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Rose of the Month For November, 2004
by Gary Scales

Gray squirrels busily gathered plump acorns as browning elm leaves swirled across the Marin Art & Garden lawn; our Rose Garden now in the lengthening shadows of an Indian summer afternoon. I had come for inspiration for our last Rose of the Month column of 2004. The difficulty is not to be influenced by favoritism or personal bias, or to pick a rose with unique attributes, but impossible to grow. My choice wasn’t all that difficult. I settled comfortably on Iceberg.

The German hybridizer Kordes has given the rose world numerous world-class roses but none can compare with Iceberg, which he introduced in 1958, almost fifty years ago. As Shakespeare reminds us, “ That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” So too it is with Iceberg. The Germans call it Schneewittchen and the French, Fee des Neiges. To make matters even more confusing, in 1901 the French hybridizer Lamberts introduced a white polyantha named Schneewittchen. But don’t worry, just ask for Iceberg. Everyone will know what you mean.

Iceberg received the well deserved, World’s Most favorite Rose” designation in 1983. For a half a century Iceberg has been one of the most popular and widely grown roses. In 1968 a climbing Iceberg was brought to market, which has greatly added to its universal appeal and varied uses. Iceberg is classified as a floribunda but actually is a cross of a Hybrid Musk (Robert Robin) and a Hybrid Tea (Virgo).

Iceberg is a tall bush with clean light greens leaves and covers itself almost constantly with cluster flowers of stark white blooms, and cool weather brings an alluring touch of pale pink. In warmer climates, Iceberg is known to bloom year round. The flowers are long lasting, both in the garden and when cut. All this, plus a good fragrance, extremely healthy and virtually disease resistant. Iceberg also can tolerate shade extremely well. Against my admonitions, Janet planted a half dozen along a shady border. Much to my surprise, and her delight, they have simply thrived there. A touch of mildew from time to time and perhaps a hint of blackspot might be all that holds Iceberg back from a perfect “10” rating.

In our garden we use climbing Iceberg on arbors, trellis, and gates. Its serves as a six-foot high border along a shady walkway, and stands proudly and productively as a bush. I stopped to count. My goodness, we have eighteen Icebergs and love them all.

Iceberg: A rose for all reasons, a rose for all Seasons.

Photo by Nanette Londeree

Previous Roses of the Month:

October, 2004
Touch of Class, Tournament of Roses, and Taboo

September, 2004
All That Jazz

August, 2004

July, 2004
Betty Prior

June, 2004
Gertrude Jekyll

May, 2004
Sally Holmes

April, 2004
Double Delight

March, 2004
Gartendirecktor Otto Linne

February, 2004
Little Artist

January, 2004

November, 2003

October, 2003

September, 2003

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