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So What do you Look for in Roses?

Posted by molineux 6b (My Page) on
Thu, Aug 15, 13 at 16:07

I thought this might be a fun exercise. I'll start:

First off you got to understand that I'm all about the flower; beauty and fragrance of the individual blooms is everything to me. And I'm very picky.

I put my foot down in areas of flower form, fragrance, remontancy and plant vigor. My number one criteria is fragrance; the perfume must be so strong it will knock you down and then drag you into a giggling state of olfactory bliss. However, if the rest of a rose's attributes are exceptional then I will accept a moderately scented flower (case in point: MOLINEUX).

The bloom must also be beautiful to look at from start to finish (this is my biggest beef with Hybrid Teas - gorgeous buds, but disappointing - i.e. formless - mature blooms). Single, semi-double, doubled, high centered, quartered: it doesn't matter which (although I do favor quartered blooms, especially with a button eye) as long as those petals are perfectly symmetrical with tight flower formation. I'm especially vulnerable to swooning when the individual petals are rounded (i.e. scalloped).

Quick and reliable repeat is very important. Then there is vigor. The plant should be vigorous enough to grow WELL on its own roots.

I'm more flexible with the other attributes. Ideally the growth habit should be bushy to 4 feet tall, good strong stems, okay vase life (it doesn't need to last an entire week - three days is good enough), reasonably disease resistant foliage (I will spray without complaint if the flowers are really gorgeous), and canes that are not heavily thorny.

I also tend to favor roses that have been grown for over 20+ years and are no longer under patent protection. My way of thinking is if a rose has stood the test of time and can meet my standards then it deserves to be preserved for posterity. This is why I tend to favor the remontant Old Garden Roses classes.

To date no single rose has ever had everything that I'm looking for but I keep looking. Like I wrote earlier. I'm V-E-R-Y picky!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: So What do you Look for in Roses?

Hi Molineaux,

First I look at the color. I am very "color sensitive". Some colors strike me as beautiful, some I feel scream at me, some I just do not like; it is all personal. The color has to fit in the scheme of what I am trying to create. I have to admit; I am a little up tight in terms of colors looking right together; to my eye, and balance, symmetry is a must. I would go bonkers if there was a large deep pink bush on one side of the house and another one not on the other side. It would not have to be the same thing, but at least the same color and balanced in some respect to size. When you look at my yard you would see both.

If it passes the first two tests, it must be fragrant to highly fragrant. The beauty and fragrance of OGR's is primarily why I am here and have re-designed my yard to be weighted towards OGR's and Austin's.

There are some blooms I like, and some I do not. There is a name for bloom types; one day I will take the time and make a personal list. It would definitely help me when I search for roses on HMF. The blooms must be pretty to me.

The rose must fit into the space allocated... obviously.

My last criteria, if it doesn't repeat bloom it is likely checked off the list. I want to see roses until Thanksgiving, at least, six weeks is just not enough.

I do not call it picky. I just know what I like.

Lynn


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RE: So What do you Look for in Roses?

My criteria are more simple:

1. Good to excellent disease-resistance or its out. I have a few older roses that get to stay in the garden due to seniority; newer ones must meet the disease-resistance requirement or they've had it, no matter how lovely the bloom!

2. Beautiful blooms--shape, color, hue, etc. Actually I prefer blends. The measurement for this requirement is that it makes my heart sing!

3. Floriferousness and decent re-bloom. I might fudge a bit on this one sometimes, but good continuous bloomer will strongly incline my preference towards that rose.

Occasionally I fuss over size, and I have never objected to a nice fragrance, but such items are not high on my list of priorities. Thorniness is usually an irrelevant criteria for me, except when I was being nice to the meter reader (the meter was located directly behind a tall rose).

I don't have a preference for old or new roses, but I like some balance in my garden. So periodically I may deliberately pick a rose from a category I seem a bit short on--but probably Austin roses are usually going to be my first choice.

