7A Hardy Fragrant Roses

Just_One_Nerve_LeftAugust 5, 2013

I am relatively inexperienced with gardening and especially with roses. The thorns, maintenance and sparse looking plants had put me off. However I still love them and want to finally bite the bullet and try them in my garden.
My wish list is probably unfairly long but I really want to zoom in on good plants for my needs. I am in Boise Idaho, which is a relatively good rose growing area with minimal blackspot and japanese beetles etc. The big thing is wide daily temperature swings and heat/drought tolerance. Within a hours drive we have 7b-6a conditions but my exact area looks to be a 7a. Highs are usually around 105 F during the summer.

My wish list:
1. Extremely Fragrant - can smell from 30' away in the evening ideally. I want for it to compliment the summer evening BBQ. Would rather not have to stick my nose in it to enjoy it.
2. Prolific blooms/reblooms. Ideally I want to have a lot of something going on all the time for blooms and scent. If it has enough reblooms I can do without long lasting individual flowers. I don't really plan on using them as cut roses but consider it a perk.
3. Decent petal count and size.
4. Thick/bushy plant. When its not in bloom I don't want to think it is a hideous eyesore. Would prefer they are not armed to the hilt with thorns.
5. Hardy/low maintenance. My area can be a little harsh for conditions. I don't mind doing yearly pruning and spraying a few times on an as-needed basis, but I don't want to be chained to my garden. Maybe an hour or 2 a month of fussing outside of normal watering.

I have made a short list of roses on my buy list, but since I don't have tons of space and plan to keep these things forever I would rather jump straight to satisfaction in 3 years of growing.

1. Red - Mr. Lincoln/Crysler Imperial
2. White - Pope John Paul II
3. Bicolor - Double Delight
4. Yellow - Honey Bouquet/Julia Childs
5. Bicolor - Elle/Sheila's Perfume

I really only have room for 5-7 plants total. I would like a more pastel pink flower too but haven't found one yet in my research.

Basically I am looking to confirm that these plants will fit my bill collectively (something going on all the time) and individually (the individual plant reblooms and looks attractive as a bush etc).

I don't mind losing a little of one thing to gain a great deal in another so if you have a substitute or a preference between the 2 in my catagories let me know.

I am really big on reblooms but am going for roses for the fragrance versus other blooming plants. Have encore azaleas, bloomerang lilac, everlasting hydrangea, lil-kim rose of sharon and satin azure rose of sharon back there now.

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AquaEyes 7a New Jersey

I, too, am a bit of a fragrance snob, so I understand your motivation. I think you should expand on the petal-count criterium, however, if you want roses whose fragrance can be smelled from a distance.

Generally, the roses whose fragrance wafts (and you should do a search for "waft fragrance rose" on here to find a lot of suggestions) do so because their fragrance comes from their stamens, not their petals. So the more stamens, the more fragrance can be emitted by them. And since double flowers result from stamens mutating into petals, the best wafters tend to have fewer petals. Look into roses related to R. moschata and R. multiflora -- Noisettes, a select few Polyanthas, and Hybrid Musks. And consider R. moschata itself as well. There are, of course, exceptions -- quite a few fully-double flowers are reported to "waft" in some of the threads linked below.

Another thing to consider is fragrant foliage. The benefit of roses with this feature is that they don't need to be blooming for them to perfume the yard. Two species that come to mind are R. rubiginosa (formerly known as R. eglanteria) and its hybrids -- the Eglantines -- as well as R. primula, which is also known as The Incense Rose.

Finally, keep in mind that wafting fragrance is most strong when the weather is warm and somewhat humid. If you live along the East coast, you're all set.



Here is a link that might be useful: Search for

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 2:36PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Julia Child will fit all your requirements.Mine is very healthy and hardy and blooms a ton. She has a nice rounded bushy growth habit to about 3 x 3 feet.

Those HTs on your list aren't going to give you nice bushy palnts. They'll be more tall and lanky. PJPII is shorter but he isn't very vigorous and has a slow repeat. A little winter tender for me too. Elle is lovely but not particularly healthy. Double Delight is gorgeous, of course, but another spot magnet.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 3:56PM
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Thanks for the lead. I am definitely interested in having a least a few that are top notch wafters in my collection.

Will have some more research to do but I did find an early front runner in the Annie Laurie McDowell, which is described as a reblooming climber but still has the higher petal count and is the lighter pink I felt I was missing.

