The last 5 years: roses that have brought me joy

Princess Alexandra of Kent 2014

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!)

Abraham Darby Vintage VIName: 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.

Apothecary's Rose via Hedgerow Rose

Apothecary's Rose via Hedgerow Rose - 2Name: 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.

Arcata Pink Globe via Hedgerow Rose

Arcata Pink Globe 3 via Hedgerow RoseName: 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.

Celsiana via Hedgerow Rose 1

Celsiana via Hedgerow Rose 2

Celsiana via Hedgerow Rose 3Name: Celsiana

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.

Comtesse de Rocquigny via Hedgerow RoseName: 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.

cornelia june 2013 10

cornelia june 2013 12Name: Cornelia

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

Darlow's Enigma via Hedgerow Rose 1

Darlow's Enigma via Hedgerow Rose 2 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.

Erinnerung an Brod via Hedgerow Rose 1

Erinnerung an Brod via Hedgerow Rose 2

Erinnerung an Brod ThumbnailName: 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.

Fantin Latour via Hedgerow Rose Name: Fantin-Latour

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.

Georges Vibert via Hedgerow Rose 1

Georges Vibert via Hedgerow Rose 2

Georges Vibert via Hedgerow Rose 3Name: 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.

ghislaine de féligonde rose and bee

ghislaine de feligonde and american pillar

Ghislaine de FéligondeName: 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

jude the obscure 10-14-2Name: 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.

Lady of Shalott via Hedgerow Rose - 1

Lady of Shalott via Hedgerow Rose - 7Name: 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!

Madame Ernest Calvat | Hedgerow Rose


Madame Ernest Calvat via Hedgerow RoseName: 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.

MH - 1

MH - 2Name: 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.

Petite Lisette 2

Petite Lisette 3Name: 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.

Princess Alexandra of Kent Stems Thumbnail

Princess Alexandra of Kent via Hedgerow Rose 2Name: 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!

stanwell perpetual in july

stanwell perpetual in october 2014Name: 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.

strawberry hill 9-12-2-1

Strawberry Hill via Hedgerow Rose - 4

Strawberry Hill David Austin Rose June 2013 3Name: 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.

Tuscany Superb | Types of Roses | Hedgerow Rose

Tuscany Superb Gallica Rose 2 | Hedgerow Rose

Tuscany Superb Gallica Rose 1 | Hedgerow RoseName: 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??






Munstead Wood via Hedgerow Rose 1If 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?

Munstead Wood via Hedgerow Rose 2

Munstead Wood via Hedgerow Rose 3

Munstead Wood via Hedgerow Rose 4


28 thoughts on “The last 5 years: roses that have brought me joy

  1. Yet another stunning, exquisite post. I have held off buying Munstead only because of lack of space in my garden. Now I am going to have to get it and find the space. Lots of MW at the Portland, OR rose garden. So lucky I live just a few train stops from it.

    1. Ahhh how wonderful to live so close to such a beautiful rose garden! I have been to Portland, just once, but I missed that for some reason. If you get a Munstead, let me know what you think! I mentioned in my first post about that rose (just in case you haven’t seen it) that for us it took a good season to really get going. So don’t be surprised if it seems like a slow grower at first, but it’s worth the wait. 🙂

  2. If you will have space at your new home, in ground or for pots, you could take cuttings and propagate them in pots to take all these roses with you (stick a cutting into a pot of rose planting mix or other good potting soil and keep watered = new plant!)

    1. Hi Barbara! Yup that’s what I’m hoping to do…with some of them, at least. There are a few that I planted last year that are still so small I may try and dig them up and bring bare-root. With our midge problem, I don’t want to bring any soil with me if I can avoid it!

  3. Well Laurie, you certainly never disappoint! Another beautiful well written post on roses chock full of all the important details any rose lover would long for. I haven’t received my DA order yet, which will be my first roses in this home, and your post has me longing to have many many more of them. I have been poopooing the singles, but your description has me looking at them in a new light. Ever grateful for your sharing your rose knowledge and experiences. ~Cindy from

    1. Thank you Cindy! I never know when I write these things if they’re only interesting to me and totally boring to everyone else so that makes me happy you liked it. I haven’t ordered any DA roses yet but they’ll be the first in our new home, too. One can never have enough! 😉

  4. Thanks for the beautiful pictures. Are your roses on their own roots? I bought DA roses and have noticed the one on their own roots are gangly and are not as floriferous bloomers as the one grafted. I garden in zone 5b. I have Knockout roses own their own roots too and they are a Most of my roses are bought for cutting flowers. It is going to hurt when I have to remove 6 Clair Austen roses this spring. (They drop their petals immediately after being cut..) All the money spent.. Ouch! It would of help if I found your site earlier. Ooh well. 🙂

    1. If it makes you feel any better, I’ve spent a TON of $ on roses that either didn’t make the grade or will be left behind. It’s painful! To answer your question, I’d say about half are on own-roots. Also, I found the same problem with DA’s own-roots being weak and spindly which is why I don’t buy DA’s that way anymore. (The exception would be Strawberry Hill and Jude the Obscure which I found were great on their own roots.) PS: I removed all my Knock Outs! They bored me. 😉

  5. Didn’t get a chance to post earlier, but wanted to say thanks for this great post! I always learn a ton from your blog and this is one of my favorite posts. It’s great to learn about the Old Garden Roses, it seems so few people are interested in them and grow them. Madame Hardy is one of our all time favorites as well.

