COVID-19 Gardening Gardening roses

The At Last Rose: a Fitting Theme Plant for 2021!

At last, 2020 has come to an end! This has been a crazy year. Although the gardening world has fared better than most, we’re all ready to turn the page and start on 2021. So, be happy, be safe, and consider that if there was ever a year to celebrate the New Year at home driving nothing more dangerous than a remote control, it’s this one.

And with that in mind, here’s a plant that might well express this relief: the At Last® rose (Rosa ‘HORcogjil’). 

The Meaning Behind the Name

Watch this short video for a better idea of the value of the At Last Rose!

That this plant is called At Last actually has nothing to do with the COVID-19 crisis. Instead, it was considered a triumph of hybridizing at the time of its launching in 2018 because it brought together 5 characteristics gardeners have long sought in a single rose bush:

  • Large, sturdy, beautifully formed, double flowers. 
  • Extremely long blooming season, with blooms present from late spring through frost.
  • Easy care.
  • Excellent disease resistance.
  • And especially, a heady, delicious perfume, something so often missing in modern roses. 

According to most rose society standards, At Last is a floribunda rose, a category of repeat-blooming bush rose that includes varieties bearing clusters of flowers (rather than single ones like a hybrid tea rose). However, it’s being promoted as a landscape rose, that is, one of a tougher constitution that won’t need babying. Previous landscape roses have been, like this one, largely crosses between fairly tender floribundas and much tougher shrub roses, plants such as the roses of the Knockout, Oso Easy and Flower Carpet series many gardeners know well.

With the At Last rose, gardeners will indeed be exclaiming, “At last, a fragrant rose that’s easy to grow!” 

Description

Single double orange flower of At Last rose

At Last® combines all the romance of a fragrant, fully petaled tea rose with the no-nonsense practicality of a disease-resistant landscape rose. No spraying is required to enjoy a non-stop display of large, sweetly perfumed blossoms that start out deep apricot orange and fade to a light pink, repeat blooming from late spring through frost. Nor is any fussy pruning required.

Handsome, glossy foliage and a vigorous, rounded habit makes it ideal for use in the landscape or the flower garden. Expect it to reach 2.5 to 3 feet (75 to 90 cm) tall and wide. 

It’s History

‘Horcogjil’ (At Last® is a trade name) was developed by rose breeder Heather Horner of Stansted Mountfitchet, Great Britain. It originated from a cross-pollination using a cross between the English rose ‘Laura Ford’ and the shrub rose ‘Goldbusch’ as the seed parent and the floribunda rose Frilly Jilly (’Horjilly’) as the pollen parent. 

Growing an At Last Rose

At Last rose (orange flowers) used as a hedge
You could even plant At Last as a short hedge!

This easy-care rose defies conventional expectations of what a rose needs to thrive in your landscape. 

Give this tough rose full sun—part shade is acceptable, but will reduce its blooming—in a medium moisture, slightly acidic, well-drained garden loam. Water deeply and regularly, preferably in the morning, and avoid overhead watering.

Good air circulation promotes vigorous and healthy growth and helps control foliar diseases. A good mulch through the summer will help retain moisture, keep roots cool and discourage weeds.

Plant of At Last rose (orange flowers) in a flower bed.
Cut back to just above a healthy bud. Photo: Amanda Jarrett, thegardenwebsite.com

At Last blooms on new wood, so to keep it looking great, simply prune back by at least one third its total height in early spring, just as the new leaf buds begin to emerge on the stems. Make your cut just above a thick, healthy bud, as these produce the most vigorous growth. It can also be fertilized at this time with the granular slow release fertilizer of your choice.

The plant may be deadheaded if desired, although this is not required for continuous bloom.

At Last is hardy in USDA hardiness zones 5–9 (AgCan zones 6–9) and will need some winter protection in colder areas. 

Where to Find It?

The At Last rose is available at better garden centers around the world.

This article was inspired by a press release by Proven Winners,
also the source of the accompanying photography unless otherwise mentioned.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

5 comments on “The At Last Rose: a Fitting Theme Plant for 2021!

  1. Not impressed. I still prefer the older types. Back then, we actually knew what class they were. (With all the work that goes into breeding these things, why doesn’t anyone know what the finished product is, or how it is classified?)
    Besides, the sunflower is a better option.

  2. This is a favorite if mine. The fragrance is wonderful and I’m really happy that someone is working on roses that are fragrant, clean, neat and disease resistant. Can’t wait for more like this!

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