"Everblooming" roses in midsummer doldrums

nippstress - zone 5 NebraskaAugust 24, 2013

Hi folks

I'm here to help adjust some misconceptions about supposedly ever-blooming roses that I may have helped to promote. When we all post pictures here on GW, we tend to post roses looking their best. For years when I was a lurker, I'd sigh at the lovely rose pictures and think, "My roses will never look that good". Now that I'm finally having a good rose year, I'm guilty of the same thing in the photos I post. In fact, here in August I look at my OWN pictures and sigh, "My roses will never look that good (again)".

So I thought I'd do some of the newbies (and myself) a favor and post the roses in midsummer, when they're all tired. Remember that one of the main qualities I select for in a rose is the frequency of bloom and vigor of the plant, so my gardens are as close to ever-blooming as is possible in my zone.

Here's part of my back HT/Flori bed in late July. The foliage actually looks surprisingly good because of the cool temps and optimal moisture we had during July, and the blackspotted messy bushes are mostly disguised by the healthy ones. But you have to look hard to see the blooms...

In contrast, here's the same angle on the same bed in the midst of the glorious spring flush:

Here's another shot of a different part of that bed with only a few more flowers:

And the same shot in its impressive phase:

So what am I doing wrong, you may ask, if my everblooming roses don't really bloom all season? Not a dang thing, I reply. Every rose (well, almost all of them) has a down period, and the more roses that bloom at the same time (like a spring flush), the more likely the same roses are to rest during the same period. So I pay for my glorious spring simultaneous flush by having an unexciting bed for the recovery time. All of these roses are still rebloomers, and if you look closely a majority of the roses have one bloom each, so it could technically count as "in bloom". There are some notable exceptions to the down time rule, in particular Bad Worishofen/Pink Emely in my yard that has never been out of bloom since May, though I sometimes prune all but a few blooms back to allow the new buds to shine through clearly. Different roses have different down times to some extent, but it's not the rose's fault if we all have unrealistic expectations of reblooming roses.

That's part of the ongoing appeal of roses for me, in fact - I love rebloomers and yet they're a constant source of wonder and surprise to see them reappear after a rest. It's like stopping spring for a few weeks and then having tulips or lilacs reappear midsummer. This is one of many reasons we cultivate patience as rose gardeners, so we don't get frustrated and shovel prune them when they're really just living up to their nature. Ever-blooming is relatively rare in roses, but reblooming is entirely reasonable if we adjust our expectations of what that means.

Just my two cents - I figured this was a good topic to counteract the summer blahs.


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bart_2010(8/9 Italy)

Thank you, Cynthia!!!I think this is a VERY good post. I totally agree with you,and it's helpful and encouraging to be reminded that it is not my garden alone is boring at best at this time of year...EVERY year around this time I have to fight off feelings of depression and annoyance with myself for even trying,so it's important to remember that it's only a passing phase. bart

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 6:50AM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I'm impressed with your courage in admitting your roses aren't in perfect condition all-season. There does seem to be a tendency among some gardeners to deny that their gardens ever have serious down time. I remember, as a newbie some years ago, asking if some people really had roses blooming all the time because mine did not. A number of indignant gardeners posted (a bit self-righteously, I might add) that there were all sorts of roses that were continuous bloom and I must have picked the wrong ones. Since then, I've decided they counted as "continuous" that bush squeezing out one, may two roses when all the others were resting. One bloom isn't exactly what I had in mind when I bought supposedly "continuous" blooming roses.

Really interesting comparing the resting pics with the spring-blooming pics, Cynthia. And thank you for reminding me that good times in the rose garden will return!

I do have one nearly ever-blooming rose: Our Lady of Guadalupe. But she looks even better in the springtime than she does in August, but I'll take what she has to offer anyway. : )


    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 8:58AM
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jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

Great thread! On our heaviest bloomers... I try to stagger my deadheading so I have blooms on most of the time.
That means there are times when the bush might only have 1+ blooms on it...But it's something...lol

Our Mister Lincoln is a couch potato and has extemely long naps...

After thinking about it: Even though I stagger my deadheading I'm not sure that even helps on some roses.
Because I notice a lot of times new flowering stems are already forming before I even deadhead the spent bloom...

