Dr. Griffith Buck was a plant breeder at Iowa State University who had a passion for roses. He started breeding roses around 1950 using strains of very cold hardy roses combined with modern hybrid teas and others. His goal was to produce roses that were disease-resistant and very hardy.
One of the roses bred by Dr. Buck is the prairie clogger, a medium red shrub.
The medium-small ovoid-pointed buds of ruby red open to single (eight to 10 petals), shallow-cupped to flat, 1.5- to 3-inch blooms of Indian lake which hold their color until the petals drop.
The blooms are borne in clusters of 1-1-0 and have a pleasingly sweet fragrance.
The abundant, leathery foliage is dark olive green with copper tones when young and is tolerant of normal foliar disease.
The thorns are tan and awl-like. The vigorous, bushy, 3- to 4-foot plant is erect and free-branching with abundant bloom throughout the season.
Shrub roses can be grown in hedges to create a show of color with low maintenance.
All of the Buck roses tend to tolerate the heat in Texas with minimal adverse effects.
Not all of Dr. Buck’s roses are going to adapt to our southern climate.
Those cultivars which have adapted give outstanding performance from plants with tremendously strong genetic foundation.
Efforts are presently underway by Texas A&M to test 30 Buck cultivars in the first national EarthKind trial.
For further information, contact the Ellis County Master Gardeners at the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, 701 S. Interstate 35E, Suite 3, Waxahachie, or call 972-825-5175 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gail Haynes is an Ellis County Master Gardener and regularly publishes a column in the Waxahachie Daily Light. Gail may be reached at 972-825-5175.