Everything's Coming Up Roses –3

One of the first trial roses I was ever offered was the Red Double Knockout landscape rose and later, Pink Double Knockout. These are reliable, disease-free plants that rebloom again and again throughout the growing season, starting in early June. In 2009, I cut the last blossoms at the end of the third week in October (Zone 5B). The plants can look a little ratty between bloom events if you don't deadhead them, but they are self-cleaning, so it doesn't affect their ability to flower again.

The only thing missing from the Knockouts is fragrance. If you sniff really hard, you can detect a very faint scent that seems to grow stronger once the blossoms are brought indoors, but they will not make your rose garden smell like roses.

Joseph's Coat is a lovely multicolor climber (also available as a standard bush rose) that is a handsome combination of light and dark pink blush with a yellow throat. I've seen, elsewhere, Joseph's Coat pictured as an orange rose, so you may want to purchase a plant that's in bloom, to ensure that the reality matches your expectations.

One of my favorite roses is this creamy white one, a floribunda with thick, dark green, glossy leaves and a wonderfully strong scent. It was given to me at the end of a trade exhibit, but didn't have a label. It blooms two to three weeks after the Knockouts and Mardi Gras, but before Pink Promise. Four or five of its flowers are enough to perfume the entire garden. That's my idea of what a rose should be.

When I'm shopping for roses, I look for two things: Color and fragrance. While it's always helpful to have a label to refer to, or as an aid to looking up more detailed information on the care and feeding of your particular rose, it's more important to choose a plant that really resonates for you. Rose culture doesn't differ all that much from one plant to another and if its siren call constantly lures you into the garden "just to see how it's doing," you're more likely to take good care of it.

More next time…..

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