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This glossary is for reference purposes. We are not selling or shipping roses until further notice.

For your convenience, below is an alphabetical Glossary of terms used in the rose descriptions on this site.

Alba Semi-plena RoseAlbasOld Garden Roses, Albas are the White Roses of antiquity and have a scent prized for perfume. They have lovely healthy soft gray-green foliage and are an asset even after their summer bloom. They have beautiful hips. (See Alba Semi-plena photo to left.)

Border Roseshave a growth habit that helps them combine well with perennials and other shrubs in a mixed border.

Canadian RosesModern shrub roses bred in an Agriculture Canada research program at either Ottawa (Explorer) or Morden, Manitoba (Parkland) Experimental Stations, they are hardy, relatively to very disease-resistant and most bloom repeatedly through the summer. The taller Explorers are climbers.Centifolia Rose

CentifoliaOld Garden Roses, Centifolias were probably bred in Holland in the 16th century and quickly took on a French identify with the name Provins Roses. Their large globular flowers, pink to white, have a scent said to be the “meaning of life itself." (See Centifolia photo to right.)

Climbershave a growth habit suitable for training on a support. Although no roses are vines, they have thick or flexible long canes that can be used on a trellis, pole or fence.

DamasksOld Garden Roses, Damasks originated in the Middle East. Most Damasks are as hardy, healthy and fragrant as can be desired in the northern New York climate. Another ancient group with some types predating Roman times.

English Rose Graham ThomasEnglish Roses (David Austin)The David Austin modern shrub roses are crosses between modern hybrid teas and floribundas and old garden roses. They have the fragrance and form of old roses, but in modern colors. They are very rewarding to grow with protection or in sheltered spots, but many cold climate gardeners find them worth every bit of extra effort. (See Graham Thomas photo to left.)

GallicasOld Garden Roses, Gallicas are the red roses of antiquity, native to Europe,the Middle East, and as far north as Russia. Gallica Rosa MundiThe flowers can be single, double or very double. They were developed to perfection in France by the mid-19th century and most are named for Napoleonic heroes, their wives, royalty, or beloved courtesans. Their scent is retained once the petals are dried, so they are loved for potpourri. Vast fields of Gallicas are grown in France and the Middle East for perfume. (See R. gallica versicolor photo to right.)

Griffith Buck Roses from IowaDr. Griffith Buck at Iowa State University hybridized modern Griffith Buck Carefree Beauty Roseshrub roses by growing seedlings outside in Iowa’s cold winters and hot, windy, dry summers. He developed dozens of unique, hardy cultivars with the appeal of modern hybrid teas and floribundas. All repeat well and make beautiful additions to the garden. (See Carefree Beauty photo to left.)

Ground Cover Roses and Short ShrubsModern shrub roses that create a dense mat of foliage and flower. They have many purposes, such as drooping over walls, front-of-border planting, covering areas of bare ground and banks, or can even be kept in pots. Though no rose really makes a weed-free mat like some perennials, many varieties have a growth habit that provides a dense, low mound of foliage and color.

Growth Habitwhether the shrub is upright and tidy or sprawling, and how it can be used. See Border Roses, Climbers, Ground Covers, Hedging Roses, Ramblers and Specimen Roses.Hedging Roses Alika

Hedging Roseshave a dense growth habit with some suckering allowing them to fill in and make uniform walls. (See Alika photo to right.)

Meilland, Roses from the House ofThis company’s modern shrub roses are known for superior performance as ground covers and landscape plants and provide bright, showy displays. Most have light fragrance at best. They grow into a mounding, dense shrub. Some die back in winter, but quickly recover. Take a trip to Sackets Harbor to see the street side plantings of Bonica. These roses have won many awards. (See White Meidiland photo below.)

Meilland White Meidiland RoseModern Shrub RosesCrosses between various species roses and garden roses, Shrub Roses attempt to combine the flowering ability of floribundas with the hardiness and disease resistance of species roses. There are thousands in the world and we carry many that flourish in the climate of northern New York. They come in an array of colors, number of petals and fragrance, and vary in growth habit. All are compact. All have large flowers that open out.Moss Rose Madame de la Roche Lambert

Moss RosesOld Garden Roses, Moss Roses have a coating of glandular fuzz along their stem, buds and calices, and were loved by the Victorians for their “cozy” look. The buds are especially charming and are appreciated for their decorative moss well before the blooms open. Hardy and vigorous, most have large, very fragrant blooms ranging from darkest purple to white. (See Madame de la Roche Lambert photo to right.)

North Country Heritage Rosesto our delight, we have found several roses on old farmsteads, roadsides and ditches, and friends and customers have donated cuttings of special family roses. Decades or even a hundred years after being planted, these roses still need almost nothing from us.

Old Garden RosesThese roses have lasted centuries without the help of protection, fertilizer, Old Garden Rose Madame Hardyor even care. Thus they are an excellent source of care-free beauty for the mixed shrubbery or perennial bed. They are mostly summer blooming, and give their all in a glorious, prolific display lasting four to six weeks, with beauty and scent to make their performance a much-awaited event. They have a place in the gardening calendar much like lilacs and chrysanthemums. Their blooming means that we have arrived at the glorious part of summer, and after the roses finish, we can plunge into summer hot weather activities. In the fall, most of the Old Garden Roses give a second show with hips (which are edible), and some have brilliant fall color. (See Madame Hardy photo to left.)

