Explorer or Something Else ? Photo1

I wonder if you can help me confirm if this rose is an explorer or something else. I found this in a fitfully maintained garden at an agriculture school in Alberta (no tag) and it got my attention for 3 reasons.

It was old, high at an easy 8 to 10 feet and I would of called it a climber as opposed to a typical explorer pillar type (never seen an explorer that tall in my next of the woods) and the leaves are a distinct color and form that I do not recognize as an explorer. It is not Therese Bugnet as that rose is right beside this one.

Because of the bloom form (photo 2 - don’t know how to stack photos) I thought it might be Simon Fraser but way too high for here is a strike against it … then I thought maybe John Davis but not double enough. In a moment of delusion I thought Lillian Gibson but the blooms do not look like HMF.

Can you confirm if explorer and which one ? I need to request a cutting of any rose that grows this tall in zone 3a.


Did you note the similarity of the flowers to ‘Therese Bugnet’? Smaller in diameter and lighter in colour? Although the foliage in the photo appears to be more glossy than it really is, the cultivar is likely ‘Betty Bland’. ‘Betty Bland’, of course, is one of the parents of ‘Therese Bugnet’. I see the occasional ‘Betty Bland’ growing in the older residential areas of Edmonton and it can be more than 2 metres tall. In fact, yesterday I collected some flower buds of it for pollen. Since I haven’t been able to obtain it, I’m trying to more or less duplicate Bob Erskine’s ‘Carlos Perpetual’ having very double, light pink flowers. The parentage of it is ‘Lac La Nonne’ by possibly ‘Betty Bland’.

Hi Paul, thanks for replying and the suggestions and I will look harder. I took a photo of both Therese and this rose together (yesterday) and posted it below.

I thought the leaves, now that I looked at the only photo I know of Haris and Sheila’ s description, whether I am seeing “cinnamon” in the leaf traits … I have a rep of this group in the my garden and they a similiar … but the true cinnamon" rep is not hardy and is labeled R. cinnomomea plena (the one cornhill offers).

I did not get Carlos Perpetual this year but will think of adding to the list. I did obtain Carlos Red and it is growing well.

I should preface that when I say Therese, I am mostly assuming that is what it’s neighbor was - no tags and unfortunately nearly all the large and tall spectacular roses in this garden have no tags which for a fellow like me who wants to start moving to tall and very hardy … drives me bonkers.


From this photo, I would now say it is ‘Prairie Dawn’. It definitely is not ‘Haris’.

I’ll try to get down to Olds College soon and label the tall, identified rose cultivars you mentioned and any others that are unidentified. A few years ago, I labelled a Rosa laxa mixed in with some other rose material that no doubt no one had a clue what it was. Not that anyone cared, of course.


Is this plant thornless or nearly so?


Thanks Paul, I can buy it being Prairie Dawn though the leaf color sure looked unique in the light I was in. Prairie Dawn is going into the garden and I hope it it gets as tall as this one.

Peter no it is not thornless, and it was reasonably thorny but not excessive - grayish white thorns.

Paul be prepared for a big shock, even when you see the tagged ones … I think they get moved around a lot.

If you can tell me what the two large ones against the red wall are I will be very happy. I assume they were Scots roses that are very double. It is a spectacular rose in bloom but is far more double than my double Blush Burnett. It and seeing Prairie Peace again was the reason I stopped by as this is bloom time.

Again I need to warm you, even though I like this garden and I am pleased they put one together that is basically all Canadian roses … the pruning they done to PP will bring tears to your eyes … trying to make it look like “large ball or parking pillar”.


It has been several years since I’ve seen the roses at Olds College. When I was there last, they were establishing a new rose garden. How does it look? I don’t recall seeing this Scotch rose growing near a building. It appears it has some pink in the colour of the flowers. Is that correct? You said there were two roses in this location, but I can only distinguish one. Or did you mean two shrubs of the same cultivar?

Next time I visit, I’ll have a word with them about leaving ‘Prairie Peace’ alone.

Paul and Riku

I visited Olds College campus yesterday.

Riku, ‘Betty Bland’ is growing in two or three locations on campus. (your photo 1). The second photo is ‘Prairie Dawn’ and to the left of it is a group of three or four ‘Therese Bugnet’. The large bush with the irises growing in front is a neglected ‘Suzanne’. The blossoms were somewhat smaller than usual. You may have come across another eight foot rose with double white blossoms. It is ‘Holland Double White Altai’. If you were at the south side of the base of the water tower, you would have found ‘Hazeldean’, 'Betty Bland, ‘Walter Schowalter’ (aka RR3), and ‘Hansa’. All were doing poorly and in need of water.

Paul, I came across the laxa alba. It was about 2 feet tall. Likely a sucker from the original plant which is now gone. The new rose garden is weed free and well kept. It is made up of Explorer and Parkland roses.

Just a note about ‘Prairie Dawn’ rose. In cold climates (Zone 2 - 3), because of its height (2 - 3 metres) it should be known as a pillar rather than a shrub rose and grown that way. It is likely the term “pillar rose” wasn’t well known on the Canadian Prairies when this cultivar was introduced in 1959, so it was marketed as a shrub rose. It was only when the tall Explorer Rosa kordesii cultivars were introduced that the term “pillar rose” became better known on the Canadian Prairies. But even now these cultivars are usually referred to as shrub and sometimes climbing roses.

I think there is potential in a breeding program to combine Godfrey’s ‘Prairie Dawn’ and ‘Prairie Youth’ with the Explorer Rosa kordesii cultivars. The former contributes cold hardiness and the latter disease resistance and floriferousness. ‘Prairie Dawn’, I don’t think functions well as a pistillate parent but ‘Prairie Youth’ does. In my opinion, the priority would be to develop a ‘Prairie Youth’ x ‘John Davis’ breeding line. I’ve started working on it.

Thanks Margit, this is the information is so useful and I sure hope they can get around to labeling the old ones … shot in the dark time … I was there around 6-7 pm any chance you were walking around then ? I was walking around with the camera and big green “G” hat … stopped by after fishing at Swan lake up past Caroline (sp).

Is the Holland Double Altai the one in front of the “hedge of white Altai ? or Scots” roses ? or do I have it reversed …

Would you also know this small rose ? It was just over the bridge on the left hand side of the path walking to the garden, thought I saw a faint yellow in it.

How do I recognize RR3 Walter Schowalter ?

Also to impose once more do you know who to contact to see if they have a location map ?

My apologies but it is great to find somebody who knows the gardens the way they need to be told … it is like finding the rosette stone. Thanks again both Paul and Margit


It is a pleasure to help a fellow rosarian. The white rose in your photo is R. spin altaica. It does have a very pale yellow blush undertone. I’ll send you some photos and further information off-forum. I recommend you purchase the booklet “Growing Roses in Saskatchewan” published by the Saskatchewan Rose Society and authored by Brian Porter and Arnold Pittao. It is 150 pages long, has some colour photographs and most importantly gives short descriptions of prairie heritage roses as well as modern hardy roses (zones 2 and 3). It is an invaluable reference for those interested in these hardy roses. It may be ordered from The Saskatchewan Rose society, PO Box 2733, Lloydminster, SK S9V 0Z1 or via email by contacting Arnold Pittao at apittao@telusplanet.net


"How do I recognize RR3 Walter Schowalter? ‘Walter Schowalter’ is similar to ‘Therese Bugnet’ in shrub and flower appearance. But the flowers are larger and a brighter pink, and also the foliage is more attractive. If it repeated its bloom like ‘Therese Bugnet’ does, it would be superior to it.