Rose Report 2016

June is the month of roses at Garden in a City. Most notably, the shrub rose ‘Sally Holmes’ is having far and away her best year ever in the back garden.

‘Sally Holmes’

I have never seen her with so many flowers. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s because I used chicken wire to keep the rabbits from chewing her down to the ground over the winter. The only pampering I give ‘Sally’ is a generous annual helping of compost.

‘Sally Holmes’


As with every year, the shiny dark green foliage is entirely clean, free from black spot and other rose scourges. And all this in only part sun.


‘Sally Holmes’ has pink buds and flowers that mature to a creamy white.


The flowers open light pink.


‘Cassie’ is also having a good year. ‘Cassie’ is in a sunny spot near the front door.


‘Cassie’ is always floriferous, but this year she does seem to have even more semi-double white flowers than usual.


As you can tell, I like white roses. Perhaps that would have made me a partisan of York in 15th Century England.

We have two other roses: ‘Darlow’s Enigma’, growing on the arbor that leads into the back garden, and the wild Rosa setigera.  ‘Darlow’ is not yet blooming, and R. setigera is looking rather feelble this year. Perhaps it is in too much shade. I’m considering transplanting possibilities.

How are the roses doing in your garden?

46 Comments on “Rose Report 2016

  1. Your roses are looking lovely and abundant. Mine are doing well too – Betty Boop is covered in flowers; so is Iceberg, Graham Thomas and Evelyn (latter two are David Austen’s).

    • I’ve heard of Graham Thomas and Iceberg, but not Betty Boop. Googled it and I would say it is quite appealing, though I would have chosen another name.

  2. I like the colors and abundance of your roses. You are obviously doing a great job of caring for them.

  3. Gorgeous! I love the simple rose flowers, and the more shrubby, rather than the tea-roses my mom pampered throughout my childhood. I have a climber which is reminiscent of your photos above: it has multiple, quite small, blossoms per branch that start pink and open to white. It has the most heavenly fragrance, but it has only bloomed twice for me in 13 years. The first time it bloomed was 10 years after I’d planted it (I kept it because it blocks the view of the propane tank, even without flowers). Then the winter of the polar vortex it was killed all the way to the ground, and I think it only blooms on 2nd year wood. I was hoping it would bloom again this summer, but so far there are no buds.

    • Sounds frustrating. I suppose your not inclined to try a different rose, but if you were I would definitely recommend these two. ‘Cassie’ especially is an extremely easy, problem-free rose. Plus, it’s your namesake!

  4. Do you have a compost pile? How do you manage your compost material on your city lot? My few roses are just fine. I moved a rose that likes sun from a shady spot. I don’t know if it will survive. I sure hope so. It looked horrible shortly after i moved it but now it seems to have settled. I should have moved it earlier in the spring. As I say I hope it survives.

    • Roses are often tougher than people realize. I have two compost piles, they are both in the alley just outside the back fence.

  5. I don’t do roses because this yard doesn’t get enough sun, but the invasive multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) is certainly doing well.
    One rose I’ve always wanted is the old fashioned shrub rose “Harrison’s yellow,” a large bush covered with small lemon yellow flowers. I’m not sure you can even buy it anymore.

  6. Yes, my favourite is Sally Holmes too, it looks like a really cheerful plant to have in the garden. We have a Banksia rose that flowers away about 9 months of the year….completely forgiving when neglected….I do have a soft spot for most roses for this reason.

  7. I love Sally too. I have just written about my roses and forgot to mention lovely Sally. Not only is she full of flawless blooms but she goes on and on all summer. A wonderful rose. I don’ t know Cassie, but she looks worth having too.

    • And let’s not forget ‘Sally’s’ fragrance! Do you deadhead ‘Sally’ after the blooms fade? Not sure if I should.

  8. Our roses have mostly faded (Chicago June 12). Do not recall the variety – I think we bought it at COSTCO! Our daughter’s name is “Rose” so I just think of it as Rosita, my little rose. We noticed a decline in blackspot this year too. Maybe the long stretch of colder weather?

    • Could be. Actually, these two particular roses have never had a problem with blackspot or any fungal disease, at least not here.

  9. We inherited a rose hedge with single white blossoms. I’m not sure what it is, but it’s very fragrant and the bees love it. I love the pink to white transformation of your Sally Holmes.

  10. You are ahead of me, as usual. I have been watching your posts about Sally Holmes. Pale roses which are immune to the host of ills which can beset roses are rare. And then your admission, she is growing in some shade… Do rose beetles find Sally Holmes attractive?
    2013 and 2014 were re-growing years for roses here (many from the root) due to drought and extreme cold–provided they survived at all. Then last year a late hard freeze took the first buds. I am looking forward to some nice roses this year (finally).

    • Haven’t seen any rose beetles on her – do you mean Japanese beetles? Either way, she has been free from insect pests of all kinds.

  11. Sally Holmes is my favourite too. Mine font receive enough water to flower continuously through summer but do always reflower in autumn.

  12. I love this type of rose, Jason, so charming, much nicer than all the over-bred ones. Mine are doing well and look better again after the first round of dead-heading as some pastel-coloured roses have suffered a bit in the rain.

      • Depends on the rose of course. I have some especially for hips which flower only once anyway. With the repeat-flowering roses I deadhead in the beginning and leave more faded flowers towards the end of the season.

  13. I can see why you like white roses when I see how they do in your garden!

  14. I especially like the way your Sally Holmes rose starts off pink and gradually fades to white. I have a lovely peach coloured rose – nameless – that has finally flowered again for me after being moved two years ago. And a couple of other shrub roses about to open. Then a Rosa rugosa too. I am beginning to appreciate roses more and more as I get older…. IS it an age thing?

    • Gosh, I hope not. I went through a rose acquisition phase a few years ago, but it didn’t last. Now I’m in a Clematis phase.

  15. Like you, white roses are my favorite. I have removed all the Iceberg Roses, the last one this year, and only have a red carpet rose left. White is such a useful color in the garden, setting of the colorful perennials. I did leave a comment on this post previously from my iPad, and I thought it might not have gone through.

  16. Roses at garden in a city, irises at the little house in the big woods. Ah, June!

  17. Gorgeous! I’m about to kiss my one and only rose goodbye. Lots of problems, few flowers.

  18. Pingback: Goats’ Beards and Frilly Fl0wers – gardeninacity

  19. Hello Jason, your roses are looking far better that ours, which have been blasted by frequent downpours. I like the pink blush on “Sally Holmes”

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