Carefree Beauty, developed by Iowa State professor of horticulture Griffith Buck, was introduced in 1977. Forming an open, but extremely graceful bush, ‘Carefree Beauty’ appears to have few insect or disease problems and is not particular about soil or growing conditions. It is free blooming, probably one of the most floriferous pink roses, with new buds appearing all the time.
As a shrub rose, the general size is 5 feet high and 5 feet wide. The roses are a deep rich pink with a bloom of up to 4” in diameter. It blooms in spring, summer and fall with a moderate fragrance. For best results, the Carefree Beauty needs full sun, good air circulation, and average water to thrive.
The Carefree Beauty was made by breeding Seedling with Prairie Princess. His breeding program was meant to address an ongoing issue: Wild rose species around the world were hardy and disease-free, but bloomed only once per year, and in a limited color range from white to medium pink. They were also quite large — sometimes 15 feet tall and equally wide. On the other hand, the Hybrid Tea roses developed during the 19th and 20th centuries flowered repeatedly on bushes of a manageable size, but were subject to a host of rose diseases and could not survive extremely cold temperatures.
Buck described his program in a 1985 speech: “My normal procedure was to grow the seedlings in the greenhouse one year until they got big enough, and plant them out the second spring. The only attention they would get would be water and cultivation. I didn’t spray for disease.” His hybrids combined the best characteristics of both groups. Because of his research and technique, Carefree Beauty is capable of withstanding temperatures of -20°F and need no pesticides or fungicides to thrive.
Carefree Beauty was one of the first roses to receive Texas A&M’s EarthKind designation. This rose is now grown at the Montreal Botanical Garden, Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, the Chicago Botanic Garden, and the Australian National Botanic Gardens. The largest collections of Buck roses are grown in the Griffith Buck Garden at Iowa State’s Reiman Gardens.
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