We’re wrapping up our time spent in our State College home and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to select some of my favorite roses from the past 5 years. Don’t ask me to count how many I’ve planted here, I don’t want to depress myself thinking about how much money I’ve spent. Anyhow, there were a number of them that really made me happy and I’d like to share them with you. Just to be clear, this is based on the roses I’ve grown in this garden, not in past gardens. I also did not include many roses that are still too new to me to form any kind of solid opinion. I’ve listed them in ABC order and written why I selected that particular rose for this list with also some things to watch out for. There is a very special mention at the end for the rose that got the highest honor. (Don’t peek!)
Name: Abraham Darby
Why I like it: Some of you who remember me complaining about this rose in the past may be a bit confused as to why I’ve included it but the reasons are simple: this is a stunning rose that blooms all season long with quick re-growth. It is brilliant in a large container, makes beautiful cut flowers, the scent is to die for and the blossoms stop traffic.
Something to watch out for: Now, if you have rose midge in your garden, as I do, this rose is not a good selection as the tender new growth it seems to constantly put out is a midge magnet. It is also very prone to blackspot in humid climates so give this one lots of air circulation.
Name: Apothecary’s Rose
Why I like it: I originally purchased this rose because of it’s interesting history, but I ended up falling in love with it on it’s own merits. It’s a beautiful rose, with huge, vibrant reddish-pink blossoms that appear as though constructed of silk. I adore roses that show off their stamens and this has very prominent ones, like gold crowns in each center. The fragrance is delightful and it breezes right through our cold winters without any protection. (Plus, it bears hips!) It stays small, so it can be planted in the front of a border and the bees love it.
Something to watch out for: In our garden, this rose gets powdery mildew from time to time.
Name: Arcata Pink Globe
Why I like it: When this rose is in bloom it will take your breath away. The blossoms are the most perfect shade of pale pink and literally cover every inch of the plant. I have never seen any problems with disease and it grows into a healthy, arching shrub very quickly. A very romantic rose.
Something to watch out for: In warmer climates particularly, I’ve heard tales of this rose growing to the size of house! Well, not really, but it can get huge so watch out for that.
Why I like it: For those of you who have been reading this blog, you won’t be at all surprised to hear me say that Celsiana is actually one of my most favorite roses of all. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it just hits all the marks: color, form, scent, disease resistance, winter hardiness. You name it, it’s got it. The only thing it’s “missing” is repeat flowering. Bees love it, I love it, it’s a beauty of rose.
Something to watch out for: Nothing. Get this rose.
Name: Comtesse de Rocquigny
Why I like it: Look at that photo taken with my cell phone last summer and that should tell you every reason why I like this rose. Other than that, it’s still new to me and I’m still learning it’s ways. If you’re a collector of Bourbon roses, this is one to try!
Something to watch out for: Spotty, like so many Bourbons, and requires winter protection. Doesn’t like to be pruned.
Why I like it: I’m new-ish to this rose but I can tell already that it’s a good one. We have Cornelia growing as a climber in an iron pillar and I think I may end up taking it with me if I can. It’s sweetly charming, doesn’t mind it being a bit shady, isn’t disease-ridden, blooms reliably throughout the season and it’s flowers range in the prettiest shades of peach and pink.
Something to watch out for: May need winter protection
Name: Darlow’s Enigma
Why I like it: There are some people who don’t think of single-petaled roses as beautiful as the fuller varieties but to me they are pure magic. I have a photo I cut out years ago of a leaded casement window opening out to a garden with a white musk rose practically climbing inside and that image has always stayed with me as an example of the exquisiteness of these wilder types. Darlow’s Enigma has a lovely fragrance, is bee friendly, blooms all season, is totally disease-free, doesn’t mind a bit of shade and is winter hardy.
Something to watch out for: Another rose that will eat your house if you let it! Give this one room.
Name: Erinnerung an Brod
Why I like it: This is one of those roses that maybe doesn’t make as much sense on paper but I adore it so. Every late-spring, it covers itself with dark reddish/purple flowers as though adorned with glittering old gems. For weeks it puts on this show and I am drawn to it like a magnet. The form of each blossom is near perfection and sweetly scented. A vigorous rose that is an “old-reliable” in our garden.
Something to watch out for: Very thorny. Can get large and prone to blackspot.
Why I like it: Can this rose be any prettier? Perfect shade of pink with a strong fragrance and such a lovely form to the flowers. Hardy all the way down to zone 4, too! When this rose is in bloom you won’t be able to stay away from it.