A couple that were on my original list were mentioned as having a decent waft effect from a compiled list older thread- Mr. Lincoln, Double Delight, Scentimental, Sombreuil, Fragrant Cloud, Isaac Pereire.

I may have to reprioritize what I am looking for when I make my final selections. I find that as soon as I start to zero in on what I want I discover something else I want to factor in which messes it all up! :)

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 4:07PM
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nanadollZ7 SWIdaho(Zone 7 Boise SW Idaho)

Welcome to the Forum, Nerve. I'm from Boise, too, out in the foothills. I agree with seil that Julia Child could really be the answer to the "wants" on your list. She can take the awful heat and bloom pretty much continually all season. Her weakest point would be a very mild fragrance, but in our extreme dry heat, I don't think any rose is going to waft 30 feet. The fragrance oils have a difficult time when it's so dry. I find Julia to be quite low maintenance, too.
I'm no expert on traditional hybrid teas, but I think some of the other roses on your list might not have that thick, bushy, look you want. Let me know if you need any suggestions for roses that do well in this area.
You know we are really lucky in SW Idaho not to have any fungal disease problems, especially the scourge of roses, blackspot, and I don't find insect trouble to be much of a problem, either--maybe a few thrips on certain, selected roses (not Julia) and leaf cutter bees that can really notch leaves (but they're good guys, of course). So, I don't think you should have to do much of any spraying at all. But you will have to irrigate constantly, of course, and the best way is with a drip system. Best of luck! Diane
Here is a pic of Julia.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 7:05PM
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nanadollZ7 SWIdaho(Zone 7 Boise SW Idaho)

Oops, I forgot a bit of info. Julia will get larger than 3X3 here. Also the small rose bush in front of one Julia is Bernstein-Rose, not a little Julia. Diane

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 7:07PM
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shellfleur(z7a Long Island, NY)

I highly recommend Heritage, one of David Austin's earlier English roses. It fits all your requirements. It almost always has blooms, the scent is beautiful and you can smell Heritage throughout our backyard. It has beautiful pale pink blooms which look beautiful on the bush (they don't hold up well in a vase but you say you aren't looking for that). The bush is an attractive, rounded shrub whose foliage is more disease resistant than most all my other roses.
Good luck! Shelley

Here is a link that might be useful: Heritage on HelpMeFind

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 9:27PM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Hi Just_one_Nerve_Left: I saw Julia Child at the rose park and didn't get it for: licorice scent, my kid thinks it smells like cough medicine, and blooms fade to white.

I got "Honey Bouquet" instead, it's a round-compact-bush, looks good even without blooms. (Julia Child is 3 times wider, more angular bush.). Honey Bouquet doesn't fade to white like Julia Child, and Honey Bouquet smells like Yummy honey, or wonderful musk when it's hot.

For white that perfumes your entire garden, Marie Pavie is a round-compact globe, very pretty even when not in bloom.

For red ... I have so many fragrant reds (Firefighter, Crimson Glory, Mirandy, Gruss an Teplitz) ... but none can match the wafting scent of a miniflora "Norwich Sweetheart", it's 2 ' x 2' in your warm zone, round & compact, and perfumed my entire patio. Firefighter would be second-place in perfuming my patio ... Firefighter is many times stronger than Mr. Lincoln and Chrysler Imperial that I sniffed at the rose park.

See picture of Marie Pavie below. See link below on Firefighter for the most fragrant long-stem blooms for the vase.

Here is a link that might be useful: Firefighter Red Hybrid Tea

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 10:17PM
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Thanks for the amazing ideas thus far everyone! The recommendations are right on target. Now I just have to figure out how I want to include it.

I will probably keep a couple of the leggy ones just for the other desireables from them and try to prune them and layer them behind plants that are more attractive. But the wafting recommendations are so high on the want list I am sure to put in a few.

Any recommendation on how to find out scent strength in our arid clay alkaline soils since I know that will be a major contributor to the final product for me.

I like that many of these roses are continual bloomers, I was a little worried that the "flush" nature of roses would leave me bare for a month at a time. How important is deadheading for the varieties we've been discussing?

I actually grew up on the foothills of NW Boise by Hill Road and 36th. I am now SW Boise by Amity/Maple Grove. The irrigation water is a life send. So much more affordable to keep the property green.

