Roses, Roses, Roses:

Therese Bugnet rosebush

Books, poems, and royal gardens have been dedicated to them. Artists depict them, perfumers adore them, lovers embrace them. Roses! The memory of their fragrance can begin with the new mothers bouquet, the sweet sixteens corsage, the brides bouquet, through the "please-don't-be-mad" offering, the I love you gift, the get-well vase, and, finally, on to the funeral bier. They are a bouquet for all the senses: smelling sweet as roses, feeling soft as rose petals, we can eat them, we hear them abuzz with honey bees, the list can go on. It is probably the most beloved flower. And they can adorn our gardens with the same sumptuous colors and rich fragrances, even used in the most utilitarian of ways.

In my own gardens, I have specific demands and uses for roses. The first general rule (which I break in one very special case) is that a rose must have fragrance. I am generally not interested in scentless roses when so many delightfully aromatic cultivars are available. I like healthy foliage and growth, and prefer a bushy shape. This is because I grow a garden; the purposes of cut flowers are different, and long leggy rosebushes are fabulous for cutting gardens! If I like the rose enough the plant shape is taken in stride.

Hardiness is a quality I learned to appreciate the difficult way: losing all ones plantings in a brutal, snowless winter gives new meaning to the word "hardy".

specie rose

General Rose information:

Roses are divided into categories depending on type of flower and plant, origin, and colors. It can prove confusing, so I prefer to work with categories in the context of use in the garden. The climbing roses can be modern hybrids or species or old fashioned cultivars, but we know that they are what we want on a fence or an arbor; a shrub that holds its own in the border is preferable to a long, tall plant constantly swamped by its neighbors. So,as in other plants, think first of the situation, then look for the rose to fill it. Find out your planting zone, and check the hardiness, then look for the height/width of the plant, each rose variety is going to have its own attributes, so any comments on the one you have an eye on is helpful.

Roses generally need full sun, a few tolerate less.

They usually like a fertile, rich soil- with debates on whether clay is better, etc., but soil that is enriched with humus will reward with blooms. When watering, do not splash the foliage, especially midday, as that encourages disease. It is helpful to "deadhead" the flowers and lightly prune throughout the season, always cutting back weak, dead growth, and pruning between flushes of bloom. That is similar to the care you give other plants. A mulch is another amenity, keeping down weeds and conserving moisture.

Winter Care

For the past few years, which have been mild, I have experimented with a Canadian technique which is described below. It essentially is growing roses on their own roots at a deeper measure to insure against frost damage. So far,so good; but it really hasn't been fully tested,yet.
planting is as follows:
*bare root plants are planted in a hole deep enough to cover the bud union with six inches of soil to meet the surface of the flowerbed.
*potted plants , after dormancy has broken, require a sort of pit which is filled in at the end of the growing season (otherwise, uhoh, smothered plants).

Landscape With Roses

This is a beauty with so many talents

pink rose How may they be used in the garden? As a shrub, as part of the border, along a fence, over an arbor, climbing into a tree, as a boundary, on a trellis, in a cutting garden, dripping over an incline, are a number of the places roses may find use. If you use the modern hybrids, there are no more freely, full season bloomers with the exception of annuals. My own choices are limited by the fact that I do not care to use chemicals, so disease resistance is a factor I would consider important.

Quick Tips

All the important stuff
peace rose

Growing in my garden.
Rose Hints

  • Buy #1 stock,1 1/2 and 2 are inferior
  • Don't splash water on leaves,if possible
  • Roses need fertilizer
  • Mulch is good underneath roses
  • Prune dead, weak growth and spent blooms

Roses are an important component of Cottage Gardens, read about ideas for use and companions, there.

More of Interest:

Very Hardy Roses

  • Konigen von Danemark, an alba
  • Blanc de Coubert, a rugosa
  • Thérèse Bugnet, a rugosa
  • Gruss An Aachen
  • Nymphenburg, modern shrub
  • Charles De Mills, gallica
  • Zéphirine Drouhin
  • Lavender Dream, modern shrub
  • Rosa Glauca, specie

Hybrid Teas

  • Fragrant Cloud
  • French Lace
  • Peace
  • Garden Party
  • Just Joey
  • Mary Rose
  • Mr. Lincoln

Special Use Roses

  • The Alchemyst, climber
  • Golden Showers, climber
  • America, climber
  • New Dawn, climber-hardy
  • Green Ice, miniature
  • Holy Toledo, miniature
  • Carrousel, miniature

Worthwhile Books

Roses For Midwest Gardens

Serious Gardener: Roses

Landscape With Roses

Roses for cutting

hybrid teas
For Fragrance
  • Angel Face
  • Fragrant Cloud
  • Double Delight
  • Mister Lincoln

Hybrid Teas are some of the best for cutting, while the most demanding to grow. All the above roses are in that category. 'Mr. Lincoln' has been a good variety for me, although the growth pattern is long and leggy; excellent for cutting, but a little awkward in the garden.

Thérèse Bugnet Rose
The Scented Garden