William Baffin, a kordesii hybrid, Dept. of Agriculture, Canada, 1983
William Baffin is one of the most exceptional roses from the Canadian Dept. of Agriculture rose breeding program. At a glance, its individual blooms are almost plain, and yet it is most prolific in both quantity and frequency of repeat. I purchased this shrub for my parents garden in a harsh zone 5 location three years ago. I chose it based upon the many glowing reports I had read of its virtues, rather than what it looked like in photos I had seen. I have been very pleased with this shrub, although it did take two years to get truly established and take off.
William Baffin can be grown as both a climber and as a free-standing shrub. It will grow about 10' tall by 12' wide if left untrained. There is plenty of glossy mid-green foliage that has been completely disease free in this garden, and it has shown no winter damage whatsoever. It is often exposed to temperatures of minus 35F every winter, and yet it is completely hardy in even colder areas. (to zone 3 apparently)
The blooms are produced in clusters of buds that open successively over long periods. The color is a deep pink with about ten petals that open fully to expose bright stamens at the center. There is very little scent unfortunately, but since this rose has so many other sterling qualities, it is hard to fault it for this one shortcoming. The effect of the shrub when in full bloom is a very species-like quality with its open, clear pink flowers. I highly recommend William Baffin for cold climates where a large shrub or climber is needed.
merit rating: 8.9
Original photographs and site content © Paul Barden 1996-2003