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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dreaming of roses


The bloggers at Gardening Gone Wild have asked their readers to submit their thoughts on roses for the month of November. Since the rose is my favorite flower, I am happy to oblige.

Our first garden was a tiny plot behind a tiny apartment down the street from where we presently live. I’m guessing that it was about forty feet wide and twenty feet deep. It was our first home and my love of gardening began there. Browsing through catalogs, I was always drawn to roses. I made a bold notion to order a selection of ‘Europeana’ and ‘Iceburg’ roses from Wayside Gardens and alternate them around the back porch and patio area. Lo and behold, they lived and were absolutely beautiful the years we lived there. It is odd that I haven’t been able to grow a decent ‘Europeana’ or ‘Iceburg’ in our present garden. Hmmm

I started out with hybrid tea roses because that is what our local nurseries sold. At the time, I knew little about old roses. I was drawn, however, to large displays of roses. I liked seeing climbing roses draping over archways and big billowy shrub roses spilling out onto pathways. I wasn’t very fond of the stark thorny canes of hybrid teas although the blooms were of course very lovely. I liked roses that were so dense that you couldn't see the individual canes. I also soon discovered that hybrid tea roses were very demanding and required constant pruning, fertilization and spraying to keep them looking their best.



Fortunately, I learned that there was an alternative for rose lovers who didn’t want to spend their gardening time behind a face mask roaming the garden with a sprayer in hand. Old roses, or antique roses, were easier to grow and better yet, they had that opulent look that I so loved. Of course they don’t bloom all summer like hybrid tea roses, but I grow so many other plants that I can overlook that discrepancy. I started buying roses from mail order catalogs, like the Antique Rose Emporium and Chamblee’s Nursery, and pretty much went wild over roses.



I would be lying though if I said that all of the older roses are easy and carefree to grow. A lot of them are, but I have found quite a few duds over the years as well. I’ve learned that the best thing to do is try one and if it doesn’t perform, shovel prune it and replace it. I can always find another rose variety that I want to try.

There are different types of old roses and some do better than others in our southeastern climate. As a general rule, the Gallica and Centifolia roses do not perform well here and get blackspot as bad as hybrid tea roses. They are better suited to cooler climates. I have found that Noisettes, Hybrid Musks, Polyanthas and the old Tea Roses perform the best in our garden.



A garden is ever changing. We started out with tons of sun, which roses love, but over the years the trees that we have planted have grown significantly and the garden is shadier. As a result, many of the roses have suffered. I am constantly moving roses here and there so that they get the sunniest exposures. This factor has also led me to grow more hybrid musk roses, which are more tolerant of shade than other roses.



Beginning in late April and extending through May, the roses are at their peak. The scent is overwhelming and it is the first thing that visitors comment on. It is truly a magical time. Walking through the fragrant garden with cascades of colorful blossoms surrounding me is my ideal of paradise.



Someone just reminded me that I didn't mention any of the roses that I've shown. Sorry about that! The top photo is "Veilchenblau" one of my all-time favorites. It only blooms once a year but when it does, it is magnificent. The second photo of the rose behind the urn is another of my favorites - "Buff Beauty". The buds start out a deep apricot and open to lemon yellow before fading to a pale blush color. The color range is incredible and since the buds open at different times, you can see all the color variations at once. This is a big rose and one of the few in the garden that has an open spot to grow to its full potential. It is about 8 feet wide and 6 feet tall.

The third photo shows the pergola on the left which is covered with various roses. It is hard to see the details here but in view are "New Dawn," "Reve D'Or," and "Francois Juranville." The rose next to the bench in the fourth photo is "Robin Hood". This easy-to-grow and trouble-free rose is one that I frequently recommend to beginning rose gardeners.

The fifth photo of the pink rose growing on the arch is "Climbing American Beauty." Again, it only blooms once per year but when it does, watch out! In the next photo, you can get a glimpse of "Buff Beauty" again. The huge rose next to the bench in the sixth photo is "Moonlight" which is a hybrid musk rose. The final photo features "Buff Beauty" again as well as "Rambling Rector" growing on top of the pergola. You may recall my previous post about my battle with this monster rose! It is one of few roses that I've regretted planting.

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24 comments:

  1. Beautiful photos & great information-you always inspire me Phillip! I cannot wait until we have more space so I can plant more :)

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  2. You have indeed created a magical place, Phillip. It looks like something out of a lush English garden in a magazine. Your information about the ones that perform best in the South's heat and humidity will be valuable to me too.

