28 November 2010

Autumn hips on Rosa 'Isabella Skinner'

Isabella Skinner is a much loved rose, particularly in the Prairies as it is exceedingly cold tolerant. Although the double pink scented flowers (freely produced on relatively thornless tall arching shrubs) are usually what is admired about it, less frequently mentioned is the fine autumn display of rich red, good sized hips.

The rose was bred by the Canadian plant breeder extraordinaire Frank Leith Skinner who had a nursery in the Dropmore area of Manitoba. His father was one of the original homesteaders of the area, but the young Frank was forced by a lung injury caused by pneumonia to spend less time rounding up cattle and more time gardening. Later his nursery became famous. The nursery no longer exists, but happily the old property is now the home of the "Frank Skinner Arboretum Trail", preserving his legacy.

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