This post was edited by jim1961 on Sat, Aug 24, 13 at 10:46

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 10:37AM
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roseblush1(8a/Sunset 7)


Again, I am going to say a great thread. However, I do think it depends on the rose and the weather. For reasons I do not know, the one roses that has always been a true continuous bloomer for me, "Lynnie", is actually taking a rest this year after it's last flush. I have never seen this rose empty of blooms except during winter. I have always had to wait until the bees left it alone to deadhead.

This year, for the first time, it is not a continuous bloomer. I know there is nothing wrong with the rose or anything I have done, but it does have buds, so it will bloom soon.

The rest of the roses usually take a break during the high temps.

Your garden photos are beautiful ... even in the slow periods.


    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 10:49AM
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Cynthia - Interesting post. It never occurred to me that anyone would think or even pretend to have roses blooming all the time. To me when it says repeat, it means cycles or flushes. Some varieties do repeat faster than others, but they all need a break. One reason I love roses is because they do repeat, they reward us throughout the season. I'm not sure if they were ever-blooming it would be nearly as rewarding. I wait with anticipation for each flush. I know it won't be as glorious as the first, but lovely! And some years are better than others. This one happens to be a good one for me, so I have thoroughly enjoyed it, but I know that next year may not be nearly as good.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 11:37AM
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sandandsun(9a FL)

Kudos Nippstress! Well written, well documented, and well done!

I'm personally hoping to find roses (eventually, lol) that will either bloom as constantly as conceivable, as Souvenir de la Malmaison and Kronprincess Victoria do here, or ones that have a preference for blooming in the usual "rest cycles" in order to always have a performer on the stage as it were. This is how I choose my perennials and other shrubs in my mixed borders. And even deliberately doing so nonetheless results in spring choruses, etc.
Enough about me and mine.

Well done!


Thank you.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 11:50AM
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In many climates, there are "continuous bloomers". La Marne here has flowers on it from very late "winter" through very late fall. They're there, but not always great looking. It's flowering now, and looks like a party dress dragged through the mud.

We forget even they have to take a rest. This is the time of year when many pollinators aren't as active due to the extremes of heat and lack of cooling water. Nature sets up cycles so the "need" (ovulation) and "satisfaction" (pollination) coincide. Flowering when the pollinators aren't very active is a very inefficient waste of energy, something Nature is loathe to do. Plus, as Michael posted elsewhere, there are a number of nutrients required for flowering and they must coincide with the proper temperature, moisture and light levels to successfully trigger flowering. All must occur simultaneously, within their appropriate ranges or the plants just won't respond. Right now, many of our areas are just too bloody hot for successful polination. And, that is why they flower in the first place. Kim

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 11:58AM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

Just yesterday I was enjoying the garden, cosmo's, salvia, lavenders and zinnas in bloom along with the scattered roses. Hummingbirds were zipping by, the small birds are chattering in the ripe sunflowers, woodpeckers on the telephone pole, my phoebe is busy following me around the yard again, monarch butterflies flitting about, and bees galore. The green rose bushes are all busy with buds and new growth. The Icebergs are busy blooming for the most part, pinks and whites but the burgundy is about done. The 2 Elle standards are huge again like giant bowls with rims of roses.

The scraggly shovel pruning body bag roses look like they always do, horrible, but the rest of the garden is happy.

We have had a cool past couple of months. Shows what a a few hills, the ocean nearby and a 100 miles (from Kim) can do to change a garden.

(and an drip system under several inches of horse manure)

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 1:28PM
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If you REALLY want to see some amazing results, Kippy, flood that horse manure mulch to get it thoroughly wet and rinse "the good stuff" out of it. Expect initial chlorosis until the soil bacteria and plants catch up with the extra water and nitrogen, but once they do, you'll need a chain saw to keep up with the plants! Kim

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 1:37PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

Kim, we have soaked it a bit, but mostly to get the serious crop of malvas we know it will produce to sprout. With the hope that they will DIE as they dry out. Bet we have a lovely spring flush next year.

Something I should note:

Moms house is on a street of gardners. Almost all have double lots with the extra space devoted to gardens of all sorts. Not one is a "typical" suburban yard of lawn and hedges. There are veggie gardens, natives, fruit trees and a border of large hawk nest holding ecus. The street is a haven for birds and wildlife and most of the residents encourage them by planting for them.

