2015-07-02 / From The Garden

What a Year for Roses

By Cynthia Gibson

"Red Blaze" climbing rose is a colorful addition to yard fencing. "Red Blaze" climbing rose is a colorful addition to yard fencing. The heavy winter snows made many of the perennials and shrubs come up stronger than ever this year. With the official start of summer comes humidity, but the harsh winter was so rough that feeling as if you are sitting in a sauna for a few days seems not all that bad. Actually, gardens love the sultry weather, and humidity and heat are the perfect combination for rosebushes to thrive.

July is prime time for roses and they are out in all of their glory. The size of the roses this year is remarkable and their fragrance also seems stronger than usual. The beaches are filled with rugosa roses, and floribundas and hybrid teas will soon abound, but climbers are a bit slower to reach full bloom.

The most common of the red roses you will see climbing on fences and trellises, and in some cases up trees, is “Red Blaze.” This is a very old rose prevalent in summer throughout New England. It is a simple flower, but when you see a huge spray of these deep red roses, they are stunning.

Another favorite on Aquidneck Island and along Bellevue Avenue is “New Dawn.” This rose is trustworthy; just plant and feed and it will perform. It is light pink in color and after three years of growth boasts masses of climbing flowers. For those not fond of pink, New Dawn also comes in a pristine white. What is special about this rose is not only can it withstand frosts and cold, but the flowers themselves are hearty large blooms that will last for at least two weeks.

Nursery sales will be starting very soon, so keep your eye open for New Dawn and Red Blaze.

Famous rose breeder David Austin offers quite an array of roses. He is based in England, but sells in the States as well. Almost every nursery on our island carries David Austin roses and they are sensational. You can buy them either grafted or on their own rootstock. Own rootstock roses are the better in my book, as they can never revert to the grafted rose or rootstock.

Austin has a fabulous climbing yellow rose named the “Pilgrim.” Another fancy deep canary rose of his is the “Julia Child.” Some more famous roses are the deep red-purple rose, named the “Prince"; a pink rose, named “Shropshire Lad” and a true favorite, “Ambridge Rose.”

Give them a try, you won’t be disappointed!

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