Rose Cuttings – March, 2008

Floral Rhythms

‘Old Blush’, also known as ‘Common Monthly’, ‘Common Blush China’, ‘Old Pink Daily’, ‘Old Pink Monthly’, and ‘Parsons’ Pink China’, is a semi-double hybrid of R. chinensis that can be a spectacular hedge, part of a border or a single specimen.
Photo courtesy of the Antique Rose Emporium.

One of the great benefits of having a large diversity of plants in your garden is the sequencing of bloom that occurs during the year. This is never more evident than with the spring bloom of roses. Although it would be beautiful, it would be a tragedy to have all the roses bloom in one two-week period.

Our display gardens at the Antique Rose Emporium showcase mature plantings of many varieties of roses that start blooming in February and end in June. We have noticed the following: Varieties that herald spring and start blooming in late February are the Banksia roses and ‘Fortuniana’. They are followed by ‘Fortune’s Double Yellow’, ‘Old Blush’ and ‘Archduke Charles’.  ‘Fortune’s Double Yellow’ is always an eye-catcher although the display is short-lived. ‘Old Blush’ and ‘Archduke Charles’, representing the Chinas, will bloom with heavy flushes until late spring, resting short periods before blooming sporadically through the summer. 

These early bloomers are followed by an explosion of color from other varieties. This major onset usually begins mid- to late March, but may be delayed until mid-April depending on the weather. Other Chinas like ‘Mutabilis’ and ‘Le Vesuve’ and Teas, like ‘Monsieur Tillier’, ‘Mrs. Dudley Cross’ and ‘Mrs. B. R. Cant’, are in full swing by late March. (Our 120-foot hedge of the latter will easily have 10,000 blooms itself.) The romantic Noisettes with their nodding flowers create a dramatic vertical display on all our structures (arbors and pillars). I am especially fond of the yellow climber ‘Reve d’Or’ and ‘Celine Forestier’.

Polyanthas like ‘Cecile Brunner’ (“The Sweetheart Rose”) and ‘Perle d’Or’, along with the Hybrid Musk, follow just days behind this first flush. Then when you think you have seen it all, the late bloomers kick in! ‘The Swamp Rose’ displays her delicate pink roses against the architecturally graceful arching canes by water’s edge. ‘Caldwell Pink’ and ‘The Fairy’ rarely start blooming until May, but their floral display will last into the hot summer months. 

As a gardener, it is very rewarding to know that you will have roses in peak bloom now until June. Enjoy this garden symphony with the rhythm of flowers.

About the author: Mike Shoup is the owner of the Antique Rose Emporium. Visit their Brenham and San Antonio display gardens for endless ideas on landscaping with roses. To order roses online, visit

Posted by Neil Sperry
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