Louis Raymond experiments in his own gardens like

a mad scientist, searching out plants that most people have

never seen before & figuring out how to make them perform.- The Boston Globe

…Louis Raymond ensures that trees can grow in Brooklyn…

or just about any other place where concrete consumes

the dirt and skyscrapers shield the sunshine.- USA Today


NEW Trips to Take!

Myrtle's easy when the conditions are right.


NEW Plants to Try!

Louis tries to capture the exact words to describe the fleeting but deep pleasures to be found in these Summer-into-Autumn incredibles.


New Gardening to Do!

Allergic to bees? You can still have an exciting garden, full of flowers and color and wildlife.


Plant Profiles

The Best Season Ever: 'Thérèse Bugnet' Rose


Such plummy, rosy-red stems! They are perfect for chilly weather, when all warmth is at a premium.




Siberian dogwoods are what usually come to mind first for such bright Winter twigs. Twigs of 'Thérèse Bugnet' are their equal. The upper portions of young stems are thornless, but the putty-white thorns soon appear farther down.




The thorns become so dense that they make handling the stems impossible without leather gloves. Fortunately, they bring their own contrast in form and color, and are a visual asset that no Siberian dogwood can match.




The bark of older stems mutes to light brown, which makes them distinctly less interesting.




It's worth it to clip off these older stems, so that the show of bright stems is as powerful as possible. Happily, that same clipping also helps the warm-weather show—pink flowers that are highly fragrant—be its best, too.




Here's how to grow this unique and oh-so-hardy rose:

Latin Name

Rosa 'Thérèse Bugnet'. Say "tair-EZ boon-YAY."

Common Name

'Thérèse Bugnet' rose


Rosaceae, the Rose family.

What kind of plant is it?

Extremely hardy bush rose.


Zones 3 - 7 when growing on its own roots; grafted bushes are only hardy to Zone 4.


Vertical stems of own-root bushes arise directly from the ground, forming an ever-expanding colony. Grafted specimens don't send out stolons and, so, form upright bushes with a vase shape. 


Older stems branch from their upper portions. See "How to handle it: Another option—or two!" for how to increase the proportion of stems that are unbranched and, therefore, gracefully wand-like—and also, conveniently, the most colorful in the Winter.

Rate of Growth


Size in ten years

Five to seven feet tall and wide; if growing on its own roots and allowed to sucker, the shrub can increase in width indefinitely. Somewhat shorter with pruning: See both "How to handle it" boxes, below. 


Full when in leaf. Depending on the degree of pruning, the texture when out of leaf can be dense and twiggy (less interesting) or more open and with a more consistent vertical rhythm (much more interesting).

Grown for

its hardiness: As is typical for roses with Rosa rugosa among their parents, 'Thérèse Bugnet' is extremely hardy. (Some sources even list the hardiness as Zone 2.) Here's another plant for everyone gardening from Alaska to Newfoundland—or in containers on the windswept terrace of a penthouse anywhere. The shrub is reasonably heat-tolerant, too, so can also grace Zone 7 gardens from Arkansas to Georgia.


its flowers: Bright pink, semi-double, and about four inches across, they are also appreciated for being self-cleaning—meaning that they drop their petals on their own. A slight downside to this tidy trait is that 'Thérèse Bugnet' flowers don't succeed when cut; the petals drop all too soon. This cultivar is reported as being more sustainedly floriferous as Summer grinds on: Because very few hips are produced, the shrub's energy can be directed more towards additional blooms. Come Winter, the colorful stems more than compensate for the few-to-no hips.


its flowers' fragrance: It is described as strong as well as spicy. 


its stems' colorful Winter display: Unique in the genus, younger stems of 'Thérèse Bugnet' change color in the cold months, to a striking rosy red. The thornless upper portion of the stems is a more pure show, but the display of the heavily-thorned lower portions is notable, too: They are a chilly putty-white that contrasts beautifully with the rosy red of the bark. See "How to handle it: Another option—or two!" for tactics that maximize this cultivar's Winter performance. These colorful Winter stems are particularly welcome in that so many other plants with similar talents—willows, Siberian dogwoods, boxelders, lindens, e.g.—require good soils with average to plentiful moisture. Thérèse's stems provide Winter color as bright as any of them, from a bush that tolerates drought and sandy soil that would kill the others in a month.  

