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A Pure White, English Style Groundcover Rose

Posted Nov 04 2009 10:03pm

One of my favorite 'English' roses is actually a French rose. Meidiland White is a creation of the House of Meilland in France (obviously our US spelling of the rose's name is creative or just incorrect), but it has an old-fashioned character that fits in well with all my English David Austin roses.

I didn't purchase this rose; it was given to my by gardener friend Sandy. I often think of her when I admire the blooms, and that makes them even prettier. One thing I like about these roses is how well they hold up in a vase. The petals are thicker than those of most Austin roses, which makes them sturdier for cutting.

With a height of less than 2 feet and a spread of 3 to 5 feet, all depending on pruning, this rose is classified as a groundcover rose. The gorgeous dark green foliage makes a pretty groundcover even when the rose isn't in bloom. As you can see above, the new leaves have a bronze-maroon color before darkening to pure green.

The big drawback to this rose is its susceptibility to blackspot. If you have a big blackspot problem and don't spray, then this rose isn't for you. In areas with less severe blackspot problems (like my garden in California), the rose only needs a spray or two each season to stay healthy. It does have good resistance to rust, as it was planted near my rust-magnet Abraham Darby rose in California, and Meidiland White's leaves never had more than a small smattering of rust while Abraham turned entirely orange.

In drier climates like mine, Meidiland White performs beautifully and looks nice near the front of the border. Above you can see the nice backdrop created by its dark leaves; the purple delphinium really stands out in contrast. The rose takes a little break from blooming after it's heavy first flush, then puts out a smattering of blooms through the rest of the season. It only gets partial sun in my garden and would more profusely in full sun with regular deadheading and plenty of nutrients and water.

In the cold temperatures of fall, Meidiland White blooms take on a touch of pink near the base, but they are usually pristine white. With those dark glossy leaves and elegant blooms, this rose is a beauty and a keeper for my garden.
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