Rose Cuttings – October, 2007

Over my 30 years of growing roses, it has become obvious that all roses have their day. Some only bloom in spring, some have outstanding fragrance, others can handle a little shade, some tolerate extreme cold, and so on … which brings me to roses that can broil in our heat and humidity and still be impressive in the summer garden.

Here are four varieties that should be enjoyed while on your patio sipping iced tea, watching a summer sunset.

Le Vesuve is like Old Blush on steriods. You know how much I like Old Blush – it has been around surviving in Texas cemeteries for more than 150 years and, despite its toughness, adds beauty to our gardens. Le Vesuve has bigger flowers than Old Blush on a plant that is always full of foliage. It doesn’t stop and rest in the summer like many others. It even outshines notables in the Earthkind(tm) collection, like Carefree Beauty, Perle D’Or and The Fairy. Put a star on this one. It’s been under the radar too long. It is coming of age.

Lafter is a hybrid tea rose. Hybrid teas have a reputation of being high-maintenance, fussy and short-lived. But Lafter is an exception. This tough, upright plant is so remarkable that Robert Bayse (Texas A&M University breeding program) used it in his program because it is so disease-resistant. The flowers are the real bonus, however. Strong stems hold blooms in bright hues of yellow and orange mixed with pink, making Lafter an excellent cut flower. You get old rose toughness with a beautiful, modern flower form with this one.

Bailey Red is like a dark red version of Knockout(tm). Like Knockout(tm), it is always in bloom. Flowers are bright red in single form. Plants only attain a size of 3 feet, so it is a wonderful accent to the border or in a container. All it needs is a marketing program!

Last but not least, a rose from the Pioneer Collection, Stephen F. Austin. Full foliage and lots of pale-yellow flowers characterize this rose. Summer heat and humidity seem to make this rose pick up the pace with more growth and blooms. Cut it back to 4 to 5 feet, otherwise it will grow 8 to 10 feet tall. The more I cut this one, the more it blooms. It has amazing vigor.

While your other roses rest this summer, these picks will thrive and provide you with blooms to enjoy and fragrance to inhale. Your iced tea has never tasted so sweet.

About the author: Mike Shoup is owner of The Antique Rose Emporium, a Texas nursery dedicated to the reintroduction of old garden roses.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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