Article by Dianne Gropper, Huron Area Master Gardener
Above: ‘Hope for Humanity’ shrub rose.
Photo by: East River Nursery
One late spring day five years ago, while driving down Dakota Avenue in Huron, my husband Jim and I saw a shrub rose as part of the landscaping at the American Bank and Trust. We were immediately attracted to the plant’s many red blooms. The bush was growing in an open rock garden on the west side of the building exposed to winter winds and hot afternoon summer sun. We walked into the bank and learned that many people are attracted to the ‘Hope for Humanity’ shrub rose bush while driving through town. Our next stop was a local nursery to purchase the rose for our backyard. We’ve been delighted with the plant’s beautiful lush red flowers and deep green foliage. An added bonus is that this shrub rose is disease and pesticide free and requires minimum maintenance.
The ‘Hope for Humanity’ shrub rose produces deep-red, double-petal blooms with 30-35 petals per bloom. The plant flowers repeatedly throughout the summer until frost. Flowers are lightly fragrant. Dark green foliage is highly disease-resistant. This shrub rose is very heat-and-cold tolerant, hardy through USDA hardiness zones 3 to 8.
The ‘Hope for Humanity’ shrub rose was released in 1995 as part of the Parkland Series bred at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at Morden Arboretum Research Station located in Manitoba, Canada. The Parkland series of rose varieties were specially developed to survive Canadian winters, and they are known for their hardiness. ‘Hope for Humanity’ was named for the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Red Cross Society. This plant, with a mature size of five-feet tall by four-feet wide, can be used in a rose garden, perennial garden, or in mixed border.
- Spring: Select a site with at least six hours of direct sunlight (eight would be better) to produce deep-red color blooms. Avoid planting near roots of large trees. Tree roots will compete with roses for water. The plant likes well-drained, organic-rich, acidic soil. Soils with a high pH or heavy clay will need to be amended. Till the rose in shredded peat moss, well-rotten manure, and vermiculite. Renew the amendments yearly to maintain the lower soil pH. Broadcast 10-10-10 garden fertilizer around the plant’s base after it has blossomed for the first time, no sooner.
- Summer: Water evenly throughout summer; roses do not like dry soil. Remove dead flower heads to encourage blooming. ‘Hope for Humanity’ is environmentally friendly, disease-free, and can be grown using organic methods. Stop fertilizing and deadheading in late August to early September to allow the plant to harden for dormancy.
- Fall: Requires minimal pruning. Lightly prune to about one-to-two feet to avoid branches breaking in the snow.
- Winter: This is one tough rose; little winter care is required. ‘Hope for Humanity’ is grown on its own root, not grafted. If the top does die back over the winter, it will grow back true to variety, unlike a grafted rose where the rootstock is often the part that survives winter and regrows as an inferior plant. You can mulch around the base with bark mulch, but this is not normally necessary. The plants are hardy down to –35°F with only snow as protection. In the spring, prune any damage that may have occurred during winter.
This article was written with contributions from Mary Roduner, former SDSU Extension Consumer Horticulture Field Specialist.