How many unscented roses do you allow?

dove_song(WA State Z6b)April 14, 2012

I'm curious about those of you who mostly grow roses for their beauty and scent. Do you have exceptions and grow a few scentless roses because they have other qualities that you admire? If so, please tell us what you like about them. Also, pictures of these roses would be great if you can show them to us. Also, you don't have to show us your own photos. Just linking us to a gorgeous photo of them--on HMF for instance--would be fun!

Most of my roses are scented, but I am especially happy with one of my exceptions and grow the hybrid tea BLACK MAGIC which has no discernible scent for me. But as I love gorgeous roses for vases in my home, and I also love giving to them to folks to brighten their day, I grow it. (despite it's name which frankly turns me off--so I call it by another name that I made up just to please me) ;) It has long stems, blooms are of a fabulous, velvety, extremely, dark red coloration, it has a great vase life, and the bloom form is EXQUISITE. Please take a peek! :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Marvelous pic of BLACK MAGIC by Shmoopy on HMF

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seil zone 6b MI

I grow roses for the lovely blooms. I don't have a count of how many are fragrant or not. When I'm looking to buy I look at the pictures and decided which ones take my fancy. If they're fragrant that's a plus but I don't make my decisions based on that. For example, Double Delight would still be a gorgeous rose even without the wonderful fragrance. And in sitting here thinking about it I realize that I do not a single rose in my garden strictly because it smells good. It has to look good first and foremost! An ugly rose is an ugly rose no matter how good it smells.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 8:17PM
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roseblush1(8a/Sunset 7)

I am a person who honestly forgets to smell the roses and am often surprised to find out that a rose I have grown for years is fragrant.

I look for a prolific good plant with blooms that don't crisp in the high summer temps in my garden. I don't have to worry too much about disease because once the heat hits, that becomes a non-issue.

Since roses with thick petal substance can handle the heat in my garden best and I've been told they are less likely to have scent, I've given fragrance a lower priority to having a healthy plant.

I was very surprised to find that Fabulous! had a very strong scent when I cut some blooms for the house.

The photo in the link below was taken at twilight in July of last year. Temps had been in the triple digits for weeks and the rose did not go dormant during the summer and performed well through the whole season. That's the kind of rose I want in this garden.


Here is a link that might be useful: Fabulous !

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 9:06PM
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dove_song(WA State Z6b)

Lol, I don't grow ANY ugly roses, Seil. Perhaps I could have been clearer in what I am looking for in this thread. I would like to hear from folks, who mainly grow scented roses, about the unscented roses that are so outstanding in another way that they really enjoy growing them, as well. How many unscented roses do they allow in their mostly fragrant roses rose garden? And which ones are they making exceptions for? That is what I am very curious about. :)

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 10:01PM
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dove_song(WA State Z6b)

Wow, Lyn, your photo of Fabulous! looks...well it looks just Fabulous! And the rose Fabulous! sounds super as well. Hmmm, this is turning into a different type of thread than what I had originally intended, but I am really enjoying it. Yes, this fun too! Guess I love seeing and hearing everything about the roses folks are growing.

Thanks! :)

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 10:33PM
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TNY78(7a-East TN)

I'm another one who grows for the beauty of the blooms and I also really like the "odd" roses. Many times people will ask me what a particular rose smells like, and I can honestly tell them I have no idea! LOL The only ones I know the scent of, are the ones that come of out the boxes they were shipped in blooming. For example...this week I received Scepter'd Isle (myrrh scent) and Grandmother's Hat (old rose scent)...both had blooms when I opened the boxes, and I can tell you exactly what they smell like! Other than really doesn't matter to me :)


    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 10:41PM
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dove_song(WA State Z6b)

Love it! Thanks, for sharing this with us, Tammy! :)

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 11:00PM
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I love scent; it's high on my list of priorities. I don't grow roses much for cut flowers. My criteria is that I will have a scentless rose in my garden if it has qualities I value that no fragrant rose has. 'Mutabilis' gets in on this basis, and some gardeners claim that even it has a bit of fragrance. But I would never in this world have a scentless red Hybrid Tea in my garden, when there are so many fragrant varieties available.
De gustibus non disputandum.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 11:34PM
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caldonbeck(UK (8))

Couldn't agree with "An ugly rose is an ugly rose no matter how good it smells" more!! To be honest, roses only really have scent, bar a few exceptions, if you stick your nose right in the flower. For me, fragrance is not a massively important factor. More of an issue is, is it a swine to grow, and does it look good.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 11:43PM
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Dove Song, I'm on the same page as you - I also have a BIG thing about fragrance. But do have a handful of roses where I do not discern any fragrance, but am completely in awe of the blooms:

. Broadway - Orange, yellow, pink blend - constantly changing, great big gorgeous blooms. Super morpher - one day mostly orange/yellow, the next day mostly pink.
. Color Magic - I can't seem to capture the beauty of these blooms on camera. Huge, different shades of orange, visually one of my favorites, ever
. Cherry Parfait - What an awesome surprise, red and white floribunda
. Ingrid Bergman - One would think with all the gorgeous and intensely scented red roses, why would one have an unscented. Well, simply because she is PERFECT.
. Dream Come True - new for me last year, only had one bloom. But one of the prettiest I've ever seen.

