First to bloom

Every year I try to go around to different gardens in May to find out which roses bloom first. Due to blackspot and Japanese Beetles, the earlier a rose starts blooming the the better in the Northeast. Yesterday I went to the Morris Arboreatum in Philly and the roses in bloom were:

Roses in full bloom or even past full bloom:

Father Hugo

Persian Yellow (was not labeled, but I am pretty sure that is what it was)

Old Blush

Another huge wild rose with pink flowers and leaves that look very similar to Father Hugo. There were two plants and no labels…frustrating. Any ideas what it could be? At least 10x10 ft with a large arching habit. It was not Palustris or Sweetbriar which have a similar habit.

Roses with some flowers on them:


Three Rugosas (the only rugosas with flowers so far) –

Blanc De Coubert

Fru Dagmar Hastrup


Nothing flowering at home yet…sigh.

I would be interested to hear what blooms first in everyone else’s areas.

My polyanthas in general are probably going to get there first along with my rugosas…however, even they are likely to be beat by another one that is about to open (the sepals were pulling back when I looked at it last night) …one of my seedlings from (Fragrant Plum x Princess de Monaco) x Honey Bouquet of all things. Noooooo idea why that seedling is so far ahead given it’s parentage …and this is it’s first year having come out of a full winter in the ground outdoors. Go figure.

I live right outside of Philly by the way…to give you an idea of my geographic location and zone.

Right now I have colour showing on buds of R. pendulina, buds but no colour on William’s Double yellow, & R. primula. Nothing on the rugosas & their hybrids.

In full bloom & very fragrant, a lovely prelude to the roses, is Korean Spice viburnum. It’s supposed to be tender, but it’s outlived the supposedly hardier viburnums with native names.

I’m on the north shore of Lake Ontario.

My first to bloom always are r. Primula,r.Hugonis, Canary Bird. Mid April here.

The next wave is mostly spinosissimas: Mary Queen of Scotts, Doorenbos Selection, etc. Approx 2 weeks after early yellows.

The third wave is Rugosas, Excellenze von Schubert, some Teas (Safrano, Georgetown Tea, Mrs BR cant, etc) and Chinas Cramoisee Superior, Arethusa,etc.

Another two that were always very early for me are Mme Alfred Carrier(lost it to RRD) and gallica Gloire de France.

Next usually are Cl Ameican Beauty, Lady Hillingdon and Beau Narcisse.

Everything else is blooming together for me starting from end of May.


This was an odd year in KS, as elsewhere. Some advanced kinds lost their first cycle of buds, so things may be a bit out of sync.

Earliest of all was R pomifera (triploid from David Z.) Then a couple days later my carefree copper which is half carefree beauty and half austrian copper. Then Ross Rambler from Joan M. It is just a ft hi with 3 buds. Whitest rose I’ve seen, no traces of pink or yellow, translucent petals. Now a few days later we have a couple other seedlings of carefree beauty x riseNshine.

Therese Bugnet, unpruned, in a south-facing location by a garage was in full bloom by May 10. Mine at home, heavily pruned, are just coming on now. Iris are at their peak this week in most locations.

For a couple decades I had Harison’s yellow. It bloomed reliably with the majority of mid-season iris. R. hugonis was always earlier.

Austrian copper and Carefree beauty had overlapping bloom times, a bit later than this most years, so I was able to do crosses both ways. Very few seeds on AC, only 1 grew. Later died. Abundant seed on CB, few remontant, none of those kept. Only carefree copper and few of its offspring remain. A shaded CB not yet in bloom.

My first blooms came on one of my seedlings, it is the second year for this one and it has more petals than last year I think.

Nothing has bloomed yet in my garden, however, Old Blush and Home Run have already bloomed in the Roger Williams Victorian Rose Garden in Providence.

Last year John Cabot was the first to bloom in my garden and two years ago it was William Shakespeare 2000.