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
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!”
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.
‘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
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.
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.