Cherry Parfait:

Broadway in her Pinker stage:

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 11:34AM
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Forgot about Miss All American Beauty. My photo doesn't do her justice, and this bloom is about a week old. I had put my hand in for size perspective - she has really big blooms (but you can't tell since I clearly have really big hands!)

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 1:52PM
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Fragrance is a huge criteria for my garden. The only roses I will allow w no fragrance have to have amazing blooms or a unique color. Non fragrant roses definitely get the less desirable locations too. I would say less than 10% of my roses have limited or no scent.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 3:39PM
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I suppose the question is directed to those who value scent very highly. In my garden, the only reason I would consider scent is if I'm trying to decide between 2 roses and all other factors are equal. Otherwise, I sit in the house and look out, or sit on the deck and look at them, and I'm indifferent as to whether a rose 40 feet away has a scent.

That said, I'd recommend La Marne and honestly I can't say whether it has a scent or not. But it does have one unique quality, which is the fact that it is always the last blooming plant in the garden. Well after all the other roses and all the other plants are gone in December, it's still blooming until we get a freeze. A little frost doesn't seem to bother it - just intensifies the color, which can be washed out in the summer heat. So for the duration of it's bloom period, I'd highly recommend it.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 5:00PM
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Black magic is beautiful - I have even seen it make nice garden plants too.

But I do choose highly fragrant roses - a garden with over 100 highly scented roses is wonderful - for 5-6 weeks when my front and back yard peak blooms - in june and july the air is filled with heavy sweet rose fragrance. I have one neighbour that says - it is too much! He claims that he sometimes hold his breath when walking past my house - in order not to suffocate ...

I also grow a lot of scented plants - some that releases their scent in the evening - scented plant are a must to me - it makes me so happy.

I do grow somce roses that are highly unsual and very beautiful - like eden climber - there is no substitute - for the big, heavy cabbage round roses - but they do not have much scent - but make a great garden plants. Other roses are not very fragrant up close - nor have very pretty individual blooms - but none the less are great garden plants produces a huge number of smaller flowers that also scents the air - like some musk roses like Ghislaine de Feligonde - Guirlande d'Amour. So scent is high on my priority list when choosing roses - I only grow Hybrid teas that are extremely scented and find that many are ugly, garden plants - but I grow them in my cutting garden so do not care as much for the growhabit - I want to cut heavenly scented hybrid teas - and enough of them in the right stages of blooom for cutting. Beauty is in the eyo of the beholder though ...

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 7:56PM
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dove_song(WA State Z6b)

Wow, this thread is really going well! Harmony, your photos are great! I can really see why you enjoy growing these roses. Thanks everyone for your valuable input. It's been lots of fun reading your responses on this cloudy day! :~)

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 10:46PM
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I, too, am more visually oriented. Even before I lost my sense of smell, I would always pick a rose by how it looked. That said, I do miss smelling them.
But, not every person smells them the same. I adored the scent of Mon Cheri but could not smell Double Delight (neither could DH.) On this forum, I was told Mon Cheri had little or no scent. Not true for me, when I could smell the roses!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 10:54PM
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sandandsun(9a FL)

I usually won't add a rose unless it is fragrant and reported to be VDR (very disease resistant). I allow no exceptions to the VDR requirement because I don't and I won't spray. I have very few that aren't at least lightly fragrant. In addition to the ones I posted in the thread below, there's a Buck and the single flowered rose I got last year. I'm not naming them because I can't judge either at all for a while. The single is not reported to be fragrant so I'm assuming that it isn't - hasn't bloomed yet; it is still too young. I got it for its color and the accounts of its floriferousness as well as because I'm hoping that it will convince me that it is the exception to my prejudice for full doubles. (Although I must admit that I love the photos of Jacqueline du Pre and Angel Gardens lists a single that is supposed to smell like tangerine that I wish I could whiff).

