An offshoot of the chrysanthemum breeding project in the 1940s, roses were some of the earliest woody landscape plant cultivars released from the University of Minnesota. The first directed breeding work on woody landscape plants can be dated to 1942 when Dr. Louis E. Longley, who started the chrysanthemum breeding project, began making some crabapple and rose crosses. 

Four super-hardy shrub roses—known as Northern Accents® Sven, Ole, Lena, and Sigrid—grow to more than three feet tall, covered in a profusion of clustered blooms all season. In Grand Rapids they survived a winter with a low temperature of -47°F. With consistent snow cover, they need no special winter care. They are resilient and environmentally gentle as well. 

University of Minnesota Rose Varieties

Northern Accents® Lena roses. Flowers are pink with yellow and white centers.

Northern Accents® Lena

  • Pink and white
  • Hardy shrub with frilly five-petal flowers
  • 3-4' plant size
  • Released in 2008

Northern Accents® Ole roses. Flowers are white and light pink.

Northern Accents® Ole

  • Ivory to pale pink
  • Hardy shrub rose with double petals
  • 3-4' plant size
  • Released in 2008

Northern Accents® Sven roses. Flowers are magenta in color.

Northern Accents® Sven

  • Pink to pale violet
  • Hardy shrub rose with fragrant double flowers
  • 3-4' plant size
  • Released in 2008

Northern Accent® Sigrid roses. Flowers are deep pink.

Northern Accents® Sigrid

  • Deep pink to red
  • Hardy shrub rose with fragrant flowers
  • 3-4' plant size
  • Released in 2012

Summer waltz rose. Flower is light pink with a yellow center.

Summer Waltz

  • Medium pink
  • Double cupped frilly 3.5 inch blooms with light fragrance
  • 4-4.5' plant size
  • Released in 2012

Prairie Fire roses. Flowers are bright red with a yellow center.

Prairie Fire

  • Bright red
  • Shrub, single blooms
  • 4-6' plant size
  • Released in 1959

Viking Queen roses. Flowers are dusty pink.

Viking Queen

  • Pink
  • Large, fragrant climber with double blossoms and glossy foliage
  • 8-10' plant size
  • Released in 1963

Northern Accents® is a registered trademark of the University of Minnesota.

Meet the researcher

Stan Hokanson

Stan Hokanson is a Professor in the CFANS Department of Horticultural Science.