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No Henry…Yes William Baffin Rose

Updated: Feb 24

Annette Griswold, Ozaukee Master Gardener


UPDATE to article published 2/23: Many of us are very familiar with the plants we have but sometime misplaced a name which is what happened when “Oh Henry” first appeared in this blog. The elegant and outstanding rose was misidentified as a "Henry Cabot Climbing Rose". Its real name is “William Baffin”. The following story from Annette, edits the previous information. Thank you Annette!

‘William Baffin’ Rose

I planted the ‘William Baffin’ rose more than 25 years ago. It has been a steadfast presence in my garden ever since. It’s named after a Canadian explorer and is part of the Canadian Explorer Rose Series ( These roses are hardy to Zone 2 or 3. This is especially important to me as I live on the edge of the Northern Kettle Moraine Forest and receive no benefits from Lake Michigan.

I don’t provide any winter protection. In spring, I cut it back by half and remove damaged canes. I tried growing it on a trellis, but it did not like that, so I let it grow “free standing”. The canes are sturdy enough so no support structure is needed. It blooms all summer into early fall with regular deadheading.

I used to fertilize it with a well-known systemic rose and flower product, and I must say, my roses never looked better! I stopped using that product when I discovered it kills bees. Now I use an organic rose and flower food (granules dug in), about 2 cups in spring and again in July. ‘William’ needs an inch of water once a week. If rain is lacking, I water at the base in the morning. In late fall, I dress it with shredded leaves. The dreaded Japanese beetles attack sometimes and are offered swimming lessons in a jar of soapy water.




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