    1. Thank you Cole, it makes me happy to know you enjoyed it!
      Sometimes I think I may be a bit too focused on the OGR’s and need to start learning more about the Moderns coming out these days, but I love what I love. 😉 Madame Hardy is a great old rose, glad to hear it’s one of your favorites, too. Hope you are having a great week!

  6. Laurie, I just stumbled upon your site… and I’m in love! I don’t know WHY I came across it, as I’ve been perusing it off and on for the past, um, 7 hours now? Yeah.

    I LOVE you selection of roses here, and what you suggest to use and how you’ve experienced them. I’m only 2 full grow seasons into my home, but I planted a few roses the first spring and a LOT last spring. I didn’t find a good source in time to buy the old world roses, but when I “shovel-prune” this fall after seeing just what doesn’t make it? I’ll be putting in mostly your favorites. They are BEAUTIFUL.

    Thank you for sharing all you do. THis post is awesome. I just wish there were more chances to share on FB since that’s what I’m really only on… 😉

    1. Yay! So happy you like it! Hope you have a wonderful summer filled with lots of blooms. If you get time, stop back and let me know which roses you decided to plant. I love to hear what other gardeners are growing! 🙂

  7. I just bought Munstead Wood a couple weeks ago, so am thrilled to see what you have to say about it here. Problem is, now you have me falling in love with lots of other roses I had never heard of!!!!!

    1. Haha! I know that feeling all too well! 😉
      You’ll love Munstead Wood….just give her a couple of seasons to get going as I’ve noticed she’s slow to start. Have fun!

  8. Enjoyed reading your information on roses although live in Zone 9 near Orlando. So can’t use a lot o f your recommendations. I need to buy my favorite hybrid teas on fortuniana rootstock due to nematodes in our sandy soil. Our summers are al most like desert temps but we have a tremendous amount of afternoon tropical rains June through September. Blackspot resistant roses are best here if one doesn’t apply products to prevent it. Nelson Roses is a reliable source …luckily only about 8 miles away.

    1. Hi Barbara! You’re lucky to have such a good source for roses nearby; I’ve rarely been able to find one that carries anything other than a smattering of HT’s and Knock Outs. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us!

  9. My Madame Ernest Calvat started blooming. I bought it as a band last year after reading about on this site. I have to share with you that it indeed is astonishingly beautiful. I thought my Souv De la Malmaison was breathtaking and so is the Madame. I get why you write about the Madame so frequently. Swoon worthy.

    1. Ahhhh that’s so awesome!! Glad to hear you are enjoying Mme Calvat. I took a cutting from mine before I gave it away to another gardener and it’s only a couple inches tall right now. Can’t wait until it blooms. 🙂

  10. Amazingly thoughtful post. Thank for taking the time for all this detail (in this post and others). It’s exceptionally helpful for a newbie like me!

  11. I literally cheered when I saw that Munstead Wood was the all-around winner of the 5 yr informal trials. I just ordered Munstead Wood roses for the spring and I’m so excited to get them! I was just wondering, how many bare root roses can you put in one 15 gallon container? I’m guessing one per container, but this is my first time growing roses so Im not sure.

    Thanks for this post, Laurie! Your blog has been a super helpful resource for a beginner like me.

    1. Hooray for Munstead Wood!! She is a thorny one, but such a great rose. I think you’re going to love her. 😀

      Oh, I would only ever plant one rose per container…and don’t be afraid to spoil them since they’re going to be totally dependent on you for nutrients. I watered mine regularly with compost and alfalfa tea and of course planted them in some pretty insanely good potting soil. Some gardeners say don’t underplant your container roses, but I always did with trailing annuals–one per rose container–such as Calibrachoa or Bidens. I liked that it gave color even when the roses were at rest.

      I’m so pleased this blog has been helpful to you! Thank you!

  12. Thank you for referring me to this post! Such pretty roses! While you were living in the north, how did you control Arcata Pink Globe? Did the winter’s do that for you naturally? I find it kind of scary that it roots wherever it touches and grows 15’x15′ with thorns. That picture with the sun coming through is breathtaking. I’d love to give it a try though, unless I could find a rose similar… and smaller. I could see it taking over my small town. 🙂

    1. When we were in PA, it was growing in a container. Since we’ve moved, it’s gone in the garden. Some photos of it in it’s new home against the fence can be seen HERE. I’ve never seen it root where it touches down but I’m not surprised to hear other gardeners say that it does. You can control the size by pruning immediately after flowering. It can take the hard pruning. However, I think this rose looks it’s best when it’s allowed to get huge. If you want a smaller pink climber, try ‘The Generous Gardener’ 🙂

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