Should I keep this rose? A checklist…

This post is going to be my 2013 summer in review for our roses–something a little different this time since for those of you who have been following along, you know that we had the suckiest summer ever (sorry, no better way to put that) as far as our roses were concerned thanks mainly to the rose midge devastation. (In hindsight, I realize that I had seen the signs a season or two ago but wrote it off as just some weird anomaly.) But it isn’t just midge that has been a big headache, it’s also blackspot. Frankfully (that’s a word I made up to combine being frank and truthful) I’ve had quite enough with this disease; I am just so done with it. So, roses that were exhibiting blackspot problems again and again as well as being susceptible to midge, well…I saw a shovel in their future.

Should I keep this rose? A checklist via

The Book gets a lot of use. Do you have one of these yet?

At the end of the summer and into autumn, it was clear that I was going to have to do things very differently if I was going to continue to grow roses and still maintain sanity. “But it looked so good 2 summers ago!” or “Maybe I can just ignore the blackspot if I just look at the flowers?” and “When it does bloom it’s such a gorgeous rose!” were the types of things that were running though my head and making it so difficult. My charts and graphs loving husband was the inspiration for this checklist which I made to help remove some of the emotion of deciding which ones could stay. I tailored this checklist to the things that I am looking for in a rose but also gave bonus points at the end that allowed for things like sentimental value. Thinking that you might find some use out this checklist too, I have it here in PDF format if you’d like to print it out and use it yourself > > > Rose Checklist

Flower Carpet Amber | Hedgerow Rose

I won’t tell you what score should be your minimum for keeping a rose but I will tell you that I used one which I knew had problems but I could never part with (‘Madame Ernest Calvat’) as my baseline and of course I didn’t bother scoring them all since many were obvious keepers and some obviously had to go. (What I did was made a master copy of the checklist, slipped it in a sheet protector and used a dry erase marker in order to conserve paper.)

Pierre de Ronsard | Hedgerow Rose

Crown Princess Margareta and Erinnerung an Brod | Hedgerow RoseCurious as to which roses didn’t make the cut? The following were pulled. You’ll see some former superstars in this list. Heartbreaking, isn’t it?*

‘William Shakespeare 2000’

‘Winchester Cathedral’

‘Crown Princess Margareta’

‘The Alnwick Rose’

Cl. ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ {EDIT: Thought I eliminated this rose, but it came back this spring! No blooms yet–midge.)

‘Flower Carpet Amber’

‘Abraham Darby’ {EDIT: Am I too optimistic for my own good? I purchased another one of these and b/c of the midge, it never did much of anything. It’s still alive–just barely.}

‘Charles de Mills’

‘Comte de Chambord’


‘Wisley 2008’

‘Pierre de Ronsard’

‘Jacques Cartier’

‘Barbara Oliva’

Jacques Cartier | Hedgerow Rose

Of all these roses that had to be pulled I think seeing ‘Pierre de Ronsard’ and ‘Jacques Cartier’ in the pile this autumn was the hardest. When the mulch truck came to collect them I almost shed a tear. Anyways, hope this checklist is helpful to you and coming up on the blog, a rose that so far is a keeper and one I look forward to seeing mature in the coming seasons. Fingers crossed.

*I should mention that this list is just of the roses that I removed at the end of summer 2013. There were some roses that did not make it through winter 2012/13 and were removed in spring 2013. It’s been a big year for losses but this garden is an ever-evolving work in progress.

Winchester Cathedral | Hedgerow Rose

10 thoughts on “Should I keep this rose? A checklist…

  1. Oh my gosh! It is heartbreaking! I have to admit, I am surprised, you’re the one who sold me on Abraham Darby! I always feel so sad for abandoned roses, like there should be some kind of listing where people give away the roses they no longer want (a rose orphanage, how amazing that would look!)

    I have to winterize all my [read: my few] roses this weekend. Not sure who will make it through the winter (apartment living and such), I yearn for the days when I’ll have the space to have a collection as extensive as yours!

    jess | Quaintrelle

    1. Hi Jess! Thank you for your comment. I feel your pain about the winterizing–we’re in the midst of another garage cleanup so we can bring in the container roses. What a pain in the butt.

      About Abe Darby, I still love him. The decision to remove that rose and the other Austins (you’ll note there are quite a few on that list) was so difficult but the midge seemed to love them the most. I have no doubt that I will grow Darby again in another garden–maybe even here if I can get some control on this problem. (There was a blackspot issue but it was the midge that put it over the edge.)

      As for discarding the roses I felt the same as you and even considered offering them up as giveaways but then realized that I was getting rid of them for a reason and didn’t want to pass on the problems to someone else’s garden. (Especially don’t want to pass on midge larvae. Wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy!) We are fortunate in that our township collects garden debris, composts it in a high-heat/pathogen killing system and then offers it back to gardeners. So at least they are going back to the earth.

      Thanks again for your comment…it gave me a chance to clarify some things I probably should have in the post! Sometimes I forget that people might actually be reading this blog. 😉 Have a great afternoon!

  2. Hi Laurie – So sorry to hear that you are having to part with some of your roses. You’ve had some really lovely posts on most of those roses! At least you have lots of wonderful photos of them and can move on to try some other varieties. I’m in a similar mental space to you ….I definitely need to simplify life by parting with a rose or two. Things can get out of balance pretty easily I find. Sorry to see that Tamora didn’t work out for you although not entirely surprising since you are way out East and I am way out West! Take care, and happy planning for next year’s garden!

    1. Thank you Louise! I love your positive attitude–it’s true, I do have lots of photos and there are hundreds of other roses to try. Sounds like this winter will be good for both of us…a bit of a rest and the time to redesign. 🙂

  3. I’m thinking of Wisely 2008 – and just pulled up this post where you mention that you had to pull it from your garden. No rush, but when you have a chance, I would love to know pros and cons from your experience with Wisely 2008. Thanks for your help!

    1. Darn, I wish I could give you more info but I never got much out of Wisely due to the midge. It was planted bare-root and all that tender new growth was destroyed and the shrub subsequently died. Super bummer. I hear good things about it, though, so it’s definitely one I’ll try in a future garden. If you get to it before I do, let me know what you think! 🙂

  4. No problem – thanks! I can’t stop going through the David Austin catalog, too many good things to choose from. Hopefully midge will be a thing of the past for you guys, it sounds incredibly frustrating.

    1. I hope so!
      (PS I’ve been poring over the Austin catalog, too, and I’m quite taken with Jubilee Celebration. Have you tried it?)

  5. Hi! I would love it if you could label your photos – I’m new to roses and would love to know which kind each one is. They are beautiful!

    Thank you for sharing,

    1. Hi Emily, welcome!
      I’ll try to remember to add captions in future (thanks for the tip!) but for any of my past posts, if you hover your cursor over the photo, the name of the plant should pop up. (It will also show up if you “pin” an image.) And, of course, I’d be happy to answer any questions about specific plants. Thanks!

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