Inula Royleana
Midwest Gardening
Explorer Roses

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Canadian Explorer Roses were developed to withstand the cold Canadian winters, but will also thrive in warm and humid summers.  The Explorer roses are very easy to care for, needing minimal or no spraying for disease and insects, and are hardy to -35 C with only snow to protect them.  Pruning requirements are minimal.

Check other pages for complete planting, Explorer Rose care, Explorer Rose pruning and disease information.

 

Canadian Explorer ‘Alexander Mackenzie’Hardy Explorer Alexander McKenzie Rose

  • Class:  Shrub Rose, climbing rose
  • Sun:  Full sun
  • Height:  5-6’
  • Spread:  4-7’
  • Growth Habit:  Climbing upright
  • Bloom Color:  Medium to deep red
  • Flower Form:  Double, with a classic rose look
  • Flower Size: Medium, 2-3”Alexander MacKenzie Canadian Explorer rose
  • Petal Count:  40-50
  • Bloom Season:  Repeat
  • Fragrance:  Moderate raspberry scent
  • Stem: Thorned
  • Foliage: Glossy light green
  • Disease Resistance:  Highly resistant to black spot and powdery mildew and rust
  • Soil:  Enriched well drained
  • Hardiness:  zone 3b-5

‘Alexander Mackenzie’s’ medium to deep red blooms have a classic look, resembling the blooms of grandiflora and hybrid tea roses.  The blooms are born in large clusters of very full double blooms.  The shrub grows vigorously, tall and upright.  The foliage opens tinted with red, then matures to darker green.  Blooms repeat minimally.  Disease resistance is very good but may be slightly susceptible to powdery mildew.   Prune spent blooms to encourage repeated blooms.  This is a great shrub rose for groupings with its’ striking bloom color, or as a specimen plant, or in a shrub border.  ‘Alexander Mackenzie’ will also make a wonderful pillar rose, climbing to 6 or 8 feet when left unpruned.  Will survive to zone 3b without protection, further north protection is necessary.  -25 to -35F may cause dieback, but the rose will grow back true from own roots.  In spring, remove dead, diseased, and old canes.  Cut back remaining canes by one third.

 

Canadian Explorer ‘Captain Samuel Holland’Captain Samuel Holland Canadian Explorer Rose

  • Class:  Shrub Rose
  • Sun:  Full sun
  • Height:  6-10’
  • Spread:  5’
  • Growth Habit:  Spreading, trailing
  • Bloom Color:  Bright reddish pink
  • Flower Form:  Double
  • Flower Size: Medium, 3”
  • Petal Count:  15-25
  • Bloom Season:  Recurrent, June to frost
  • Fragrance:  Slight fragrance
  • Stem: Thorned
  • Foliage: Glossy dark green
  • Disease Resistance:  Highly resistant to black spot, powdery mildew and rust
  • Soil:  Enriched well drained
  • Hardiness:  zones 3-9

‘Captain Samuel Holland’ is an ideal pillar rose.  It grows 6 to 10 feet tall with trailing canes that are just right to train for a pillar, arbor or fence.  If left unsupported, the shrub will instead spread to a sprawling shrub.  When grown in full sun the shrub flowers freely all season.  Double blooms are born in clusters of 1 to 10, and make an excellent cut flower.  Hips are ornamentally insignificant.  Prune out one third of the oldest canes to the ground each spring to maintain an open form and encourage new cane growth.  If growing as a shrub, also remove one third or more of the cane height to control size.  The shrub is not too fussy about pH and soil type, and is fairly tolerant of urban conditions.  Although very disease resistant, like most roses, ‘Captain Samuel Holland’ is susceptible to aphids and the Japanese beetle.  Propagates easily from softwood cuttings.  Will survive to zone 3a without protection, further north protection is necessary.

