(you can click on the photos to enlarge)
'Iceberg', was the first rose that I ever bought in my life and my passion for growing roses started with this variety. So I would like to begin my series of monthly rose portraits with this rose.
The moment I rented my first small apartment with a balcony, I bought two 'Iceberg' standard roses or also commonly called "tree roses" and planted them in large terracotta containers. I still remember that some people doubted that roses would grow in pots on a balcony, but my two specimen did and flowered prolifically. Ever since then I have been growing Iceberg roses on balconies, a roof top terrace, in my first garden in the Bay Area in the Sillicon Valley in California and last but not least in my current garden in San Diego, CA.
'Iceberg', classified as a Floribunda, was bred by the famous German rose breeder Reimer Kordes in 1958, Germany. It is a cross between a Hybrid Musk (Robin Hood, Pemperton, 1927) and a Hybrid Tea (Virgo, Charles Mallerin, 1947) rose. Synonyms are 'Schneewitchen', 'Fee de Neige'. It is a very popular rose world wide, most likely because it grows well almost everywhere.
One of its best virtues is its floriferousness. In warm climates 'Iceberg' is almost constantly in bloom. The rose is supposed to be very hardy, too. It is said to have a good disease resistance, especially in warm climates, although black spot can be a problem in wet weather. 'Iceberg' is growing vigorously and builds up a nice full bush up to a height of approximately 6 feet in hot climates, but of course stays considerably smaller in cold climate zones. The blooms have a semi-double form and come in clusters of 3 to 15 flowers. Usually they are pure white or near white (except when the weather gets cold, then they first have a pinkish tint) and when they are fully open, they show beautiful yellow stamens. Bloom size is around 3 inch. The flowers have a moderate fragrance and last a long time on the bush and in the vase.
There is also a 'Climbing Iceberg' in existence, which is basically a climbing version of the 'Iceberg' shrub rose. There are two more sports out there of this rose: 'Brilliant Pink Iceberg' (bold pink color) and 'Burgundy Iceberg' (obviously burgundy colored flowers).
I love this rose! First of all probably because I feel a special affinity for the color white and good white roses are rare. In my opinion Iceberg is one of the best white roses ever bred. If I want an impressive splash of white color in my garden I just have to plant an Iceberg rose and I don't have to worry anymore. The rose repeats very fast and generous here in Southern California. Right now I am growing 4 'Iceberg' shrubs and 3 'Climbing Icebergs' and altogether I am very happy with them. I also like the fragrance of Iceberg, which I would best describe as an apple scent, with a hint of honey.
I have to admit sometimes my Iceberg roses get diseased in my organic, no-spray garden even though they are usually supposed to be very disease resistant, especially in a warm climate. Two years ago in autumn they got powdery mildew pretty badly for a limited period of time. This year in January I had plenty of rust on them, but through de-leaving and pruning this is all gone now. Despite the occasional problems with fungal diseases, this rose grows very well for me. It makes me always happy to see an Iceberg rose in full bloom.
One thing I was not aware of when I planted my Icebergs is the size, that this rose is able to reach in Southern California. Some of my shrubs have gained a size of 6 x 6 feet (height and width) and I assume, if I would not prune them hard in winter and also do some summer pruning they could get even taller. Since I was expecting them to stay smaller I planted some of them to close to other plants and sooner or later they need to be moved. If you have ever transplanted a rose of this size you know that this is not a piece of cake! So I am trying to learn from this experience. I am now aiming to give my Icebergs and in fact all of my other roses enough space, so that they can grow to their mature size, without encroaching other plants territory.
With Icebergs as well as with all other roses here in Southern California, they need to get plenty of water and food. Therefore if I want top performance from them, I need to water and fertilize them very regularly. If I would not do that, of course, they would still bloom but not that profusely. Iceberg roses also provide good and plenty of cut flowers for me. If I like to, I can always have white roses in the house and they go well together in bouquets with roses of almost any other color. As said above currently I am growing seven Icebergs roses (shrubs and climbers). If I would have more room, I would grow for sure even more Icebergs, but in my small garden they claim already a lot of real estate, so I keep it down to seven of them altogether. I am very sure as long as I have the possibility to grow roses, I will not be without an Iceberg rose! You might want to give this variety a try, too! I believe, you will not regret it!
See you in the garden!