10 Pretty Rose Picks
Thinking of bringing new rose varieties into your life? There are roses for every taste, from the super-fragrant to the ball-gown lush, in an array of delicious colors.
Image courtesy of Weeks Roses
This sumptuous grandiflora rose was created by Tom Carruth, introduced by Weeks Roses and named for Downton Abbey 's head housemaid, the lovely and gentle Anna Bates (Joanne Froggatt). The rose's blend of golden tan and pink is derived from a hybrid of 'Voodoo' and 'About Face' and boasts a fruity, slightly spicy fragrance.
Like Downton Abbey, the popular award-winning British television series, ‘Anna’s Promise’ is elegant and romantic. This first release in the ‘Downton Abbey’ rose series is a grandiflora for gardens that receive full sun to partial shade. The lush, bicolored flowers are described as “golden tan and pink” with a copper or bronze reverse. They’re held on strong stems that are good for cutting. They’re fragrant, too, with a fruity scent reminiscent of grapefruit and apples Recommended for zones 4 to 10, the plants reach 4 to 6 feet in height.
Oso Easy ‘Pink Cupcake’
Sun-loving ‘Pink Cupcake’ is another in Proven Winners' Oso Easy series of landscape roses. These new-for-2014 shrubs are so disease resistant, they don’t need spraying. The large, pink flowers have a hint of coral and are self-cleaning, so you won’t need to deadhead, either. New leaves have a reddish hue, then mature to glossy green. The continuously blooming plants are deciduous and reach 24 to 28 inches tall.
‘Livin’ La Vida’
A new variety for 2014, this landscape rose from Proven Winners bears bright coral to flamingo pink flowers. The blooms keep coming all summer, held against dark green, glossy foliage. Thanks to its compact, upright growth habit, Living’ La Vida can be grown in containers as well as in garden beds. The disease resistant shrubs grow 30 to 36” and need full sun; they’re recommended for hardiness zones 5 to 9. Trim the plants in spring to shape them; the blooms are produced on new wood.
Oso Easy ‘Italian Ice’
This landscape rose from Proven Winners may remind you of a ‘Peace’ rose, with soft yellow and orange flowers that have a pink blush along the edges. The semi-double blooms are held against dark green, glossy leaves. You won’t need to deadhead or spray these disease resistant, deciduous shrubs. Give them full sun; they’ll grow 18 to 30 inches tall and rebloom all summer. Their mounding growth habit makes them a good choice for containers or beds.
Oso Easy 'Lemon Zest'
A canary-yellow landscape rose from Proven Winners, ‘Lemon Zest,’ has excellent resistance to diseases and holds its bright color beautifully. The rose is self-cleaning, dropping its petals when they age. ‘Lemon Zest’ is an easy to grow, deciduous shrub with glossy green foliage and a mounding habit. It reaches 18 to 30 “ high and loves full sun; it’s recommended for hardiness zones 5 to 9.
In love with British roses? Two years after their release in England, five beautiful new roses are set to arrive in U.S. gardens from across the pond. David Austin Roses, a Shropshire-based company that breeds fragrant English roses, will introduce these repeat-blooming hybrids in the spring of 2014.
The new roses have been bred to grow in full sun or partial shade, although like other roses, they shouldn’t be planted under trees, where they would have to compete with roots for water and nutrients.
All five will be available by mail order from www.davidaustinroses.com and will be shipped as bare rootstock at the proper time for planting in each garden region. David Austin Roses for U.S. customers are grown and shipped within North America, so they’re suitable for our growing conditions and climate zones.
The 2014 rose introductions below are recommended for USDA zones 5 to 9. Order early if you live in a warm climate, so your plants can be shipped before the weather gets too hot.
- ‘Boscobel’ is a favorite of David Austin’s senior rosarian, Michael Marriott, who describes it as “an absolutely classic English Rose with an especially delightful fragrance.” This Leander hybrid bears red buds that open into salmon-colored cups. As the flowers age, they turn a rich, deep pink. The roses have a medium to strong myrrh fragrance with traces of elderflower, almond and pear. The plants form upright, medium-sized shrubs that produce glossy, dark-green leaves. Depending on how heavily you prune them, they typically grow 3’ x 2 ½’ tall.
- ‘Heathcliff’ (Old Rose hybrid) Bold crimson roses are always popular, although they’re not easy to develop, according to the David Austin website. ‘Heathcliff’ is the 13th in the company’s collection of red and scarlet English Roses. The plants grow approximately 3 ½’ tall by 3’ wide, with shiny, deep green foliage. This variety has an unusual perfume that combines a Tea Rose scent with the fragrance of Old Roses; there’s an undertone of earthy, dry cedar. The fully doubled flowers open to a rosette shape.
- ‘The Lark Ascending’ (Ausursula) – This rose’s light perfume changes as the flowers age, opening with Tea Rose and ending as myrrh. The shrubs grow up to 5’ tall and 3’ wide, making them a good addition to mixed perennial borders. The loosely cupped petals are a soft apricot color and have darker, golden-apricot stamens.
- ‘Tranquility’ (Ausnoble) – A musk rose, ‘Tranquility’ has a light apple fragrance. New buds are brushed with red and yellow, but the opened flowers are pure white. The shrubs grow about 4’ tall by 3’ wide, although they will be taller if left unpruned. Thanks to its upright growth habit, this nearly thornless rose works nicely in garden beds.
- ‘Royal Jubilee’ (Alba Hybrid) – Like other roses in the English Alba group, ‘Royal Jubilee’ has a light, airy, vigorous growth habit that works well in borders. The big, semi-doubled flowers are a deep, velvety pink held against glossy, grey-green foliage. These repeat-flowering shrubs grow to 5’ tall by 3’ wide and have very few thorns. There’s a note of blackcurrants in the flowers’ fruity fragrance.
Rose breeder David Austin divides English roses into four groups:
- Leander Hybrids - Roses in this group are a little more like modern roses than old rose hybrids, although their blooms have the traditional old rose forms. They typically grow into large, robust shrubs with arching canes.
- English Old Rose Hybrids – These are the original English Roses. They flower repeatedly in shades of soft pink, purple, and crimson. The very fragrant flowers are held on small, bushy shrubs, making them good companions for other garden plants.
- English Musk Roses – These plants are a cross between old rose hybrids and noisette roses. They’re available in pink, blush, soft yellow, apricot, and peach. A few varieties offer the musk rose fragrance; most have other fragrances, sometimes with an undercurrent of musk.
- Alba Rose Hybrids - These newer English roses have an almost wild growth habit; while they can be used anywhere, they’re well suited to less formal gardens, where they can grow freely. They’re produced by crossing Alba Roses and other English Roses and the flowers are usually some shade of pink.