DEPARTMENTS


Rosa Macy's Pride



Name:

Rosa Macy's Pride

Common name:

Macy's Pride rose

Hardiness:

Zones 5 to 9

Mature height:

3 to 4 feet

Mature spread:

3 to 4 feet

Classification:

Shrub rose

Landscape Use:

Single or in threes as a focal point in garden; hedge; mid to back of mixed border

Ornamental Characteristics:

Profuse, lemon-yellow buds open to full, 5- to 6-inch double white blooms, repeating all season long; aging blooms may show a slight blush; medium green foliage on strong canes (new foliage flushes with slight red edge); mildew- and black spot-resistant leaves remain clean; subtle fragrance

As much as I'd love to claim that I have a way with roses, it's not true. Over the years, several favorites have fallen victim to black spot or ravaging aphids, mildew or Japanese beetles. I have little tolerance for sprays and powders and all manner of plant voodoo, and so I selected varieties because they were marketed as near-perfect for this kind of hands-off gardening. Precious few have survived my benign neglect.

One rose, however, has thrived through thick and thin, despite my history of hurting the ones I love. The brave and hardy plant that is the pride of my entryway is Macy's Pride (Rosa BAIcream) from Bailey Nurseries' Easy Elegance® series. It's a fine representation of this collection, as it's both elegant and, thank goodness, beyond easy.

This year caught all of us off guard - in the Chicago area, we experienced mid- to high 80s in early March; followed by cooler temperatures (including a few overnight freezes and frosts); very little rain; then weeks of temps yo-yo-ing between 30s and 80s and back again overnight. Very confusing for any blooming plant, and equally confusing for gardeners. Having been ignored, however, my Macy's Pride burst forth early in May with loads of medium, pointed, lemony buds, a few tinged with a slight streak of pink. In "normal" years the plant blooms reliably from June through September and often beyond. Large, creamy white flowers follow the prolific budding, and as the blooms age they tend to blush slightly. Hips are insignificant, and the plant's recurrent bloom habit can be encouraged if spent blooms are removed.

Standing proud at about 4 feet, this happy shrub produces clean, semi-glossy to glossy green foliage that bears a subtle red edge when leaves first emerge; new cane growth also blushes a bit before maturing. Thorns are small and not normally troublesome. The plant can be pruned with abandon - mine has survived the onslaught of an impatient gardener wielding her clippers at the most inopportune of times - and its shape remains pleasingly full. For those who actually pay attention to good plant care, though, it's recommended that one-third of the oldest canes be removed to the soil line in spring in order to keep the shrub open and to encourage new cane production.


Photos courtesy of Sally Benson

Few pests bother this rose; Japanese beetles occasionally beset the blooms without doing much damage, and very few aphids seem to care. Foliage has remained clean and free of any hint of mildew or black spot.

A sunny site and precious little care has kept Macy's Pride happy for nearly nine years - a record for my garden. Easy elegance indeed.