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The New ‘Oscar Peterson’ Rose

Rosa ‘Oscar Peterson’

For many gardeners living in cold climates, there are no better roses than those of the Explorer series developed by Agriculture Canada. These roses, which bear the names of Canadian explorers, like John Cabot and Henry Hudson, are not only wildly popular in Canada, but also in the United States and Europe. After all, what’s not to like? They flower abundantly, are tough and disease resistant, and, most importantly, cold hardy. In fact all the Explorer roses will grow in zone 3 without protection, some even in zone 2, and that is exceptional among roses.

The Explorer series is however complete: after 26 introductions, there will be no new ones. But a new series has taken its place: the Canadian Artist series. Developed from the Explorer rose gene pool with the help of some of the breeders of the original series, including Claude Richer-Leclerc and Campbell Davidson, these new hybrids bear the names of Canadian artists and artwork. And a brand new rose has been added to the series for 2016: ‘Oscar Peterson’.

The Man

20160508B, Heinrich Klaffs, Wikimedia Commons
Oscar Peterson. Photo: Heinrich Klaffs, Wikimedia Commons

Oscar Peterson, 1925 to 2007, was born in Montreal. He became one of the most influential jazz pianists and composers of his time and was often called the Maharaja of the keyboard. He accompanied the greatest singers of his generation, including Billie Holliday and Ella Fitzgerald, played thousands of concerts, and produced dozens of records over a nearly 60-year career. His music is remains popular to this day.

The Rose

The rose ‘Oscar Peterson’ bears large semi-double flowers that are cream or even pink in bud, but pure white when they open, with a central boss of yellow stamens. There is no noticeable fragrance. They are “self-cleaning”, that is to say, the petals drop off neatly after flowering and therefore no clean-up is necessary. They are produced in clusters at the branch tips, not only at the beginning of the season, but throughout the summer. The plant reblooms well even if you don’t remove the spent flowers.

‘Oscar Peterson’ is a shrub rose, with upright or slightly spreading stems. It doesn’t sucker. It can reach 3 to 6 feet (90 to 180 cm) in height and up to 4 feet (125 cm) in diameter. It makes a wonderful showing all on its own, but also makes an excellent hedge. Its shiny leaves are highly disease-resistant. And of course, as to be expected from Canadian Artist rose, it is hardy to zone 3.

The ‘Oscar Peterson’ rose: to try it is to love it.

Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

4 comments on “The New ‘Oscar Peterson’ Rose

  1. Quentin Davies

    November 9th, 2021
    I have had my Oscar Peterson rose now for 5 years & each year is better than the last. This year I have had well over 600 to 800 roses easy, I would even venture to say more. At present, on this day (November 9th) there are still at least 50 buds & 12 flowers at various stages of bloom. We just finished a week with several days of snow, 2 frosts, & a couple days below zero temperatures (one evening @-6°c). Last year I had roses into the last week of November (SouthWestern Ontario Canada). It is a beautiful rose & every exceptional thing they say about it is true. Now that Oscar has verified itself I plan to search out the other species for my back yard.

  2. Ging mulvina

    I love your site. I weed in the garden i cantbkill them the keep on coming back its like regenerating roots pls help me what to do it looks like japanese bamboo but it blooms at late summer and attracts different insect with little dainty white and creamish colour

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