Is there such a thing as a perfect rose? Perfect blooms, most definitely but what about the plant itself? Over the years I've grown a lot of roses and while there are a handful that I would rate a "10", the majority are finicky (blackspot anyone?) and require retirement time on your hands to keep them looking good. I gave up on hybrid tea roses long ago. The roses in our garden are now mostly older varieties and they must survive on their own with no chemicals or else they get the shovel prune heave-ho. Roses have a reputation for being sun-loving but I can attest that you can grow them in quite a bit of shade. Hybrid musk roses as a group do great in our garden with a minimal 4-5 hours of sun. There are other type roses that also perform well. One of the most shade tolerant is "New Dawn". There are two of these roses growing along the fence line that borders the street on the north side of the house. They are heavily shaded by trees at the front of the house. The sun doesn't hit this area until very late in the afternoon when it begins to descend in the west. A few hours of direct sunlight and they bloom prolifically.
"New Dawn" has iron-clad hardiness (to zone 5), beautiful glossy green leaves and exceptional pale pink blossoms. Disease resistance is excellent. "New Dawn" roses can be grown as either a shrub or a climbing rose. We also have one growing on our pergola but it has to compete with other roses and doesn't put on the show like the ones along the fence.
If "New Dawn" has any faults, I would venture to say that it isn't an easy rose to work with because of its extreme thorny nature. Best to just plant it where it can do its thing and steer clear.
This rose is a sport of "Dr. Van Fleet" which looks identical but "New Dawn" has the advantage of repeat blooms, although the showing is not as dramatic as it is now. Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy