Rose Report

This year got off to an inauspicious start for my roses. All in all, though, it wasn’t a bad year. I am a relative newcomer to roses, and there is only a modest selection in my garden. Even so, I’m very fond of the ones I have.

'Strike It Rich' rose
‘Strike it Rich’.

The saddest development was the death of ‘Strike it Rich’, which I had planted the previous August. This was a gorgeous orange rose, sometimes shifting to red along the petal edges. Perhaps if I had waited until spring it could have survived a harsh winter, but I’ll never know.

'Cassie' has small semi-double white flowers in abundance.
‘Cassie’ has small semi-double white flowers in abundance.

On the other hand, ‘Cassie’ behaved as if a brutal winter was just what she needed to really rise and shine come spring.  This is the first rose to bloom in my garden.

It quickly became clear that 'Cassie' had shrugged off the freezing cold.
It quickly became clear that ‘Cassie’ had shrugged off the freezing cold. This picture was taken on June 7.

‘Cassie’ bounced back vigorously from her March trimming with masses of flowers. Normally a floriferous rose, this year she really outdid herself. I had gotten the impression that ‘Cassie’ tends to be ignored by most gardeners, so I was glad to discover a robust specimen at the Chicago Botanic Garden this year.

'Sally Holmes' blooms in trusses of flowers that fade from pale pink to creamy white.
‘Sally Holmes’ blooms in trusses of flowers that fade from pale pink to creamy white.

At first I feared for ‘Sally Holmes’, whose canes had all been killed to the ground. However, not only did ‘Sally’ send up new canes in the spring, but she bloomed with big trusses of pink buds that turn into creamy white flowers.

The brand new canes of 'Sally Holmes' were weighed down by blooms.
‘Sally’ reborn. The brand new canes of ‘Sally Holmes’ were weighed down by blooms.

Actually, I think ‘Sally’s’ habit has been improved by having her old canes die back.

'Darlow's Enigma' is sweetly but not powerfully fragrant.
‘Darlow’s Enigma’ is sweetly but not powerfully fragrant.

‘Darlow’s Enigma’ is a rambler that blooms from June through September. I am trying to train it up an arbor in the back garden. ‘Darlow’ lost about 2/3 of its canes to winter kill.

'Darlow' is a rambler. I'm working on getting it to ramble up the arbor in the back garden.
‘Darlow’ is a rambler. I’m working on getting it to ramble up the arbor in the back garden.

It recovered, however, sending up new growth and blooming about as much as it did last year.

Prairie Rose. I took this with my phone, sorry it's a little fuzzy.
Prairie Rose. I took this with my phone, sorry it’s a little fuzzy.

The last rose to bloom in my garden is the wild prairie rose (Rosa setigera). Prairie rose is a climber, and I am training her against the south wall of our garage. Like ‘Darlow’s Enigma’, she suffered lots of winter kill but then recovered.

Prairie rose.
Prairie rose.

Prairie rose has rosy pink single flowers that are supposed to be fragrant, though I have never noticed much scent. Like ‘Sally Holmes’, they fade to white – but much more slowly. A nice thing this year is that the trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) has started twining itself around the canes of R. setigera. Unfortunately, the Lonicera‘s peak bloom is well before that of the wild rose.

As you can see, I have a weakness for white flowers that are single or semi-double. I also like fragrant flowers. ‘Sally Holmes’ and ‘Darlow’s Enigma’ are sweetly but mildly fragrant. Sometimes you can smell the scent on the air, but at others you have to put your nose up against the flower. Prairie rose is supposed to be fragrant, but I haven’t detected it.

How have the roses done in your garden this year?


34 Comments on “Rose Report”

  1. I like your collection of Roses–especially if they have a nice scent, too. I only have a couple of Rose cultivars here because my garden is so shaded. They seem to have grown quite well this year, but not many blooms–probably because of all the shade from all the other plants that did so well, too. I tend to spend hours in Rose gardens when I visit them.

  2. My roses behave well this year, although they have suffered from the lack of rain. I like your white roses, and the yellow stamens look so beautiful. I would like more roses, but my soil is sandy so it´s not the best for roses. I try to plant in special soil for roses, and hope for the best.

  3. What a super collection Jason – I do like the look of the Rambler Darlow – good luck with the training. Such a shame you had some winter losses Jason, here’s hoping it will be a while before you experience another.
    My Roses all had to be cut right back moved in spring to allow me to put my new trellis in and thankfully all have survived the move sparse in flowering but I don’t mind so long as they are getting their roots down.

  4. I love to look at photos of other people’s roses, and hear about how they are doing – so thank you for your post! I am not familiar with any of your roses, but they all look great, I especially covet ‘Cassie’ .
    We had an extremely mild winter and so, for once, everything sailed through unscathed ! It has made a huge difference to vigour this season, as growth was not checked by low temperatures.

  5. I am a recent convert to roses and now can’t get enough of them, especially scented ones. Yours do look lovely and what a shame about strike it rich dying. I have several David Austin roses and I love the double scented

  6. Oh that peach to white of Sally Holmes! So interesting that most of your plants did well after the cold winter. We had unusual cold here too and the best rose year ever. I fear to think what it might mean–you know, in terms of rose mental health.

  7. Your roses look quite good Jason. Thank you for telling us about Cassie. I will try to find it. It looks very attractive and hardy. Here the winter was not too bad for roses as we lay them down in the fall and the snow covers them. It was the shrubs that suffered most.
    Just now my most attractive one is Astrid Lindgren. Beautiful, marvelous smell, not a single disease BUT, not as hardy as it is supposed to be. It should be tall but it has to regrow each year from the section that was below the snow line so in this garden it gets to only 4 feet tall. An other advantage is that it blooms later (perhaps because it is not in full sun).

  8. Hi Jason, I’m a big fan of David Austin Old English roses and huge rambling roses such as Kiftsgate. I also like old fashioned, romantic roses too and all three groups feature in the garden. I tend to look past modern hybrid teas and floribundas, they just don’t do it for me. I’m glad to report that all roses, newly bought, newly planted and newly relocated have been doing exceptionally well due to the warm summer we’re having.

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