Flowering season

One large flush in late Spring. Scattered rebloom in Summer, often followed by a full second flush in the Fall. Summer rebloom is more profuse in cooler climates; even in New England, Summer can be hot enough to suppress bud formation almost entirely.

Color combinations

The flowers are profuse as well as uncompromisingly pink; they have just enough petals to obscure most of their yellow stamens. 'Thérèse Bugnet' looks best when neighboring plants supply pink, rose, purple, burgundy, white, or blue. This rose's Winter stems are (appropriately) rosy-red, not orange-red, so this shrub should be kept separate from the hot colors of yellow, orange, and red all year round.

Plant partners

If your best location in terms of visibility of the stems during the Winter (plus nose-right-into-the-blossom fragrance inhalation in Summer) is compact or also needs to welcome other plants at close quarters, then choose 'Thérèse Bugnet' that has been grafted. Then you can plant this rose closely with something low and sun-loving, preferably evergreen, so that the contrast with the bright Winter stems is maximized. If your soil is of normal richness and moisture-retentiveness, Microbiota would be intriguing. Its feathery stems are a terrific textural counter to the rough pointy-ovals of the rose, and their unusual bronze Winter color would be a sophisticated pairing with the rugosa's rosy stems.


Low junipers will thrive in soil that's leaner and drier. If your soil is good to rich, but still with reasonable drainage, front with prostrate plum yew. It has dark green needles and a lower habit than almost any true yew.


Taller background choices that will enhance the look of 'Thérèse Bugnet' year-round include larger forms of Japanese holly, box, and yew.


If spaces are larger, or you want 'Thérèse Bugnet' to provide coverage that is full right to the ground, then plant bushes growing on their own roots. Unless you've committed to controlling the rose's rhizomes (see the second "How to handle it" box, below), partner plants will need to be several yards away. Inherently, then, you'll be working on a larger-scale composition, so partner with bigger neighbors. Note that bigger will usually mean taller, and taller means capable of casting shade. Although Thérèse is surprisingly shade-tolerant for a rose, it is denser and more floriferous with more sun. Try to limit tall neighbors to positions to the north or east of the rose. Big-boned neighbors that create a stylish look near (but not adjacent to) a free-range colony of 'Thérèse Bugnet' include Catalpa x erubescens 'Purpurea' (as a pollard), Cotinus coggygria 'Velvet Cloak', and Physocarpus opulifolius 'Summer Wine'.

Where to use it in your garden

Grafted bushes of 'Thérèse Bugnet' don't send out the wide-ranging stolons typical of own-root rugosas, so feel free to site them amid mixed plantings. By contrast, own-root bushes will fill their spaces fully—and then some—so are the better choice if you are using 'Thérèse Bugnet' as a large-scale groundcover, hedge, privacy screen, or barrier. They also are hardier than grafts, especially when growing this rose year-round in containers; see "Quirks and special cases," below.


Fragrance is usually described as being spicy and intense (in a good way!) so, if possible, plant 'Thérèse Bugnet' at the front edge of a bed or along a walkway. Rosa rugosa cultivars aren't normally thought of as a shrub with good Winter interest. Indeed, the thick thorny habit and gray stems of the species and most cultivars make them a good choice for locations that are not in view from the house. On account of its bright stems, 'Thérèse Bugnet' is a glorious exception. The shrub is worthy of a prime sunny spot near walkways, doors, or windows, so that you can be glad to be growing it every day.


