Saturday, May 26, 2001

'New Dawn' variety best climbing rose

        William Robinson, father of the English-style garden, wrote more than 100 years ago: “Climbing roses are the most precious of all ornaments for walls of houses, trelliswork, pergolas.”

        Fashions in landscaping change over the years, but there is no plant, in my eyes, that enhances a home more than a well-grown climbing rose. I have grown numerous climbing roses ranging from the antique French and English varieties to the latest hybrids. If I were to choose only one — for disease resistance, form, scent and repeat bloom — it would be “New Dawn.”

        “New Dawn” is a variation of the “Dr. W. Van Fleet” rose. In the 1920s, New Jersey gardener Henry F. Bosenberg bought a number of “Dr. W. Van Fleet” roses. Although Van Fleets bloom only once a season, Bosenberg noticed that one of the roses appeared to be ever-blooming. After testing it for four years, this new rose was introduced by Henry A. Dreer as “New Dawn.”

   “New Dawn” roses on their own roots can be found Saturdays at Neltner's Farm booth at Findlay Market in Over-the-Rhine.
        “New Dawn” holds the distinction of being the first plant in the world to receive a patent. In 1930, the year of its introduction, Congress passed the Plant Patent Act, which granted to anyone who discovered or hybridized a new plant the exclusive right to determine for 17 years who would propagate and sell it. Until that time, any plant on the market was common property. Today, dozens of new roses are patented each year.

        “New Dawn” blooms from May until frost. They are rampant growers with medium-size, blush-pink flowers that resemble old-fashioned roses. They have long canes and fierce thorns. “New Dawn” roses make excellent cut flowers which often last a week or longer in a water-filled vase.

        In addition, “New Dawn” is one of the easiest climbing roses to grow: It resists diseases and insects and is hardy in all climates in the United States.

        But be patient: It will not reach its full glory until its second season.

        The canes of “New Dawn,” which can reach 15 feet or more, eventually become stiff and extremely prickly.

        There are several ways to grow this rose. You can cover a steep bank or incline where it will need no care, you can use it on a trellis or wall or grow it around a lamp post.

        “New Dawn” requires pruning to keep it in bounds. Don't be afraid to use your shears to make it produce the effect you want. Contact Tim Morehouse by Web site:; mail: c/o Cincinnati Enquirer. (If writing, enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope.)

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