Kate


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RE: So What do you Look for in Roses?

Very precise criteria involved here. I could probably give a one word answer ('survival') in my usual facetious style,,,,but,as an exercise in focusing minds, I will try a more considered approach. I don't want to deadhead so once-blooming is fine but would welcome a season of 6 weeks....and, naturally, there should be heps. I don't particularly want to prune either - at least not as an annual regime so I do pay attention to size. I am not likely to spray unless it was a life or death thing (which blackspot isn't - although I guess it will get the plant in the end) so I will happily forgo all other aspects of rose culture for health. Growing roses on an allotment, where there are no structures, paths, walls or property requires roses which are either self-supporting (such as a huge moyesii and Darlows) or flexible and versatile to make use of many timber vegetable supports (such as Splendens, winding around the old tomato canes). Generosity of leaf and stem is a given - a small and fussy diva of a rose would simply be crushed in the hurly-burly of fruit and veggies or a brambly wood so the rose must have presence and stature - great architecture, good leaf quality - Californica plena, R.pomifera duplex, R.glauca, Cantabridgiensis.....all of these have good bones with abundant healthy leafage. It is not a fixed ideal but as a rough guide, I tend to prefer singles and semi-doubles (its the stamens) rather than fuller petalled blossom. Not really bothered about colour


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RE: So What do you Look for in Roses?

I'm with Campanula; survival is number one. Beyond that they must require minimal care: no spraying, fertilizing or constant watering. They must keep most of their leaves and grow tall enough to stay above the weeds. I have lots of space so I like enthusiastic growers, but they need not all rebloom or have amazing fragrance. I like "frowsy" looking blooms and interesting petals whether single or very double. Most of my roses are pink as they are old garden roses, and that's okay too. I guess I am at the opposite end of the picky spectrum from Molineux.


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RE: So What do you Look for in Roses?

Fragrance, remontancy, form, health. First thing that attracts my attention is a pretty bloom. And I like many forms--high-centered modern HTs, ratty little pom-poms of some of the ogrs.

Then it's fragrance. A real fragrant orange--not my favorite color--would appeal to me.

But if it is covered with blooms all season long, like Caldwell Pink & healthy as a horse as well, I can forgive lack of fragrance. Fragrance is a big deal to me but a really exceptional healthy bloomer like Caldwell Pink will always have a spot in my garden.

I don't care as much if a rose gets some seasonal BS or defoliates in the summer.

When I flip through a rose catalog or walk through roses at the nursery, I look at pics or flowers first, then cull down my choices depending on fragrance.

finally, I can get hooked on the romance or sentiment I attach to a particular rose--Omar Khayyam (how cool to have a clone of a rose growing on his grave) Tropicana, Talisman, Pax, Peace--Mom's & grandmother's favorites


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RE: So What do you Look for in Roses?

Two of you have already named my no. 1 criterion:

1. Survival - No mean feat in my garden

2. Color - I'm a very visual person, and my preference is soft colors, such as the old roses and Austins usually have. I adore mauves and purples, and of course many different shades of pink, and roses with color variations as long as they're subtle.

3. The "Look" of a Rose - A large part of course is the shape of the bloom, but the beauty of the rose as a whole is important. I can make an exception once in a while, like Yves Piaget. One can always camouflage skinny knees with companion plants IF the bloom is worth it, but I wouldn't want to make a habit of it.

4. Health - It may be far down the list, but if a rose is consistently not healthy it doesn't get to stay.

5. Does it fit my vision? - I often fail in this, especially when there isn't enough rain, but I have a dream picture of a garden which looks natural, in which roses are the major focal point of a garden that is not a rose garden, but a garden made beautiful by the presence of many roses. It's harmonious and peaceful, an earthly paradise that is clearly linked to a natural background of hills and native vegetation and outcroppings of large boulders. It's a tamed wilderness where wild animals don't look out of place, but made more beautiful by what I've chosen to plant there, a bridge if you will between man and his structures and the somewhat hostile and challenging wilderness beyond.

