22 June 2012

Rekindling my romance with roses

 Is there anyone in the world who doesn't like roses? I can't imagine such a person, although certainly there are many who might not like growing roses. Over the years, I've gotten excited about these glorious plants sort of in fits and starts. I'll buy some new varieties, they'll thrive or not, I'll get caught up with other plants and neglect expanding the rose growing sites for several seasons.

Last year, I gave in to my desire to have more roses after spending a wonderful afternoon at gardener and rosarian Pauline Jacob's fantastic garden not far from me. Pauline has well over 100 different roses, including many of the Austins, and I felt the urge stir to start experimenting with roses again. Like the wonderfully coloured Cinqo de Mayo, above. The only trouble with roses that I have is getting accurate colour representation in some images. This particular rose is more spectacular than you can tell here. There are tinges of purple, orange and red in this beauty, which I picked up along with Sally Holmes and Morden Fireglow from den Haan's Garden World in Middleton, NS.
 My friend Catherine Neily is another ardent rose-gardener, and when she saw the photo of Distant Drum the other night, she grew very excited. This gorgeously coloured rose stopped me in my tracks a few days ago when I was at Blomidon Nurseries, and I had to have it. Catherine told me this is a Griffith Buck rose, who bred hardy roses with great fragrance. I don't know yet about the hardiness of Distant Drum, but its colour coupled with its fantastic fragrance totally caught my heart.
 I call this double white Scotch rose 'Dominion Day', because it normally blooms around Canada Day, July 1, and its buds are red and white striped. Hopefully it will still be blooming next weekend, Canada Day weekend, when I'm holding the second annual Open Garden here at my place.
 Linda Campbell is another one of those roses that is hard to photograph accurately for colour. Her rich, red blooms come out in generous clusters. Although she is a rugosa hybrid, she has no fragrance but she has definitely bright, true red blooms. I just repurchased this rose from Baldwin's Nurseries in Falmouth.

While the flowers of Rosa glauca don't overly excite me, I grow this rose primarily for its blue-green foliage and bright red autumn hips. The flowers are single and pink and not fragrant, but they do show up well against the foliage. 
 One of the best rosarians I've ever met is Bob Osborne of Cornhill Nursery in Petitcodiac, New Brunswick. Bob is the author of the wonderful book Hardy Roses, and his enthusiasm for growing own root roses has excited me and opened me to a world of new varieties. I bought this rugosa hybrid, Polareis, about 8 years ago. The shrub is now massive, and the flowers change from pink to white, with great scent. A highly recommended choice.
 I planted Roseraie de l'Hay ten years ago, in honour of the late Timothy Findley. It is without a doubt one of the most fragrant rugosa roses I've ever encountered. The flowers resemble Hansa but the scent is utterly divine.
 If I could have only one rose, it would be Snow Pavement, which is another highly scented and very floriferous rugosa hybrid. This particular plant has been trained to grow like a standard, and I got it from Skye's creations at Springvale Nurseries. This is the third Snow Pavement in my garden, and all are doing fine.
I was told by rosarian Peggy Ann Pineau of Old Heirloom Roses that this fabulous rose, 'Alchemyst', can be tricky to overwinter. Don't anyone tell my plant this, because it is currently holding ten-foot tall canes, that are covered in buds. The flowers change colour from apricot to yellow-peach to pink as they mature, and yes, this beauty is fragrant, too. 

Harison's Yellow is supposed to be a tricky rose to propagate from cuttings. I collected a number of cuttings from a farm some years ago, and one of them has survived and is thriving nicely. The beauty only lasts for a few days, but when the rose is in bloom it's just such a dazzling show. 
Pristine Pavement is a close relative of Snow Pavement, though without the wash of lavender colour. It is very fragrant, and the pure white flowers contrast well with its deep green foliage. 

I can't remember where I bought Robusta, but she is well named, presenting me with dozens of single, deep red flowers. Despite my fondness for double or quartered rose blooms, I also have a deep fondness for the clean, unfussy look of single roses.

Last but not least is another feast for the eyes and the nose, the white rugosa hybrid Souvenir du Philomen Cochet. Closely related to Blanc Double du Coubert, but with even more fragrance. The only thing I find difficult about these white rugosa types is that they tend to "ball" in foggy or rainy weather, turning into a mass of soggy, tissue like petals. But aside from that, they're pretty much perfect and I think everyone should have one. 

So far I have come home with about 8 different species this year, and I suspect more will come along as  the nurseries show off more and more varieties. What about you--do you have a romance with roses going on? (Please tell me yes. I don't want to be addicted to these fantastic plants all by myself). 


  1. Oh Jodi, like I need another plant addiction. I have been trying my hardest not to give in to the temptation of the rose but you are making it incredibly difficult to do so.

    *Sigh* I believe I may need "The Alchemyst" to turn my leaden worries into spiritual gold... and I think I hear the sound of "Distant Drums".

  2. Jodi my roses are wonderful this year and so many are blooming...these are just lovely!!

  3. I have a nameless peachy apricot changeant rose. I wonder if it is your Alchemyst?

  4. Sure sounds like it, Diana. How cool it would be if we could share the same rose cultivar across the continents and oceans--and hemispheres.

  5. Jodi, little did I know when your book came out and I blogged about having a dream garden that I'd been knee deep in gardens this year working for a landscaping company. I've seen more roses this summer than I have in the past ten years and loving it. :) They are simply gorgeous.

    You can't imagine how many times I've thought of your book this summer only to realize that my daughter confiscated it a few months back..Could be time to buy her one and get my signed book back.. Love the photos!

  6. I wish I had a "scratch and sniff" computer screen. I love the heady smell of roses ...

  7. You have quite a collection for dabbling in Rosarianism (is that a word?). That purple/peach/red Rose is impressive! I'm a huge Rose fan, too, and I have a few Rose bushes. But not enough!

  8. My roses are going "gangbusters' this year! Right now, I am smitten with my JP Connell, a small creamy rose that opens pale yellow and fades to an antique white.

    A few days ago I bought a 'Cuthbert Grant'. I love the deep cherry red of the blooms. I can't wait until more buds open.

    Yeah, I am getting rose fever. ;)

  9. Temptation, temptation. That Distant Drum looks so beautiful. LOL! You have so many lovely ones Jodi. My small rose garden is full but I am always looking for or creating a new spot for just one more rose. LOL!

  10. This is quiet a collection indeed. The roses are beautiful. I especially adore the scotch rose as it reminds me of being at peace for some reason. Keep the great posts coming!

  11. The rain was great! Our grass is green again, except we have some bare spots. The flowers are looking good! Kolkata Flowers


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