Canadian Explorer ‘Champlain’Champlain Canadian Explorer Rose

  • Class:  Shrub Rose
  • Sun:  Full sun, will tolerate some shade
  • Height:  3-4’
  • Spread:  3-4’
  • Growth Habit:  Compact
  • Bloom Color:  Bright to dark red
  • Flower Form:  Semi double
  • Flower Size: Medium to Large, 2 1/2-3”
  • Petal Count:  30
  • Bloom Season:  Everblooming
  • Fragrance:  Mild fragrance
  • Stem: Thorned, 5-10” long
  • Foliage: Glossy medium greenHardy Champlain Explorer Rose
  • Disease Resistance:  Some resistance to powdery mildew, little to moderate  resistance to black spot.
  • Soil:  Enriched well drained loam, slightly acidic
  • Hardiness:  zone 3 and warmer

Brilliant red  double blooms with dark edges are mildly fragrant and 2 1/2 to 3”, born singly on 5-10’ stems from June to October.  Flowering is quite free and continuous without encouragement.  Orange hips form in fall.  ‘Champlain’ exhibits superior hardiness to zone 3, but will experience minor winter injury in zones 3 and 4 that requires tip pruning.  Creates a nice informal hedge, pleasing in groupings in perennial or shrub borders, cottage gardens or foundation planting.  Will survive to zone 3a without protection, further north protection is necessary.

 

Canadian Explorer ‘David Thompson’David Thompson Canadian Explorer rose

  • Class:  Shrub Rose, Rugosa parentage
  • Sun:  Full sun
  • Height:  4-6’
  • Spread:  4-6’
  • Growth Habit:  Compact, upright
  • Bloom Color:  Very red
  • Flower Form:  Double, flat
  • Flower Size: Medium to large, 2 1/2 - 3”
  • Petal Count:  25
  • Bloom Season:  Repeating, June through September
  • Fragrance:  Strong fragrance
  • Stem: Nearly thornless
  • Foliage: Serrated dark green leaves
  • Disease Resistance:  Excellent resistance to blackspot, powdery mildew and rust
  • Soil:  Enriched well drained
  • Hardiness:  zone 2b - 7

‘David Thomson’ is a stunning shrub that flowers very freely all summer long.  It is super hardy, surviving easily in zone 2 with no winter kill, and only occasional experiencing minor injury.  Resistance to blackspot and powdery mildew is excellent, but the blooms are somewhat susceptible to the Japanese Beetle and aphids.  With Rugosa parentage, ‘David Thomson’ does NOT like spraying with chemicals.  Use as a specimen plant, in masses, for informal hedges or in shrub borders.   Unfortunately, ‘David Thomson’ does not produce hips.  The plant will propagate easily from softwood stem cuttings.  Renewal prune each spring, head back to control size.  Will survive to zone 2a without protection, further north protection is necessary.

 

Canadian Explorer ‘Frontenac’Frontenac Canadian Explorer rose

  • Class:  Shrub Rose
  • Sun:  Full sun
  • Height:  3-4’
  • Spread: 3’
  • Growth Habit:  Compact, upright
  • Bloom Color:  Deep pink with white petal base
  • Flower Form:  Semi double, in clusters
  • Flower Size: Medium to large, 3 - 3 1/2”
  • Petal Count:  20-25
  • Bloom Season:  Repeating
  • Fragrance:  Mild
  • Stem: Thorned
  • Foliage: Dark green
  • Disease Resistance:  Good resistance to blackspot, powdery mildew and rust
  • Soil:  Enriched well drained
  • Hardiness:  zone 3 and warmer

‘Frontenac’ produces double blooms in clusters of 6 to 8, repeating floriferously.  The shrub is nearly completely covered with blooms at its’ peak in June, then repeat blooming continues through September.  Deep pink blooms don’t fade out, these are excellent cutting flowers.  Use for mass plantings, foundation plantings, shrub borders or a striking low hedge.  With consistent snow cover, ‘Frontenac’ sustains only minimal injury to zone 3.  Will survive to zone 3a without protection, further north protection is necessary.  The plant propagates easily from softwood cuttings.