Here is a link that might be useful: verdict: excellent

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 11:50PM
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dove_song(WA State Z6b)

Kathy, I am sorry that you miss smelling the roses, but I'm happy that you are visually oriented as over the years I have sooo enjoyed your photos on the Rose Gallery. I look forward to them every year! And I totally get what you're saying about many folks saying a certain rose has no scent, but to you it did. That has happened to me, too. :)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 12:18AM
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I think scent is very subjective. Some of the roses that I have purchased that are supposed to be very fragrant are just so so for me and others that are not supposed to be fragrant I can really smell. I wonder if zones have anything to do with it also?

Dream Come True is not supposed to have scent (as Harmnony said) but to me, it has the most wonderful fragrance! It smells like apricots-and it is always in bloom. I love this rose (despite its killer thorns).

I grow two roses that are not supposed to have scent-Bonica (light pink ever blooming little shrub) and Fame! (I think its a HT) a cerise rose that holds its color in our 100 degree heat.

I have a Zepherine climber, second year for me. I was expecting more fragrance...maybe she is just warming up.

I try to give my roses a shot, then they get "the warning" and then they get the axe. Its funny how some poor performing roses (on any level, bloom, scent, foliage) just worms their way into your heart and they become "the exception". And yes, Happy Child, I am speaking about you...

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 1:22AM
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Quite a few. I grow the old HP Frau Karl Druschki mainly because I have an antique sign for it. It's supposed to be quite scentless and I can detect no scent but my son can. He has a terrific sense of smell. Many of my floribundas don't have much scent, including Bonica mentioned already. I grow them mostly for mass effect and edge the beds with scented perennials like lavender or throw a packet of annual seeds among them, such as Night-scented stock or night phlox, Zaluzianskya.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 2:29AM
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decobug(z6a Idaho SW)

I used to have about 300 roses. Not I'm down to about 80. Every year I remove the roses that are diseased, take too much maintenance, blow fast, doesn't age well, etc...

Now I'm thinking about starting to purchase duplicates of the ones that I especially like.

As far as fragrance, about 1/3 of the roses have some sort of fragrance. I try to sprinkle them around so it isn't so obvious which ones do and don't smell.

So like I have the highly fragrant Fragrant Cloud in the middle between Fame! and Ingrid Bergman, both of which have zero fragrance.

Another thing I do is put the fragrant roses near the doors and windows. So Neptune is near the bedroom window etc...

But with 2/3 of the roses having minimal fragrance I sprinkle other plants here and there that do have fragrance so that there is always something nice to smell.

Favorites are lavender, alyssum, thyme, fragrant daylilies and iris, etc...

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 5:41AM
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lovemysheltie(5/6 Chicago)

Honestly, I don't grow a single unfragranced one. Fragrance and health are the two main things I care about and I have limited sunny space so giving a spot to an unfragranced rose is just not something I would do. During the blooming season, I actually drink my morning tea in my yard and sniff almost all my roses while walking about. It's my favorite part of the day!

The only roses that might tempt me into growing them would be super unusual ones but again, I haven't met a rose I cared for enough to overlook its lack of scent. All the other plants I grow are also selected keeping scent in mind (magnolia, iris, daffodil, hyacinth, sweet pea, dianthus, phlox, lilies & sweet alyssum).

There is 1 rose I would grow in a heartbeat, fragrance or no fragrance, and that is the Green Rose - I LOVE IT!!! My granny grew it and I have always found it gorgeous. Sadly, it would never survive a single winter here.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 12:20PM
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1: Black Baccara rose.
Some nurseries classify it as unscented, though I've read on a nursery site that it has a mild, nutty scent; mine has no scent to it.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 4:50PM
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sandandsun(9a FL)

Please accept my apologies. If anyone was curious about the rose with the reputed tangerine fragrance, I apologize because I relied upon my memory from last year - bad! First it isn't a single, it's a semi-double and it's called Tropical Fragrance. If anyone grows it and can confirm the tangerine fragrance, I'd love to hear.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 10:42AM
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It would have be true "delphinium" blue.

Hmmmm, after some thought, no I don't even think a scentless blue rose would make the cut. I only grow roses possessed of strong, pleasing perfumes. Period.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 2:58PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Visually oriented here--but I do have a perfume path where I deliberately sought out some highly perfumed roses like Double Delight, Elle, Berolina, Chrysler Imperial, Valencia , etc.