Thanks again for the help!


    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 10:46AM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

If you decide to get a super-fragrant red HT, Chrysler Imperial is a hardier and better rose than Mr. Lincoln here. However, none of these roses can stand up to hot sunshine unless they are well shaded in the afternoon (if then).

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 11:11AM
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nanadollZ7 SWIdaho(Zone 7 Boise SW Idaho)

Hi again,
As I mentioned before, I don't think any rose will do a whole lot of wafting of fragrance in our hot dry air during the summer, but spring and autumn might be better for this. If you want pastel pink, a rose called Frederic Mistral has a wonderful scent, blooms pretty much continuously for me, and doesn't have the traditional hybrid tea shape, but is more shrub-like. It does get big. Here's a pic in June. The cream colored rose is a David Austin rose called Jude the Obscure. Diane

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 3:21AM
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poorbutroserich(Nashville 7a)

Diane, that looks like something out of a candy box. So gorgeous!
My Jude is more yellow....

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 9:20PM
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nanadollZ7 SWIdaho(Zone 7 Boise SW Idaho)

Thank you, Susan. I think it's kind of cute how one Jude seems to be sneaking up on the two roses that are cuddling--something is going on there. I have to admit that blooms are looking a bit worse for the wear around here after nearly two months of extremely hot, dry weather. I was hoping for a bit of a cool down, but the prediction is 100 for Thursday, plus you can't can't believe all the smoke from the huge forest fires. I can't see past the first rank of hills out here where I live. Diane

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 3:04AM
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Louise Odier seems to waft a good deal for me, she's dark pink with many petals and a great fragrance (and this is just my 1 year old band - only 1.5 feet so far).

Diane - is that another jude plant you have next to frederick? Or is that the same jude next to brother cadfael? I don't remember ever seeing frederick next to jude in the pictures of jude and brother.. it looks beautiful though!

Jude is also another rose that smells great, wafts somewhat with me, but like I said Louise has been the best with that so far.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 12:56PM
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nanadollZ7 SWIdaho(Zone 7 Boise SW Idaho)

Hi Drew,
That's the same Jude which has Brother Cadfael on one side of him and Fred on the other. I didn't show that in my pics last year because Fred, who has a mind of his own, bloomed later than Jude and Brother. This year, they were more coordinated, but BC was a disaster of a spring flush because his blooms balled and dried up due to the heat. I haven't had that happen before, but the heat started sooner this year. Because of the dry air her, scent just doesn't travel like in more humid areas (for me, anyway). When blooms are brought into the house in a bouquet, they do some wafting then. Here's another pic of Jude. Diane

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 2:40PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Just wanted to add the Julia is in full bloom for me right now and You can smell her from several feet away!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 4:35PM
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nanadollZ7 SWIdaho(Zone 7 Boise SW Idaho)

Seil, in this blasted dry climate it doesn't matter how many blooms any rose has put forth in this garden, there doesn't seem to be any wafting. In the house it is different as I said. I am jealous. My Julias just finished a big bloom in spite of the heat and have wound down to build up for the next bloom. I just looove that rose. Diane

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 7:29PM
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Thank you all so much so far with your suggestions. The photos are lovely and help put in a real gardeners experience with them.

Seems I am starting my search too late in the season to be able to reliably order my ever expanding list of roses for this year. Each one maybe has 1 or 2.

So many plants to choose from, so I am hoping I can make some good choices.

I think my for sure list includes Double Delight (just nothing I can find that compares), Marie Pavie and Annie Laurie McDowell (basically thornless and have most of the other traits I was looking for based on HMF and general internet reviews on them).

Was thinking of substituting Elle for Sheila's Perfume but I am not convinced yet. Anything else in the pink/peach/orange bicolors that are ultra fragrant and nice?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 11:29AM
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poorbutroserich(Nashville 7a)

Over the Moon (discussed here on another thread) is not ultra fragrant to my nice but it is gorgeous and a bloom machine. Check out Lady of the Mist. She is gorgeous too and fragrant (to me).
Ultra fragrant just seems to be rare (to my nose).
Jude is ultra fragrant for me but I didn't find Julia to be so.
And Diane your roses are just so gorgeous.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 7:13PM
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canadian_rose(zone 3a)

Elle has a very strong sweet, sweet smell. Smells like candy.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 12:04AM
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