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Choose Roses For Your Garden

When you get to a nursery, follow a few rules for picking out a healthy rose bush. Roses come two ways: in a pot already growing, or bareroot that needs planting within 24 hours. Grafted and own-root roses both can be sent through the mail as bareroot and some roses are even shipped as potted plants. If you choose bareroot roses, you will have a huge selection to choose from worldwide nurseries as mail order.

Here's what to look for with any rose that's potted:
  • Look for good green color on the canes
  • Do not choose roses that looks dried or shriveled
  • The more straight the canes the better, (unless it's an arching rose)
  • Look for bugs, if any choose another plant
  • If leafed out, look for black spots and shriveled or yellow leaves - if any are present, do not buy the plant as it's probably got black spot
  • Look for healthy green leaves, a nice shape to the plant, and healthy looking flowers if any
Roses that are grafted have different grades:
  • #2 grade means 2-3 smaller canes and it's usually a younger plant
  • # 1 grade has 3-4 canes it's usually larger and has larger canes
  • Look at the roots, if compacted it's been in the pot too long. Choose another one that's less compacted on the roots.

Own-root roses usually are smaller to start, but they catch up to their grafted cousins during the 1st year. Look for the same healthy conditions on own-roots roses as on grafted roses.

When planting any roses, follow my directions in either the planting or transplanting articles. It really is best to buy roses from a reputable nursery when you first start thinking of rose gardens. I know you'll be tempted by those $2.98 bareroot spring rose specials at most big box stores, but please pass on these waxed-cane roses as they usually do not grow well anywhere! Try to purchase quality roses; it will pay-off in the long run. Sometimes when you pay more and get a bigger plant to start you usually get off to a better start with a new rose bush.

Roses are the queen of flowers and a great addition to any garden; Mail Order & Local Nurseries throughout the US and abroad sell own-root and grafted roses, they can be bareroot or in pots all ready growing! Once you start looking you will not believe how many varieties of roses there are from shrub roses to Hybrid Teas, Polyantha's, Old garden roses, English roses, Hardy Dr Griffin Buck roses, Rugosas, Portland, Moss, Hardy Climbers, Explorer & Parkland, Radlar Roses & Rugosa roses all of which can grow well in the north with the right care.

Here are some of my favorite Roses. Please note, my criteria for roses is as follows (yours tastes may differ): I choose roses for color, fragrance and lots of blooms. Here are my favorites and why:

  • Abraham Darby (English Roses)- peachy-pink color, strong fruity fragrance, double cupped old fashioned bloom , 4-5' tall, nice arching shape, disease resistant, hardy with winter cover

  • Charles Darwin (English Rose) - nice yellow color, 3-4" very full clustered blooms, wonderful old rose fragrance, 3-4' tall, occasional repeat, hardy with winter cover

  • Christopher Marlowe (English Rose) - Unusual colors from hot pink to orange to yellow, Nice fruity fragrance, an arching shrub, 3-4' tall with lots of long lasting blooms, disease resistant, hardy with winter cover

  • Earth Song (Dr Griffith Buck Rose, grandiflora-hybrid tea)- Medium pink - nice fragrance -lots of large 3-4" double blooms all summer- nice rose shape- 4' - very disease resistant - nice repeat- hardy with light winter cover

  • The Fairy (Polyantha rose) - pure pink color, no fragrance, small 1"-double blooms ground cover rose, 2-3' tall, 4' wide, Hundreds of blooms, continuous bloom from the end of June through Fall, hardy with light winter cover

  • Geoff Hamilton (English rose) - light Pink, strong fragrance, 4-5' tall, blooms in flushes through summer, hardy with winter cover

  • Jeanne La Joie (Climbing Miniature) - light pink, in my garden it grows 8' feet tall coming back each season, Lots of 1-2" double blooms, a nice fan shaped climber, hardy with winter cover, disease resistant

  • John Cabot (Explorer-Climbing Rose) - Dark Pink-to maroon color -slight fragrance 7-9' in my garden it has 1-long heavy bloom 6-weeks from the end of May through June - disease resistant-very hardy -no winter cover needed!

  • Lavender Simplicity (Shrub Rose) -Lavender Color, old-rose fragrance, 4-5' tall, Lots of 3" semi-double ruffled Blooms, hardy with winter cover

  • Mary Rose (English Rose) - Medium Pink color, 3"-4" cupped blooms, nice old rose fragrance, 3-4 rose flushes per season and lots of blooms, A beautiful 4'-5' rounded shrub shade tolerant, disease resistant, very hardy with light winter cover

  • The Mayflower (English Rose) - lavender pink color, nice old rose fragrance, smaller clusters of blooms but a blooming machine, 2-3' tall with a nice rounded shrub, very twiggy, rapid repeat, disease resistant, hardy with winter cover

  • Morden Blush (Parkland Rose) - pale pink 2-3" hybrid tea like blooms-slight fragrance, continuous blooms from the beginning of June through October, 2-3' tall nice shape shrub, lots of quick repeat in blooms, Disease resistant on rust and powdery mildew, very hardy no winter cover needed, the perfect rose for all beginning rose growers

  • Mordern Centennial (Parkland Rose) - deep pink/red color, 2-3" semi-double type blooms, slight fragrance, continuous bloom singely or in clusters on arching canes all summer, nice red rose hips in the fall, almost no rose die-back of canes, Disease resistant, very hardy - no winter cover needed

  • Perfume Perfection (Floribunda) - a nice lavender-pink color, very nice old rose fragrance, 3'-4' Continuous 2-3" hybrid tea blooms all summer & fall, lots of quick repeat, Disease resistant, hardy with winter cover

  • Scepter'd Isle (English Rose) - light pink, strong myrrh fragrance, 3'-5' tall, double cupped bloom form, perpetual bloom through summer, needs lots of sun, hardy with winter cover

  • Hybrid Tea - Floribunda - Grandiflora grafted roses - These grafted roses have survived in my garden by diligent winter preparation and proper planting depths

  • Angel Face (Floribunda) - Mauve blend, strong citrus fragrance, nice shape 3" ruffled bloom, 3-4' tall shrub, lots of blooms through summer, requires good winter cover

  • Iceberg-Floribunda- white-mild to strong fragrance- 3-5'- lots of nice double blooms throughout the summer- disease resistant- hardy-but needs winter cover.

  • Peace (Hybrid Tea) - yellow-pink blend, mild fragrance, 4'-6' tall, nice shape, good repeat, high centered hybrid tea blooms, a very popular an older hardy hybrid tea rose, needs good winter cover

  • Wild Blue Yonder (Grandiflora) - mauve-purple blend, 4-5' tall, spicy fragrance, ruffled rose form in large clusters, blooms in repeated flushes through summer, a nice-looking newer rose variety, disease resistant, hardy but needs winter cover

  • Tiffany (Hybrid Tea) rose salmon pink, rated as one of the most fragrant roses, 5' tall, repeat bloom all summer in to fall, Long stem roses that make the perfect cut rose with a wonderful fragrance, needs good winter cover.

Other Rose Varieties you might want to consider that grow well in harsh climates are: William Baffin a Zone 2 climber - deep pink, Henry Kelsey hardy Climber - red, Therese Bugnet - lavender pink and very fragrant a large shrub, Constance Spry - pink and very very fragrant, and from the pioneer days Harison Yellow, and finally there's Henry Hudson. You can find these roses by browsing online for rose nurseries.