Although the colorful younger Winter stems are so unusual—and are at their best when duller older stems have been pruned away—try not to use 'Thérèse Bugnet' on a large scale: It would be daunting or even impossible to have access into the interior of a large colony for the necessary pruning. This cultivar is unique in the genus for being of true specimen caliber, so plant a single bush in a prominent location. If own-root, limit its spread of a colony to the width into which you can reach all the way to the center to prune: Three feet wide is probably the max. If planting as a hedge, limit its width for the same reason. 


'Thérèse Bugnet' is nothing if not tolerant. Almost any soil will do, including pure sand, as long as moisture is accessible not too far beneath the surface. Full sun is best, although 'Thérèse Bugnet' is notable for flowering even in part shade. 

How to handle it: The basics

Rosa rugosa cultivars are so hardy, resilient, and tolerant of sandy soil and full sun, that they can be planted at almost any time of the year, from the height of Summer to the depths of Winter, that the soil is workable. That said, establishment is quickest when planting occurs in Spring or Fall.


To enhance the display of Winter stems as well as control overall height, pay a visit to your shrub in late Winter or early Spring—any time before the foliage is emerging—so that the array and character of the stems is still fully exposed. Pick a chilly or even cold day for your visit, so that you'll be wearing gloves and a coat or, at the minimum, a very heavy overshirt. Then your hands and arms will be protected from the stems' unavoidable thorns. While kneeling at the base of the colony, reach into the center and cut out the oldest, thickest canes. These will be the tallest, as well as the ones for whom the rosy hue of youth is a memory. If your colony is own-root, cut canes off directly at ground level. If it's grafted, leave a stub an inch or two long so that new stems can arise from it. Also, cut off any stems that arise from the rootstock: These will likely be those either of Rosa multiflora or 'Dr. Huey'.


Depending on how nutritious your soil is, how long your growing season is, and how much sun and water your Thérèse receives, you may want to reduce the shrub's height even more. Cut back the tallest of the remaining canes—even though they may still be young enough to sport the desired colorful bark—by a third or by half. Because Thérèse blooms at the tips of new growth, flower production won't be impaired by this pruning, and might even be enhanced by the number of new twigs the pruning encourages. But the display of Winter twigs that results will be somewhat less graceful when stems are cut back partway instead of right to the ground: There will be fewer clean wands of growth, and more stems with lateral branches. See "How to handle it," below.

How to handle it: Another option—or two!

Rugosa rose cultivars are so hardy, and so reliable in their flowering, that you don't need to focus your pruning specifically towards a floral finish. As long as you do whatever pruning you want in Spring, Thérèse will flower in late Spring or Summer. 


Even better, if you target your pruning towards the best display of Winter stems, you'll have the best of both worlds: Cold weather color and warm-weather flowers. As above, in late Winter or early Spring, cut out any stems old enough that their bark has transitioned from rosy-red to tan or brown. Also cut out any of the remaining rosy-red stems that have grown lateral branches. (Alternatively, you could revisit your colony in Fall, just after the leaves are shed, and clip off just these stems' laterals.) By the time cold weather arrives in earnest, your colony will be composed only of stems that are colorful and of a wand-like simplicity of shape.


If your colony receives enough water, nutrition, sun, and a long-enough growing season, it might be possible in Spring to cut all stems to the ground (or, on grafted specimens, down to stubs above the graft), regardless of whether or not they have the preferred rosy bark and unbranched wand-i-tude or not. Such "radically-renewed" bushes are more likely (again, in well-nourished circumstances) to produce a crop of new stems that are especially long, more-or-less unbranched, of a uniform hue, and (maybe) with thorns stopping at the same point. And the heaviest flowering might be pushed from the usual June window to somewhat later in the Summer, when all flowers are at a premium. My Thérèse is too young for such a dramatic experiment. In three or four years, though, it will be ready.