Something to watch out for: Can get gangly. Try “pegging” this rose to get more flowers.
Name: Georges Vibert
Why I like it: My love affair with Georges has stayed true! Such a handsome rose, with it’s pink peppermint-candy stripes against the backdrop of vibrant green leaves. No disease, quite winter hardy, vigorous and covers itself with flowers reliably every year. Did well for me in a large container (which helped contain the size but this rose would also make a good low hedge!)
Something to watch out for: Suckers freely.
Name: Ghislaine de Féligonde
Why I like it: Utterly charming rose that doesn’t ask for much. No disease, winter hardy, pretty fragrance and pleasing shape with glossy leaves that stayed practically evergreen for us last winter! Delightful clusters of flowers in shades of apricot to cream that turn into tiny hips like red beads that persist well into winter.
Something to watch out for: Was more like a once-bloomer for us in our cold climate garden
Name: Jude the Obscure
Why I like it: The fragrance! I’ll shout it from the rooftops, the fragrance of this rose will knock your socks off. It also doesn’t hurt that the form of each flower, all globe-like, is pretty neat, too, as is that yummy color. Very disease resistant!
Something to watch out for: Will need winter protection in colder climes.
Name: Lady of Shalott
Why I like it: I have a sneaky suspicion this rose may end up being in my tops-of-all-tops but I want to give it another season or two before I make my final judgement. Lady of Shalott is disease resistant, blooms all season long and makes a great container rose.
Something to watch out for: Not as fragrant as some of the other Austins but I’d hardly call that a deficiency!
Name: Madame Ernest Calvat
Why I like it: Truly a remarkably beautiful rose with strongly-scented blossoms on such a lovely, arching form. This rose won my heart years ago and I still just adore it.
Something to watch out for: Like most Bourbons, this rose is prone to blackspot in humid climates. Also does NOT like to be pruned.
Name: Madame Hardy
Why I like it: What can I tell you that you don’t already know? This Damask is super popular and with good reason. She is my favorite white rose. Scent like a fresh jar of honey and a pretty green button eye in each blossom. Very winter-hardy!
Something to watch out for: Can look a bit “tired” by the end of the season. Leaves are paper thin and prone to wind damage.
Name: Petite Lisette
Why I like it: Adorable pink pom-pom flowers on an incredibly robust shrub. Grows quickly and covers itself with roses every late spring/early summer. Zero disease and cold-hardy.
Something to watch out for: Does not make a good cut flower. Can get very large.
Name: Princess Alexandra of Kent
Why I like it: This little shrub produces the most exquisitely formed flowers in flushes throughout the summer with hardly any disease or fuss. Makes a great container rose.
Something to watch out for: Does not like heat!
Name: Stanwell Perpetual
Why I like it: Not your “typical” rose with it’s delicate, fern-like leaves. The flowers are a beautiful shell-pink fading to white, their Damask heritage evident. No disease at all and hardy to zone 3. Shade tolerant (but will bloom better in sun.)
Something to watch out for: I find this rose to be a bit sprawling and looks so much better in a large container where the flowers can be appreciated more.
Name: Strawberry Hill
Why I like it: Another David Austin rose that I simply can’t get enough of. The blossoms are huge (like 4″ across!) and, to me, smell strongly of violet candies. Blooms reliably all season long in the prettiest shades of strawberry pink.
Something to watch out for: Can get gangly (may be best trained against a pillar) and somewhat susceptible to blackspot.
Name: Tuscany Superb
Why I like it: If you’re planting a “jewel” garden, make sure to include this stunning Gallica with flowers in dramatic shades of deepest garnet. No disease on this rose, and keeps a tidy shape and size. Very winter hardy! One of my favorites of all.
Something to watch out for: This rose is particularly delicious to our rabbits for some reason. Otherwise, this rose is a real keeper!
….and now for the rose that was an all-around winner in our 5-year very informal trials…can you guess what it is??
If you guessed Munstead Wood, you’re correct!
Why this rose gets top honors:
♦ Disease free
♦ Great container rose
♦ Blooms in waves from late-spring to frost
♦ Incredibly fragrant (won Biltmore trials for most fragrant rose!)
♦ Midge-resistant (at least in our garden)
♦ Makes excellent cut flower
♦ And it’s gorgeous!
Something to watch out for: THORNY as heck! Maybe this rose would be good planted beneath a window as a natural intruder deterrent?