This post was edited by Kippy-the-Hippy on Sat, Aug 24, 13 at 13:49

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 1:41PM
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Desertgarden- Las Vegas, Z8b @ 2800 ft.

Nice post, and a good reminder :)


I believe my garden is doing some of what your garden is doing. Don Juan seems to be pretty heat resistant in that it is only fazed by the weather in July. Other than that it puts out some kind of blooms, smaller in size, but pretty consistently. The repeat is quicker than any other rose I have. While it provides spots of color up high and at mid-levels, I had to cut back my lantana this morning as it is growing over everything and extending out so far that it touches anyone passing by. The orange bells ( I have a softer orange variety but cannot remember the name), loves the heat and produces flowers up high and down low. The sweet alyssum that I grew from seed has been in bloom since the Spring, but it is looking a little tired. The lavender is blooming. The rest of my roses are resting; and that is okay. I am happy that I see color, and not just green with insect damage and nutrient deficiencies.


This post was edited by desertgarden561 on Sat, Aug 24, 13 at 17:46

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 2:11PM
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mirendajean(Donegal, Ireland)

Fantastic job Cynthia! This thread is brilliant. Its both honest and inspirational while setting realistic expectations. My roses took a serious rest this month and I needed that inspiration. I tend to buy roses that thrive in cooler climates. We had some atypically serious heat in June and part of July. My roses bloomed beautifully but didn't put on a lot of new growth. The seconds the temperature returned to normal and the half sunny half cloudy days returned new growth erupted on most of my roses.

There were exceptions, my patio & flower carpet roses powered along completely indifferent to the weather. Champaigne Cocktail, double Delight, London Bridge, Summer Song, Hot Chocolate, and Winchester Cathdral always had at least 4-5 blooms. However, the rain and winds sometimes committed cruel acts of violence on the blooms.

Ive missed my blooms and have allowed myself to be distracted with harvesting veg and putting in the winter/spring plantings. I've recently come into about 1 1/2 tons of free mulch. I'd look longingly at my roses while laying the mulch. I feel like its June and I'm on pins and needles waiting for all those lovely fat buds to burst open into a riot of color and scents.

ThanK you for reminding me that its supposed to be this way.


    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 4:38PM
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seil zone 6b MI

I'm impressed at all the green foliage in your now pictures, Cynthia! If I were to photograph my beds right now the first thing you would note is the number of bare canes you can see, lol!

It was a cool, wet summer for the most part and BS and PM have been impossible to get rid of. There is always a down time for the roses, particularly the HTs, so instead of enjoying blooms I have been keeping notes on who the worst disease offenders are so I can dump them!

My best "continuous" bloomer has been Home Run. It really has been in bloom, with many blooms not just one, all season. Next best has been Mutabilis. Not as many blooms as Home Run because it does not throw sprays but it has consistently had a half dozen blooms open every day. After that pretty much everything else blooms in flushes. Some just flush more often and/or quicker than others. I'm working on weeding out the slackers there too.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 5:33PM
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Before the deer slaughter of the early 90's. I had over 100 HT and during the summer I would bring from a dozen to four dozen roses to work to share. Better to share them than watch them explode in the afternoon and then deadhead. Ever blooming is a garden not a bush. I have two ever bloomers; Handel and Red Wand. The rest do the HT thing.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 6:25PM
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jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

I'm going to try 2 Home Run's next year Seil after seeing a pic of yours...
Glad to hear again that they bloom so well! :)

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 6:59PM
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nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska

Glad to hear you folks find this post as helpful as I do! It's actually reassuring to look at the before and after pictures to realize that before will come again (so to speak). I absolutely agree that there are roses that are much more continuous bloomers than what I've shown here. I chose the more extreme case, since a lot of HTs and floris need rest periods, and I purposely put the ones with less rebloom in this back yard bed since it bugs only me when it's resting. There are better parts of my yard, and better roses for frequent or consistent rebloom. I just figured showing the contrast helps me.

Roses that are pretty darned continuous blooming include my classic three - Bad Worishofen, Smiling Jean, and Lady Elsie May. I totally agree that it depends on location and conditions as much as the rose - Scepter'd Isle and Savoy Hotel and even Mme. Antoine Mari are close to constant bloomers for me, but they're right by the water faucet and benefit from the bonus water - I doubt they'd be so in other parts of my yard. Wilhelm and Heavenly Pink among the shade roses bloom nearly constantly, as do Bonica and Caldwell Pink. Sweet Fragrance and many of the Easy Elegance are essentially constant and prolific bloomers, which is why I put 5 Sweet Fragrance in the bed in front of my house, since that's one of the places I really want more or less constant bloom in at least some roses and flowers.

