Roses that Don’t Need Winter Protection
Winter has come early – very early! – to many regions of North America, so early that many gardeners haven’t yet finished installing the winter protection they give to their roses. But did you really need to protect them? Because more and more roses sold these days are “hardy roses”. And they don’t need protection of any kind.
I’m always surprised by the number of people who ask me about how to protect their hardy roses for the winter. On the one hand, they know they bought hardy roses; on the other, they still want to know how to protect them. Yet the name says it all: a hardy rose, by definition, is “winter hardy”: it needs no winter care. No mounding, no rose cone, no pruning. You simply let it be. In spring, if there is any damage, simply remove the dead parts, that’s all. It couldn’t be more simple!
Instead of putting all that effort into protecting hardy roses from the cold, you should now be enjoying their winter beauty, with their stunning hips (fruits) showing up spectacularly against a background of snow and attracting, on top of that, fruit-eating birds. Sadly, many gardeners miss out on this six month plus display, because they were told they had to deadhead their roses. Deadhead a hardy rose? And miss out on months and months of fall and winter color? Are you kidding? What kind of sadist would tell a gardener to do that? Oh right, the “kindly neighbor who knowns nothing about gardening, but is always quick to share gardening advice”. Here’s my tip: don’t listen to them and instead enjoy your rose’s winter display.