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.
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.
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.
‘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.
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.
Actually, I think ‘Sally’s’ habit has been improved by having her old canes die back.
‘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.
It recovered, however, sending up new growth and blooming about as much as it did last year.
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 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?