 

Canadian Explorer ‘Henry Hudson’Henry Hudson

  • Class:  Shrub Rose, Rugosa parentage
  • Sun:  Full sun, will tolerate some shade
  • Height:  2-4’
  • Spread:  3-4’ or more
  • Growth Habit:  Compact, spreading
  • Bloom Color:  White with a pink blush
  • Flower Form:  Double
  • Flower Size: Medium to large, 3”
  • Petal Count:  20-25
  • Bloom Season:  Repeating
  • Fragrance:  Moderate clove fragrance
  • Stem: Thorned
  • Foliage: Deep green wrinkled
  • Disease Resistance:  Excellent resistance to blackspot, powdery mildew and rust
  • Soil:  Enriched well drainedHenry Hudson Canadian Explorer Rugosa
  • Hardiness:  zone 2 and warmer

Pink buds open to delicate white blooms with a pink tinge that are reminiscent of apple blossoms.  In hotter weather the blooms will be more white.  ‘Henry Hudson’ is a good repeat bloomer, blooming freely all season, but does need deadheading to induce additional heavy blooming.  Orange-red hips are formed in fall.  The shrub is super hardy, sustaining little to no injury as far north as zone 2.  Will survive to zone 2a without protection, further north protection is necessary.  “Henry Hudson’ makes an excellent low border plant for mixed beds, foundation planting or bedding plants.  ‘Henry Hudson’ will sucker.  The plant propagates easily from softwood cuttings.

 

 

 

Canadian Explorer ‘Henry Kelsey’ Climbing RoseHardy Parkland Henry Kelsey  Rose

  • Class:  Shrub Rose, climbing rose
  • Sun:  Full sun to part shade
  • Height:  6-9’
  • Spread:  5’
  • Growth Habit:  Climbing with long arching canes
  • Bloom Color:  Deep red, maturing to medium rose red, with yellow centers
  • Flower Form:  Double, in clusters
  • Flower Size: Medium to large, 2-3”
  • Petal Count:  25
  • Bloom Season:  Repeating, Henry Kelsey climbing rose before bloomingbeginning in early July
  • Fragrance:  Light spicy scent
  • Stem: Thorned
  • Foliage:  Glossy dark green tinged with burgundy
  • Disease Resistance:  Some resistance to blackspot, highly resistant to powdery mildew
  • Soil:  Enriched well drained
  • Hardiness:  zone 2b and warmer

‘Henry Kelsey’ flowers quite freely, producing blooms in clusters of 9-18.  The blooms open in a bright red and fade to a rose red as the bloom matures, then drop cleanly.  Can be used as a climber or will form a tall shrub with arching canes.  Or prune to control into a neater shrub.  Will tolerate some shade and still produce good blooming.  But be sure to plant where it will receive good air circulation to help prevent blackspot, and spray periodically for this disease.  ‘Henry Kelsey’ can be left on the trellis over winter, requiring minimal pruning in spring.  Will survive to zone 2b without protection, further north protection is necessary.  Small orange hips are produced in fall.  You won’t find a better performing red climbing rose for cold climates than ‘Henry Kelsey’.

 

Canadian Explorer ‘J.P. Connell’J P Connel Canadian Explorer rose

  • Class:  Shrub Rose
  • Sun:  Full sun
  • Height:  5’
  • Spread:  4-7’
  • Growth Habit:  Upright, bushy
  • Bloom Color:  Creamy white
  • Flower Form:  Double
  • Flower Size: Large, 3 - 3 1/2”
  • Petal Count:  30-70
  • Bloom Season:  Repeat
  • Fragrance:  Moderate fragrance
  • Stem: Nearly thornless
  • Foliage: Dark yellow-green
  • Disease Resistance:  Good resistance to powdery mildew, somewhat susceptible to blackspot
  • Soil: Enriched well drained
  • Hardiness:  zone 2b and warmer

Creamy white blooms with yellow centers are born singly or in clusters.  Initially the petals are lemony yellow, then fade to cream.  New blooms resemble hybrid tea roses with high centers, as they mature the bloom rounds and flattens to a classic shrub rose bloom.  Young plants do not flower well, but after the second year it will flower heavily in June, then rebloom lightly through the rest of the season.  ‘J.P. Connell’ is somewhat slow to establish, but displays excellent vigor after established.  Blooms will become deeper colored, larger and more numerous as the plant becomes better established.  Will survive to zone 2b without protection, further north protection is necessary.  The plant propagates easily from softwood cuttings.