Quirks and special cases 

Because it is so hardy, drought tolerant, and sun-loving, 'Thérèse Bugnet' is an excellent choice for year-round containers that are exposed to cold and wind, even when they are growing in gardens in climates that are severe already. The unusual and showy Winter stems make this rose all the more appropriate for locations that are directly in the view of windows, or are part of the entry plantings for doorways and driveways. Is your garden on a sunny terrace twenty stories high in Minneapolis? At your house in Aspen? 'Thérèse Bugnet' should be at the top of your list.


Plant only own-root bushes in containers: It's always more stressful growing in a year-round container, let alone one sited in a severe climate. You want Thérèse to be maximally hardy and, hence, vigorous.


Provided your container has sufficient drainage holes, you should use rich potting medium for the roses: You'll want all possible vigor and bulk, as well as the largest possible supply of new canes that will color the best. For the same reason, provide regular irrigation in the Summer. Yes, this rose is drought-tolerant, but when growing in a container that receives no supplemental irrigation, the soil could become completely dry. This is a rose, not a cactus. 


'Thérèse Bugnet' is susceptible to attacks from the rose stem girdler, a trait it is presumed to have inherited from a girdler-susceptible species that is often identified as one of its parents, Rosa acicularis. Check with the local office of your USDA Cooperative Extention Service to see whether rose stem girdlers are a problem where you garden. 


Rose hybridizer Georges Bugnet named cultivars after the women in his life. Thérèse Bugnet was one of his sisters. Betty Bugnet was his mother. Julia Bugnet was his wife and so, fittingly, the rose named for her also goes by 'Madame Georges Bugnet'. There are still more Bugnet cultivars, although few are now commercially available: 'Ann', 'Madeleine', 'Marthe', 'Marie', and 'Reta'. Are they all daughters? 


Here is a portal into the Bugnet roses.


Online and at retailers. Normally, I recommend only own-root roses, but because Rosa rugosa and its hybrids are stoloniferous on their own roots, grafted bushes can sometimes be more practical.


By division almost any time from Fall to Spring that the soil is workable. By hardwod cuttings taken from November through early March, and by softwood cuttings taken from July through September. 


'Thérèse Bugnet' can also be propagated by grafting; the rootstock will most likely be either 'Dr. Huey' or Rosa multiflora.  Grafted rugosa roses don't produce the wide-ranging stolons typical of the species, but result in bushes that aren't quite as hardy: to Zone 4 or 5 instead of Zone 2 or 3. Further, the rootstocks are prone to sending up suckers that need to be removed lest they outgrow the scion. See "Where to use it in your garden," both "How to handle it" boxes, and "Quirks and special cases" to help you decide whether grafted or own-root bushes are best.  

Native habitat

Rosa 'Thérèse Bugnet' was developed by Georges Bugnet, who emigrated in 1905 from France to Alberta, Canada. No doubt motivated by the severe Winters in his adopted homeland, Bugnet used native-to-Canada rose species plus others that he imported from Siberia to develop rose cultivars that are still among the hardiest.


'Therese Bugnet' was developed in the early 1940s, and entered American nurseries about 1950. Some of the roses that are confirmed as being in its parentage include Rosa kamtschatica, native to the Kamtschatka Peninsula (which extends from the northern Pacific coast of Russia); R. amblyotis, also native to the Kamtschatka Peninsula; R. rugosa, native from northern Japan to the Kamtschatka Peninsula; and R. macounii, native from the Yukon to the northern American Rockies. Some sources also list R. acicularis as a parent; it is native to arctic regions worldwide. Still other roses are involved, in that they contributed the pollen to the cross from which 'Therese Bugnet' arose. They are unconfirmed, but might include the 'Hansa' and 'Betty Bland' hybrids of R. rugosa, as well as R. hugonis, which is native to China. 

FacebookTwitterRSS Feed

Stay in touch!


Sign up for twice-monthly eNews, plus notification of new posts:


* indicates required