Parkland RosesModern shrub roses named for Morden, Parkland Rose Morden BlushManitoba, near the North Dakota border,these roses at home are protected with a lot of snow, which shelters them from harsh winter and bitter cold. It seems odd, but most need some mulch around their bases in northern New York. They differ, mostly in color, and their fragrance varies, but they are all repeat bloomers. Some do get a little blackspot. All can be used as borders or hedges. (See Morden Blush photo to right.)

Showy Pavement RosePavement RosesRugosa Roses developed in Germany by various breeders for use in parks, these are the best of good garden plants. These totally easy, totally hardy, showy and truly continuous bloomers have award winning fragrance and yellow stamens. All do well with some afternoon shade and will tolerate salt in roadside plantings. All have lovely names in German, such as Snow Owl, Red Sea, etc., but are sold in the English-speaking world under this awkward name—Pavement Roses—which refers to their usefulness along paths and borders in parks and on roadsides. (See Showy Pavement photo to left.)

PimpinellifoliasOld Garden Roses, Pimpinellifolia, Burnet or Scotch Briar Pimpinellifolia Mary Queen of ScotsRoses probably originated in Scandinavia, the northern British Isles and the Baltics, and are especially known in Scotland. They are healthy, mostly low-growing,tidy and early blooming roses that prefer poor, sandy soil. If you are tired of fighting the weather and the deer to grow azaleas and rhododendrons, try these as a showy substitute. They are bright and cheery, their colored stems and attractive thorns and hips make them an asset year-round. Their leaves are compared to mouse ears. Hips are typically purplish black and taste of black currants. Their natural habitat is beach dunes and wind-swept rocky hills, so they are the best for sandy soil. (See Mary Queen of Scots photo to right.)

PortlandsOld Garden Roses, Portlands or Damask Perpetuals originated in Italy in the late 18th century. They are still very hardy, have a lush leafy look like a Gallica, and bloom repeatedly from summer to fall and are as fragrant as any roses. They have a short, tidy growth habit. The flowers are short-necked and nestle attractively on a cushion of leaves.

Rambler John Cabot RoseRamblerswith training, their supple canes can be trained to cascade beautifully, climb, or follow a fence, hence their growth habit is referred to as rambling. These are the roses with canes long enough to train to grow upward. Note that many roses can climb, even though they may not typically be used for that purpose. Some examples of roses that aren’t typically used for this are R. glauca, R. eglanteria and R. setigera, Velvet Moss and most other roses with long canes. (See John Cabot photo to left.)

Rugosa RosesRugosa roses are from Korea, Siberia, and Northern Japan. Rosa Rugosa WildThe wild species came back with ship captains and were naturalized on the New England sea coast. Extensively used for hybridization(especially in France and the U.S. in the late 19th century and in Canada and Germany in the 20th), Rugosas have produced many beautiful cultivars which have retained their spicy scent. Their natural inclination to bloom continuously throughout the summer has made them very popular. The foliage is very healthy (in fact, it is allergic to sprays) and they passes their robustness on to their many offspring. Most are among the best plants we have for hedging and specimen planting. As they are very salt tolerant, they are excellent for roadside plantings. (See R. rugosa photo to right).

Species RosesThese naturally occurring roses have elegant simplicity of flower and graceful growth which can make them very useful. The taller ones are an asset at the back of the garden to set off other plants, or for a visuSpecies Rosa Caninaal screen or hedge. They are truly easy-care roses as they can grow on their own once established. They are all very free-flowering and have distinctive and showy hips. (See R. canina photo to left.)

Specimen Rosesare showy and large enough in their growth habit to make a real impact growing alone, like lilacs).

Winter Care: All the roses we offer have been grown here and tested. Most have been grown from cuttings and have lived two winters in our field here. Thus nothing we sell will die over the winter. But success in any location depends on evaluating wind, soil type, exposure to salt (Rugosas are immune), and the amount of water available. All these roses should thrive. Most of our roses need no special care, except for the first year, when mulch of about one foot around the canes will help it to not frost heave. After care would be as follows:

Super Hardy – Needs no protection at all, anywhere.

Very Hardy – These will need no protection except in colder or exposed sites. A heavy mulch, about one foot up the canes, will give them an extra edge.

Hardy – Some of the roses might die off at the tips in severe weather or a very exposed situation. All of these plants will recover quickly in the spring to become beautiful plants. When buds start to emerge, cut off the dead tops. Heavy mulch will prevent a lot of dieback.

Climbers – These are mostly hardy but are susceptible to wind drying out the canes while the ground is frozen and the roots can’t replace moisture. Take a few minutes before winter sets in to bend them down and mulch with leaves or hay on the ground.

Moderately Hardy – These roses benefit from heavy mulch or even being covered with hay, cardboard or other mulch. They are mostly repeat bloomers. They will not die, but they probably will die back. The repeat bloomers will still come back to bloom beautifully, but a little later. Many climbers fall into this group but are very easily dropped down if they are tied up to only the closest side of the trellis so they are not woven into it.


Please see the Alphabetical Rose Lists for descriptions, photos and availability.

Roses A-B / Roses C-F / Roses G-L / Roses M-N / Roses O-R / Roses S-Z