 

Canadian Explorer Jens Munk’Rugosa Jens Munk

  • Class:  Shrub Rose, Rugosa parentage
  • Sun:  Full sun, will tolerate part shade
  • Height:  4 1/2’
  • Spread:  4 1/2’
  • Growth Habit:  Neat and tidy mounded shrub
  • Bloom Color:  Bright candy pink with yellow centers
  • Flower Form:  Semi double, somewhat flat, born in small clusters
  • Flower Size:  Medium, 2 1/2 - 3 1/2”
  • Petal Count:  25
  • Bloom Season:  Free flowering
  • Fragrance:  Pleasantly scented, may not be as strongJens Munk Canadian Explorer Rugosa as most rugosas
  • Stem:  Heavily thorned branches
  • Foliage:  Wrinkled olive green leaves
  • Disease Resistance:  Exceptionally resistant
  • Soil:  Well drained, fertile
  • Hardiness:  2b - 8b

‘Jens Munk’ is a hybrid Explorer rugosa rose.  The shrub stays neat in a smaller mounded shrub, making it a beauty in the front of a garden, as a specimen plant or as foundation plantings.  The shrub grows quite vigorously and is tolerant of part shade.  Will survive to zone 2b without protection, further north protection is necessary.

 

Canadian Explorer ‘John Cabot’ Climbing RoseJohn Cabot climbing rose, deep colored buds

  • Class:  Climbing Rose
  • Sun:  Full sun
  • Height:  8-10’
  • Spread:  4’
  • Growth Habit:  Climbing with arching canes
  • Bloom Color:  Deep fuschia pink/red
  • Flower Form:  Semi double, in clusters
  • Flower Size: Medium, 2 1/2 - 3”
  • Petal Count:  40
  • Bloom Season:  Repeating
  • Fragrance:  Light fragrance
  • Stem: Thorned
  • Foliage: Glossy green
  • Disease Resistance:  Good resistance to blackspot, powdery mildew and rust
  • Soil:  Enriched well drained
  • Hardiness:  zone 2b-9John Cabot climbing rose

John Cabot’  was the first climbing rose in the Explorer series.  The canes are strong and arching.  It blooms heavily in June and July, then sporadically in August and September.  Bloom color can vary between deep pink and red, generally starting in a deeper red color, maturing to a brighter pink.  ‘John Cabot’ is hardy to zone 3, after severe winters additional spring pruning will be necessary.  Will survive to zone 3 without protection, further north protection is necessary. The arching canes may be trimmed to form a large shrub or left untrained and unpruned it will grow tall with cascading branches, up to 8 feet wide.  The plant propagates easily from softwood cuttings.

 

Canadian Explorer John Davis’ Climbing RoseHardy John Davis Climbing Explorer Rose

  • Class:  Climbing rose
  • Sun:  Full sun
  • Height:  7’
  • Spread:  5’
  • Growth Habit:  Trailing
  • Bloom Color:  Pink with slightly yellow tones
  • Flower Form: Very double, in clusters
  • Flower Size: Medium, 3”
  • Petal Count:  40
  • Bloom Season:  Free flowering, continuous
  • Fragrance:  Spicy scentJohn Davis Climbing Rose
  • Stem: Very few thorns
  • Foliage: Medium to dark green, glossy, leathery
  • Disease Resistance:  High resistance to blackspot and powdery mildew
  • Soil:  Enriched well drained
  • Hardiness:  zone 2b and warmer

‘John Davis’ produces spicy scented semi double 3 inch blooms in a glorious pink, with clusters of up to 17 blooms.  The bloom form is reminiscent of old fashioned roses.  Use this 6-8 foot climber on a trellis or allow to trail across the ground.  Some resistance to blackspot and mildew. The plant propagates easily from softwood cuttings.  Hardy to zone 3, may experience minimal winter injury in zones 3 and 4 that would require pruning.  Will survive to zone 3a without protection, further north protection is necessary.