Yep, Seil, I'm frankly amazed that the foliage looks this good myself. We had an abundance of rain in spring and unusually cool July weather, but not the drowning that the southeast has experienced. I don't spray anything for BS and can get away with it in our relatively dry climate, but I think my roses have gotten tougher and more resistant to BS with time because of the benign neglect since we do get a fair bit of BS in Nebraska. A friend in Omaha gave me about 15 of her highly BS prone roses, and they don't seem to get much BS for me even an hour away (though I tend not to notice much if they do). Location, location, location, eh?

I love the statement - everblooming is a garden not a bush. All the descriptions of the wonderful variety of annuals and perennials and other plants remind me that we're all gardeners in the large sense, not just rosarians. I make sure to plant things that will be vigorously blooming all summer in my mailbox bed, since it's the most prominent in my yard, and the annual purple Salvia Farinacea and blue Aster Frikartii in the shot below do a terrific job of filling in between the sporadic blooms from Liverpool Remembers and Grand Duc Henri, plus the nearly constant blooming roses on the street side of Red Ribbons and David Barber (white) with the amazingly prolific Solero Vigorosa (yellow) still going strong in the front corner.

We don't have to give up the exuberance that I dearly love in my garden, at least not in all of the beds, we just have to balance where it comes from and enjoy the changing landscape for what it is. So enjoy the rest of summer and the changes of seasons and the coming and going of rose surprises!


    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 8:01PM
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sandandsun(9a FL)

I obviously am going to need a button to press that says "Compliments to Nippstress." Oops, it should say "More Compliments to Nippstress."

The view given of the coral/salmon/whatever-term-you-prefer-for-that-color rose blooming amongst the asters with the salvia beneath requires
(pushing button now)

"More Compliments to Nippstress."

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 9:57PM
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nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska

Chuckle - thanks sandandsun for the many compliments, and for a good laugh as well. That screaming neon coral (my term) of Liverpool Remembers and Lady Elsie May doesn't combine well with others, so it needs a lot of purple/blue around it to tone it down. That particular corner in spring has an eyepopping combination of orange, coral, yellow, red, dark red, and a variegated rose that makes me want to put on sunglasses for a little. The only criterion for getting into the mailbox bed is staying under 3' tall, so I have to put a lot of whites and blues in the bed to keep everyone from having a serious conflict (and I like rose/color chaos in general).


    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 7:17PM
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I have Lady Elsie Mae next to Hot Cocoa and
Apple Blossom Pink, Flower Carpet They play nicely together, but I think your blue is gorgeous. .

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 9:28PM
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dan_keil_cr Keil(Illinois z5)

I always have lots of blooms in August. Of course I prune for it because that is when our State Fair is. I always put in about 150 blooms. That is pretty good for that time of year.
Last year when it was so hot I still had 150 blooms in the show. I water heavily and feed once a week. I spray every 15 days. I still have bs on some of th bushes, but it's on the bottom and I pick it off.
I'm cut back so I have no blooms on the bushes during July. Also there is nothing for the jb to eat!
You have some fine looking roses!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 12:03AM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

I have good blooms now, too, because of the JBs :D I just pinched out the buds once they came full force. So JB season is the ugliest time here!

I actually didn't pinch Weeping China Doll, and she's in beautiful bloom now, too. That's my winner in my front garden. Even eaten by JBs, she looks like something very pink blooming, lol. The rest of the time, she's happy and gorgeous.

I like 'landscape' roses like her and Morey's Pink, Baby Blanket and Roseberry Blanket, La Marne, Iceberg and Alba Meid, though. They are in bloom so often that I make sure to put a workhorse like that in every section of my gardens.

My front pink garden has WCD, Morey's Pink, Baby Blanket and Bow Bells (along with even prettier-bloomed roses), and it's really always pink, somewhere :) And either the nepeta or lavenders or both are always in bloom there past a certain early date. I'm glad I like pale purple, lol.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 12:23AM
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