Last updated on December 2nd, 2011
Yes, I’ve complained about my roses in the past. You might recall that I once threatened to rip them all out, and replace them with onions. But in truth, there are some real winners among the roses in my rain-battered garden. Take, for instance, ‘Carefree Delight,’ pictured above. It is an exquisite pink and white shrub rose. I’ve read that when it is happy, Carefree can grow quite large. Mine must be delirious with joy, for it has grown up and over the boxwood hedge. No fragrance, but no trouble, either. KLJ Score: A+
Bonica. I saw this floribunda growing in the median strips on the Upper West Side in NYC. If it could flourish there, I assumed, it would flourish here. And I was right. Bonica produces a constant profusion of lightly-scented, shell-pink bloom from late spring through frost. If you don’t already have Bonica in your collection, by all means obtain it. Immediately. KLJ Score: A+
Graham Thomas. This David Austin hybrid has lightly tea-scented, clear yellow blossoms. The flowers are lovely in bud. Directly upon bloom, however, every petal falls to the ground. At least that is how Graham Thomas behaves here, in my zone 5-b garden. I would love to know how this rose performs for other gardeners. Perhaps it fares better in areas with afternoon shade. I can only give it a modest grade. KLJ Score: C.
Mary Rose. Another David Austin hybrid, and one that is extremely well-behaved. The flowers are quite large, and emit a strong, Damask-like fragrance. If you were here, I’d make you climb over the boxwood hedge to smell this rich, pink beauty up close. Of course, a rose this sweet is bound to attract Japanese beetles. And believe me, it does. But it is not Mary’s fault. KLJ Score: A+
Heritage. Yet another David Austin rose, and English in every way. Cupped blooms are a soft pink at the center, with white outer petals. The stems are nearly thornless (always a blessing at pruning-time). I’ll let David Austin himself describe the scent: “[Heritage] has a beautiful fragrance, with overtones of fruit, honey and carnation on a myrrh background.” And remember, he is describing a rose, not a blush Zinfandel. Heritage is all the better if its weaker canes are pruned off in early spring. In my garden, it produces a huge flush of flowers in June, and then off and on again until frost. KLJ Score: A+
How would you score your own roses? Who are the winners? The losers? Let us know, in the comments section below!
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