 

Canadian Explorer ‘Lambert Closse’Lambert Closse Canadian Explorer bloom

  • Class:  Shrub Rose
  • Sun:  Full sun
  • Height:  3-4’
  • Spread:  3-4’
  • Growth Habit:  Upright
  • Bloom Color:  White cuff with hot pink inner petals
  • Flower Form:  Double, with a classic rose look in bud form and partially opened bloom
  • Flower Size: Large
  • Petal Count:  53
  • Bloom Season:  June to September
  • Fragrance:  Mild fragrance
  • Stem: Thorned
  • Foliage: Glossy greenLambert Closse Canadian Explorere rsoe
  • Disease Resistance:  Resistant to blackspot and powdery mildew
  • Soil:  Enriched well drained
  • Hardiness:  zone 2b and warmer

Stunning blooms with a classis rose look make excellent cut flowers.  The flowers are born in clusters of 1 to 3.  Buds are deep pink, then the opening blossom has pink center petals and the unfurled petals fade pale.  A fully opened bloom is faded pink.  ‘Lambert Closse’ repeat blooms sporadically through summer.  Hips are produced in abundance.  The compact size makes this shrub rose useful in small gardens, foundation plantings and front of the border garden.  Slight winter injury may require pruning.  Will survive to zone 2b without protection, further north protection is necessary.  The plant propagates easily from softwood cuttings.

 

Canadian Explorer Martin FrobisherMartin Frobisher Canadian Explorer Rose

  • Class:  Shrub Rose, Rugosa parentage
  • Sun:  Full sun, will tolerate some shade
  • Height:  5-6’
  • Spread:  4’
  • Growth Habit:  Upright
  • Bloom Color:  Light pink
  • Flower Form:  Double
  • Flower Size: Medium, 2 1/2 - 3”
  • Petal Count:  25-40
  • Bloom Season:  Continuous
  • Fragrance:  Soft fragrance
  • Stem: Reddish brown bark, upper stems are nearly thornless
  • Foliage: Gray-green
  • Disease Resistance:  Highly resistant to powdery mildew, occasional succumbs to mild blackspot
  • Soil:  Enriched well drained
  • Hardiness:  zone 2 and warmer

‘Martin Frobisher’ was the original Explorer rose, introduced in 1968.  It flowers freely all summer, June through October, and grows vigorously.  The bush tends to sucker, which can be dug out and planted if desired.  The bush is well proportioned, only slightly taller than wide.  Creates an excellent hedge, good for mass plantings, as a specimen plant or back of the border.  Minor top injury may occur in northern climates, requiring tip pruning.  Will survive to zone 2a without protection, further north protection is necessary.  ‘Martin Frobisher’ also performs very well in hot regions.  No hips are produced, but canes are reddish in winter.

 

Canadian Explorer ‘Royal Edward’Royal Edward Canadian Explorer rose

  • Class:  Shrub Rose, ground cover
  • Sun:  Full sun
  • Height:  1 1/2’
  • Spread:  2’
  • Growth Habit:  Ground cover, trailing
  • Bloom Color:  Medium pink
  • Flower Form:  Double
  • Flower Size: Medium, 2”
  • Petal Count:  18
  • Bloom Season:  Repeating
  • Fragrance:  Slightly fragrant
  • Stem: Thorned
  • Foliage:  Glossy green
  • Disease Resistance:  Good resistance to black spot and powdery mildew
  • Soil:  Enriched well drained
  • Hardiness:  zones 3 and warmer

‘Royal Edward’ is a low spreading rose that is a wonderful selection for ground cover, rock gardens, foundation plantings or border plantings along a walkway. It is also lovely trailing out of a planter on the patio.  Deep pink buds open to a medium pink , then mature to a pale pink.  Blooms repeat well from June to September and are born in clusters of 1 to 17.  ‘Royal Edward’ is super hardy and may show only slight winter injury when unprotected in zone 3.  Will survive to zone 3a without protection, further north protection is necessary.  Propagates easily from softwood cuttings.

