Saturday, October 24, 2009

If I had to Pick a Favorite

Rosa 'Belinda's Dream'

As the days get shorter and colder, I start to think more about how I want the garden to look next year, than do any actual working in the garden. In thinking about what I would do differently, what I want more of, etc..., one thing really strikes me; the success of roses in my garden.

Rosa 'Flower carpet Yellow'

When I first started out, I was really nervous about Roses; everyone said they were finicky about sun and soil, prone to mold and disease, but none of those things have really played a role so far. Maybe I've been lucky in my choices, but I have noticed a lot of roses growing in Swampscott, from the ubiquitous Rosa Rugosa along the shore at my favorite beach, to my neighbor's humungous noisette that blooms in the Spring. Maybe they like the shore climate, with its near constant wind, short Spring, long Fall, snowy, but relatively mild Winter temperatures (rarely does it get below 20 or 25 here). Or maybe I'm super lucky to have a very sunny corner lot, that gets full sun for over 10 hours during the summer.

Grandma's Rose on October 22!

Beyond the aesthetics of roses (which far more talented and poetic writers than I, have rhapsodized about), they have some wonderful characteristics that have made them my favorite:

1) After the first season (once they've developed a taproot), they are virtually drought tolerant (my Knockout and Flowercarpet roses are a testament to this).

2) The shrub roses totally stand up to wind! I have a windy corner, and many of my flowers just don't do well with all the wind (i.e. they all fall over). My roses probably do better because of the wind (less chance for mold to take hold).

3) Many varieties bloom for three seasons! I've been enjoying blooms since June, and it's October and almost all my roses are still blooming. For me, gardening is about the flowers, and to see a few buds lighting up a scraggly corner just makes my day.

4) Okay, I will mention the aesthetics. Roses are gorgeous! They come in a ton of colors, and a single flower goes through many changes while it blooms, so it's like you get three or four flowers out of one.

Rosa 'Sunflare' when it first starts to open.

Sunflare once its fully open.

Whatever the reason roses do well in my little garden, I'm thankful!


  1. Nice roses. I never liked roses (having experienced the fussy tea roses, especially when they are over pruned) until I experienced shrub roses. And now that I've got a modern, repeat blooming variety I just want more.