Here you can see part of the perfumed path:

There are probably some highly perfumed roses elsewhere in the gardens, but if so, it was accidental. I can honestly say they were picked initially for two qualities: beauty and disease resistance. Second rank considerations are how fast they re-bloom and can they stand the heat of a Kansas summer. After that, any other good features are a bonus, but not required.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 4:05PM
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lola-lemon(5b East WA)

I am scent obsessed in the garden (roses, mock orange, korean spice bush, lilacs etc.) so far, I allow zero unscented roses.
In fact, I showed Sheila's perfume the door (gave her to mom) because I thought she had just average smell. And Michaelangelo- is a blooming machine, but he isn't very smelly, so he stayed in his pot and will find a nice home elsewhere.
I think there are 3 qualities most of us look for in a rose: scent, vigor/health and bloom robustness. Everyone has their own ranking. Some won't take divas. Or once bloomers. etc.

but I think I prefer grasses, heathers, perennials and things with more texture foliage to roses if there is no scent.
I even pick my Iris and daylillies, and peonies for scent. Though I do keep the unscented Buckeye Belle peony and another Itoh that have no scent because they are too cool.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 5:10PM
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Different strokes for different folks. I grow roses for their visual beauty. If it has a good scent , that's an extra for me.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 10:37PM
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I reserve the morning sun spots for the best perfumed roses and then the rest of the spots can have the low or no scent roses. It makes a big difference in the quality of the fragrance. I like to bring the flowers in and some of the ones with thick petals last even though they don't have great fragrance. Roses like Our Lady of Guadalupe and Johann Strauss and Pink Rosette don't have much if any scent to me but the plants are champions at producing roses and the shape of the plants is very pretty. I love the color and shape of White Licorice but hate the scent. Also, I like the shapes of many DA roses and dislike the myrrh scent if it is the dominant fragrance. I like it as a mild supporting scent to fruit or other fragrances.

But I won't grow roses in colors I don't like for the scent. My neighbor wanted a good smelling rose so I bought him a Fragrant Cloud and planted it in the perfect location and soil. Every now and then I go over and smell the perfume. I can see that rose blooming from across the street. It glows like a stop light in the afternoon sun against a dark green juniper. He loves everything about it.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 12:12AM
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Scent in the garden is very therapeutic and romantic. When I first started growinig roses in 2006 - I used to have Heritage, Sharifa Asma, Gertude Jekyll, Jude the Obscure and Souer Emmanuelle. It was a great leisure to step outside because of the wafting scent coming from those roses.

Sadly, I don't have those roses anymore. My current roses don't smell as good as the ones I used to grow since most of them are poor repeaters ie. Laguna and St Swithun and two once-bloomers.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 4:22AM
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rross(NSW Aust)

I grow a scentless climber (Nancy Hayward) as the backdrop to my other roses, all of which I bought because they were highly perfumed. I just treat the climber as wallpaper. It's strong and I'm waiting for it to settle in and turn into COLOURFUL wallpaper.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 4:49AM
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I have several minis that don't have a scent, but the rests of them do. I want scented roses, but appearance and size are the most important criteria.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 9:30AM
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Nearly all my Geschwind climbers are scentless, only Himmelsauge has some scent. They are completely hardy and a necessary choice in my cold climate where many climbers freeze to the snowline in winter. I have six of them on pillars along the short path up to the house where they provide a mass of flowers. I have underplanted them with lavender for scent.

The own root Forstmeisters Heim in the photo has wandered and will have to be brought back to its pillar. Aurelia Liffa to the right is better behaved.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 12:22PM
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I think I would allow the double chestnut rose, if I had the space, because of its unique texture, color, stance, and foliage.

I got rid of Eden (Pierre de Ronsard) because it had rose rosette, not because it was scentless. But it's scentlessness was beginning to grate on my nerves, I must say, and I do not miss it. It can be so beautiful, though, with its greenish buds, in the right situation.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 3:38PM
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:) I just posted wondering about the relative merits of Black Magic, etc!

I'm crazy about scent, and I love the way my strongly-scented rosebushes smell, but I figured...what would be the harm in having one that doesn't smell amazing if I already have so many that do?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 3:42PM
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Tuggy3(9b NorCal)

I look for substantial petals because of the heat here. That leads me to more Kordes roses that don't have much scent. Also scented roses close up make me sneeze. I have some strong ones though-Oklahoma, Firefighter, Mr. Lincoln, Singin' the Blues, Rouge Royale, and Papa Meilland are probably the strongest. I got my first bloom a couple of days ago on my one year old Archduke Charles. Very nice light scent. As I add more OGR's I may be sneezing a lot more. Mary

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 4:11PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

marian--I really like the lush pic of your roses. I'd hate to lose that effect due to a "fragrant only" rule--: )

Your solution is wonderful--plant the lavender at their feet. Voila! fragrance! Love it.


    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 6:55PM
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