 

Canadian Explorer ‘Quadra’Quadra Canadian Explorer rose

  • Class:  Shrub Rose, climber
  • Sun:  Full sun
  • Height:  5-6’
  • Spread:  2 1/2 - 3’
  • Growth Habit:  Spreadin
  • Bloom Color:  Dark red
  • Flower Form:  Double, similar to heirloom blooms
  • Flower Size: Large, 3 - 3 1/2”
  • Petal Count:  66
  • Bloom Season:  Recurrent
  • Fragrance:  Good Fragrance
  • Stem: Thorned
  • Foliage:  Emerges red, turns to deep green
  • Disease Resistance:  Excellent resistance to black spot and powdery mildew
  • Soil:  Enriched well drained
  • Hardiness:  zones 3-9

 

‘Quadra’ produces blooms singly or in clusters of up to four.  The large full blooms have curled inner petals that are shorter like an heirloom rose.  The rich red blooms mature to lighter red, and repeats very well.  ‘Quadra’ has a spreading habit that makes it easy to train as a climber, and the cut flowers are wonderful.  This is a super hardy shrub rose than will only suffer minor tip damage in zone 3 without protection, but make SURE you get own root.  Will survive to zone 3a without protection, further north protection is necessary.  Propagates easily from softwood cuttings.

 

Canadian Explorer ‘Simon Fraser’Simon Fraser Canadian Explorer rose

  • Class:  Shrub Rose, ground cover
  • Sun:  Full sun
  • Height:  2’
  • Spread:  2’
  • Growth Habit:  Upright, low growing
  • Bloom Color:  Medium pink
  • Flower Form:  Single to semi-double
  • Flower Size: Medium, 2 1/2 - 3”
  • Petal Count:  Single bloom - 6 Semi-double bloom 22
  • Bloom Season:  Continuous
  • Fragrance:  Slightly fragrant
  • Stem: Very few thorns
  • Foliage: Glossy dark green
  • Disease Resistance:  Good resistance to black spot and powdery mildew
  • Soil:  Enriched well drained
  • Hardiness:  zones 3-9

‘Simon Fraser’ is a low growing shrub that serves wonderfully as a ground cover.  Clusters of 1 to 4 single blooms cover this free flowering shrub rose in spring, followed by semi double blooms the rest of the season.  Best flowering occurs when grown in full sun.  Will survive to zone 3a without protection, further north protection is necessary.

 

Canadian Explorer William Baffin’ Climbing RoseWilliam Baffin Canadian Explorer rose

  • Class:  Climbing rose
  • Sun:  Full sun, will tolerate some shade
  • Height:  5-9’
  • Spread:  6’
  • Growth Habit:  Climbing with arching canes
  • Bloom Color:  Deep pink to medium red
  • Flower Form:  Double
  • Flower Size: Small to medium, 2 - 2 1/2”
  • Petal Count:  20
  • Bloom Season:  Continuous
  • Fragrance:  Slightly fragrant
  • Stem: ThornedHardy Explorer William Baffin Climbing Rose
  • Foliage: Glossy green
  • Disease Resistance:  Highly resistant to blackspot, powdery mildew and rust
  • Soil:  Enriched well drained
  • Hardiness:  zone 2a - 9b

Free flowering deep pink double blooms over 2”, born in clusters of up to 30.  Blooms beginning in mid June to early or mid July, then continues until frost.  Strong arching canes may reach up to 10 feet.  The first year or two the plant will focus on foliage growth, prune only to thin out weak or crossed canes until it becomes established.  Thereafter the shrub will be covered with blooms.  ‘William Baffin’ can be left on it’s pillar over winter.  Superior hardiness to zone 3, with minimal winter injury in zones 3 and 4.  Further north protection is necessary.  Will also tolerate periods of dry heat.

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