The Fairy is a fantastic polyantha rose, that has stood the test of time. It is so easy to grow and over the years forms a dense shrubby mound, that completely covers the ground.
Bred in 1931 by Ann Bentall in England by crossing Paul Crampel x Lady Gay (The latter being a Wichuriana hybrid). The Wichuriana ancestry is clearly seen by the small shiny leaves and lax growth, that in warmer climates almost makes the rose a small climber. It is extremely disease resistant, in fact I have only seen it getting a little mildew some places.
It has become one of the most popular roses here in Denmark. So popular that many are beginning to get tired of seeing this 'landscape rose' everywhere. I really like using this dependable work horse rose for low rose hedges, as ground cover rose and even in mixed borders. The flowers are small, but it is not for the individual flowers people grow this rose, but for the mass effect of the many small flowers. It also only has a very light apple scent.
It starts blooming a little later than most roses, but blooms continuously until frost and snow cover the roses. In spite of this, the rose is very hardy (USDA zone 4). And also does well in warmer climates and stands hot weather. The rose hangs on to its petals, but it is not necessary to deadhead the wilting dried flowers. Just use a broom and shake flowers off a few times during the season. The Fairy is very easy to prune, in fact a hedge trimmer is very useful, to trim it a bit every spring, if needed. The first 3 years I don´t prune it since I want it to cover the ground. After that I prune away the top third of the canes each spring.
4 years ago I used fairy roses to landscape a small front garden belonging to a elder couple, who because of health problems found it hard to work in the garden as much as they used to. They wanted something that flowered all summer and was very low maintainance. The small area underneath the red japanese maple tree was full of perennial weeds that they had given up fighting against. I suggested using Fairy roses for ground cover, used a landscape fabric to cover the ground (And kill the perennial weeds), planted 7 fairy roses and mulched with 3 inches of wood chip mulch. 4 years later it looks like this: