Rose Cuttings – October, 2007

The popularity of the Knockout(tm) rose give credence to our need for carefree roses. Breeders have heard the outcry of gardeners everywhere who want pretty roses that aren’t the maintenance burden that most hybrid teas and floribundas have been in the last 50 years. I can’t help but think that we have embraced these roses riding on the shirttails of the merits of old roses.

However, there is no one standout in the selection of antique roses. In fact, their diversity is why they are so endearing. Many, however, are as disease-resistant as Knockout(tm). Look at Caldwell Pink, Perle d’Or and Old Blush. Seldom are they afflicted with blackspot or mildew and all the while bloom with abandon.

For bright colors, look to Mutablis, the butterfly rose, with its yellow, orange and red blooms, spring and fall. Even if you don’t think that old roses can compete with Knockout’s(tm) color and disease-resistance, I’m still smitten with their histories, their myriad fragrances and the diversity of form the old roses offer.

As I look around my garden, I see the Crepescule’s drooping clusters of roses from my arbor. I see the perfect boutonni√®res from Cecile Brunner. I enjoy cascading foliage of Climbing Pinkie, and I am enveloped in all their sweet fragrances. Knockout(tm) has a place in my garden, but old roses still hold supreme.

If you want to learn more about gardening with old roses or gardening in general, plan to attend one of our free Rose Festival weekends at the Antique Rose Emporium in Brenham/Independence or in San Antonio. The Garden Festival of Roses is October 7 & 8 at our San Antonio location and the Fall Festival of Roses will be held November 3, 4, & 5 in Independence/Brenham. Go to our website at for more information.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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