my easiest rose to propagateÂI've had cuttings root in ten daysÂand they grow fast as well. They are a blessing for Minnesota rose lovers. The only problem, if it IS a problem, is that it blooms only once, in mid-spring, but then on long arching and (as someone noted above) beautiful canes. GaryStPaul

    Bookmark   February 24, 2007 at 12:23PM
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If you're not opposed to mailorder, this is a great website.

They have a section specifically for hardy roses, as well as a section for climbing roses, and any other type of rose you might want. I'm thinking of getting New Dawn for the side of my dilapidated garage. It's described as a silvery blush pink, but it only goes to zone 4.

Here is a link that might be useful: Heirloom roses

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 3:56PM
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jennypat Zone 3b NW MN(Zone 3b NW MN)

I am not opposed to mail order but cannot find Lillian Gibson at the Heirloom site. And the North Creek Farm web site has the rose listed. But they don't have any contact information! A really nice list, but no way to order! That could be a problem.

Jenny P

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 4:13PM
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Jenny P: Here's an address for A North Creek Farm.

I wonder if a zone 4 would come back for you if it was mulched?

Heirloom Roses has the John Davis and William Baffin, but as you said it doesn't have Lillian Gibson.

Here is a link that might be useful: North Creek Farm

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 7:54PM
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Okay, one more posting and I'll leave you be! I just love to research on the web.

This website has a way to search for roses by zone. Just click on catalog, then zone, then your zone number. They have the Lillian Gibson.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rosefarm

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 9:18PM
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jennypat Zone 3b NW MN(Zone 3b NW MN)

HMM I swear I answered this yesterday, but I must not have posted it or something.

Anyway, I am on the border of zone 3&4 and have a lot of zone 4 plants in my garden. I think a zone 4 rose will work.

I keep thinking I want a climber, and that I don't want a red one. But as I look more, I see lots of other choices!

Now I am just confusing myself!

Jenny P

    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 4:46PM
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cosmo1(z4 MN)

Hey Twohuskies! That is a lovely Ramblin Red. Any special care? Mine will start year two this spring & I would love to be so successful with it. I composted it good late last fall & give it a good rose food from Bachman's. Your picture gives me hope, I already had no luck with a Clematis in the same spot, don't want to flunk out with this one too. So far the roses like to stay close to the ground. Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2007 at 3:04PM
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Does John Cabot have a fragrance? I've been contemplating getting this rose for years and it's always described as being fairly fragrant yet every posting I've read on it says it has no scent.... The same thing about William Baffin, it's always described as having a scent but the few I've come across in nurseries have absolutely no fragrance.

Does Rambin Red have a fragrance?

It's an idiosyncrasy of mine that I won't have a rose that does not have a fragrance.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2007 at 4:37PM
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Cabot and Baffin are scent-free. None. Nein. Niether does 'Ramblin Red.' The last one is a beautiful rose, however. I share your opinion of 'numb' roses.

I am giving a presentation on roses at tomorrow's MN State Horticultural Society's Seventh District Spring Fling. I'll be talking about the choices and trade offs we must make for roses, and then I'll show pictures of good roses, some of where have it all (scent, hardiness, repeat bloom, color). I'm on deck at 2:00

7th District East Metro Spring Fling
Saturday, Mar. 10, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Oakland Junior High School, 820 Manning Ave. E., Lake Elmo.
$30 fee includes gardening seminars and hot lunch.

651-653-7371, 651-779-7826 or

Here is a link that might be useful: MSHS calendar of events (Spring)

    Bookmark   March 9, 2007 at 5:10PM
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jennypat Zone 3b NW MN(Zone 3b NW MN)

Drat! Everything is either to far south for me, or happens when I have to be out of town on business! John what would you recommend for a rose, with a scent, one that could be trained on a trellis, preferably not red, but more towards apricot(or yellow, I looking for the complimentary color for a Jackmani clematis) for zone 3b. Full sun all day long!

Jenny P

    Bookmark   March 9, 2007 at 5:35PM
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Clematis 'Jackmanii' can go with a lot of colors: clear pink, white, warm yellows and oranges. Red, maybe, but probably not. Certainly not magenta.

Okay, I'll be right up front and tell you there are no warm colored, hardy, scented roses, for a trellis in zone 3 unless you were willing to take the rose down and bury it each fall. If you can to do this, than I would recommend 'Autumn Sunset' or its sport-sibling 'Westerland.' These are great, fragrant roses that are hardier than most tender roses, but even so, will die to the ground in a zone 4 winter unless buried.

A substitute may be the hybrid rugosa 'Agnes.' This one is really a twiggy, arching shrub with fragrant flowers of pale amber. Hardy in zone 3 and healthy too, but there are two catches: its rebloom is scattered if it happens at all; and it's a really shrub you must train (read: fight) into a short climber. There's a method to this, but it is a lot of work and vigilance to force a rose into a corset, so to speak. I have a friend in Milwaukee who does grow Agnes this way and his does do an autumn encore. I grew it for a few years as a shrub that bloomed once a year.

I grow 'Graham Thomas' as a perennial rose. It repeats a lot and meets all your requirements, but it is a five footer by the end of the season. In zone 6 and points south, it is a hardy climber.

Another option is to use a pink or white rose as is mentioned above. I'll vote again for 'Vctorian Memories' as a good repeater and true climber habit with nice scent.

Warm colored, hardy, repeat climbing roses are the holy grail of nothern rosarians. God and science have yet to deliver one. I have hunted down and rooted what I hope is a cutting of the near-extinct hardy yellow climber, 'Doubloons.' It's resting in a pot for the winter. This spring it goes into the ground. Check back in three years and I'll tell you how it does.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2007 at 10:16PM
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twohuskies(z4A Mpls, MN)

Cosmo- regarding Ramblin Red, no I don't give it any special care. It's in the back corner of my yard behind 4 foot chicken wire (to keep the dogs out!) and next to very aggressive raspberry bushes. Basically it's a nightmare to get back there to it. I don't do anything at all for winter protection and it's fine. I also don't spray for diseases since it's next to the berry patch and it does fine. I will admit though that RR gets sun the entire day and 7 years ago there was a huge elm tree removed from my yard in that corner so there is a large amound of decomposing tree roots back there. I think that has made for some very happy soil and most likely a very happy rose...

As a comparison I have Henry Kelsey, one of RR's parents, planted on the other side of the yard and after 3 years he looks nowhere near as nice. With HK I've only gotten a few 5 foot canes and he's had plenty of time to settle in. In this case a slightly less than ideal location may be to blame.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2007 at 9:18AM
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I went to Bachmans over the weekend and inside their greenhouse area they already had a bunch of potted roses... They had Ramblin Rose, John Cabot and Henry Kelsey...they were $21.99 each.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 3:49PM
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