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  3. Phillip, you're killing me. I need NAMES! lol

    You grow spectacular roses.

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  4. OMG...what beauty. If I could make a rose grow like any of these I would try. I must have my sister look at this post. She is a rose lover and grows some too.

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  5. Thank you so much for the beautiful garden tour, Phillip. You've shown many lovely examples of how to blend roses into the garden. Such a treat to see on the screen - I can only imagine how glorious it must be to enjoy in person!

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  6. Phillip,

    Ditto! Ditto! Ditto!

    Such a beautiful garden.

    Barbara

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  7. Phillip, I'm so glad I've found your blog. Your placement of roses is truly beautiful. Yes, it may look like an English garden but I also think it looks very Southern. Great to find another Southern gardener too. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. Phillip,
    I never ever tire of seeing the beautiful photos of your incredible garden!

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  10. Phillip those photos are perfect. I have a rose obsession and those were a delight to see.

    I deleted the previous comment because of my poor spelling. Someone who reads as much as I do should spell better;)
    Marnie

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  11. Your roses are a stunning addition to an already gorgeous garden. Your garden is photo-ready for any gardening magazine.

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  12. I would love to see these in person during the high season. I have always admired Veilchenblau and will probably try one. I just have to think of what to take out first (small garden syndrome).

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  13. What a lovely post, Phillip.
    I bookmarked your website years before you began this blog, and just realized that first sight of your rose-covered garden must have seemed like a beloved book turned into reality.

    When I was a young girl I read the description of Valrosa in Little Women: in that climate of perpetual summer roses blossomed everywhere. They overhung the archway, thrust themselves between the bars of the great gate with a sweet welcome to passers-by...Every shadowy nook, where seats invited one to stop and rest, was a mass of bloom... Roses covered the walls of the house, draped the cornices, climbed the pillars, and ran riot over the balustrade of the wide terrace...

    I fell in love with Valrosa but it only existed in the mind of Louisa Alcott. I'm in love with your garden, too - but yours is real!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

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  14. Thanks for the names Phillip!

    Your roses are magnificent. Mine dream of looking like yours one day.

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  15. Ah, Phillip, you're an amazing rose grower. I'm glad I came by when you wrote this post in particular. Although I've grown many of your varieties, I've never grown Robin Hood. Perhaps I will look for it this spring.

    Your roses are so beautiful that they remind me of England. That's quite a feat in Alabama.~~Dee

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  16. Hi Phillip, what a wonderland your garden is. I think roses are best when they are dripping down from a structure like your arbors. I started out with hybrid teas too, so many years ago, it's what they offered at the time, then quit growing them altogether when the spraying and mask wearing, as you say, just wasn't worth it. When we moved to Texas we were within an hour of the Antique Rose Emporium, what a feast for the senses that place is. We have had the best luck here with the hybrid musks and the knockouts of course. We do have a nice Veilchenblau and what a show it gives in spring. Yours is fabulous.
    Frances

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  17. Just dreamy, Phillip!
    Great info on old roses, great practical info on varieties that do well based on your experience. I should place my bare root order now.
    The photos are so transporting. Really bring back the feeling od spring and summer!
    Best,
    Philip

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  18. As roses should be! That is what your photos show. New England is a bit tough on roses although I have done well with 'New Dawn' and some Knock Out are planned for next year!

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  19. Thanks for the tour of your rose garden, Phillip, it is beautiful beyond description. I love roses as well and I envy you the space you have to grow them.

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  20. I have never had luck with roses. I think I will just come over to your garden, sit and admire your collection of beauty's!

    Have a great Thanksgiving full of family and friends....

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  21. I certainly got my daily dose of inspiration by reading your post about roses, and some good ideas for spring. Even if I were illiterate, I could enjoy just the great photos on your blog.
    Truly a treat to visit and see all the wonderful plants you grow.

    Hope y'all have a Happy Thanksgiving.

    Jon at Mississippi Garden

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  22. Phillip,

    I am mesmerized by the beautiful roses in your garden. Just imaging myself sitting in your garden and breathing the fragrance on the air is wonderful. I love how they are draped over structures and cuddle up to benches. The stone work is a perfect foil for their beauty...it is a beautiful garden!

    Have a wonderful holiday! I hope the day is warm and clear so you can spend time in your garden.

    Gail

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  23. Just looking through your blog.

    I cannot believe how beautiful your garden is. The roses are simply stunning.

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  24. I am not sure why it took me so long to find you Phillip! Your gardens are so amazing and inspiring. Such a pleasure to look at your beautiful photos. Wow!

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