Ingrid


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RE: So What do you Look for in Roses?

#1 - It's got to like it hot....it can stay 100+ for weeks at a time here and wimps are not allowed.
#2 - I like singles, so that's a plus for me...I just love that wild rose look. I don't have a rose garden, I have 17 roses IN my garden, and that wild look really makes it shine for me.
#3 - Even when the colors themselves are bold, I like the blending to be subtle - I don't care for most striped roses. And I want my reds RED, not dark pink or purple-red - *R*E*D* red.
Beyond that, I'm pretty versatile...I have a Tiffany and an Old Blush, a Peace and a Reve D'or. Graham Thomas is on one side of my driveway and Mermaid is on the other. All very different, all beautiful. And thorns don't scare me...I have good medical insurance! lol Fragrance is a big big plus, but not a deal breaker if she's pretty.


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RE: So What do you Look for in Roses?

  • Posted by fogrose zone 10/sunset 17 (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 15, 13 at 21:11

(Almost) Any antique rose that can survive in my part shade chilly summer garden is welcome.

But what I'd prefer just won't make it here:
Really fully double lush Bourbons with fragrance that will make you weep.

So I content myself with Gallicas that are happy though no repeat and select Hybrid Perpetuals which are as near to Bourbons as I'm going to get. Also single, or almost single flowers do open better so I have a number of those. Kathleen is looking exceptionally well today and I love her musky fragrance.

Diane


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RE: So What do you Look for in Roses?

Roses are like art to me. I know right away when I see something I like. I'll put up with a fussy plant for some time trying to see if it will make extraordinary flowers for me. And I love fragrance. I will grow flowers that I don't love the look of just to smell the perfume. I also grow a few that I hate the fragrance and love to look at. Of course I love roses that flower all the time, but I'm happy to devote space to those who just flower sometimes if they are really special. I have enough of a variety that there are always roses to look at so not all of them need to be constantly producing.


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RE: So What do you Look for in Roses?

I love a lot of different styles of roses. Although HT's and floribundas are pretty much absent from my garden. I am just starting a brand new from the ground up garden at my wife's house. The garden I am leaving behind has some REALLY mature OGR's and they are WAY too big to dig out so I am going to take cuttings of them and dig out the smaller bushes.

Being a truck driver who finally has time to really care for the roses again after five and half years of working on call and having almost no time to work in the garden I am really enjoying growing more roses that live perfectly fine without life support via anti fungus sprays weekly.

I have plenty of space for larger growing varieties but it is on a STEEP hill so the large once blooming roses are going there where I won't have much need to do regular rose care.

Scent is quite important, number of petals is less so. All major groups of OGR's do well here and I am mixing my new repeating roses all together and the once bloomers will be nearby in a separate bed with some hardy upright fuchsias.


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RE: So What do you Look for in Roses?

I prefer roses to not have highly visible stamens.


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RE: So What do you Look for in Roses?

Foliage (down here, most roses become "bare sticks with a bloom on the end"). I like foliage glossy and abundant. And the closer to evergreen the better.

Plants that thrive in heat. Heat 'tolerance' is not enough. In Mississippi, if a rose doesn't LOVE the heat, it probably should not be planted.

Vigor (now that we're back in this difficult climate, we can't be putzing around with anything not extremely vigorous)

Growth Habit. Hard to pin down, but I want a graceful plant - not a klutzy one. Fortune's Golden Yellow, which reminds me of a Chinese watercolor on silk, leads in that category, along with the Chestnut Rose.

Size: It's hard for me to get excited about anything that isn't bigger than I am. Most Mississippi girls have Cinderella Complexes. I have a Napoleon Complex. So, Laevigata, Banksaie, the Wichuriana ramblers...

Fragrance: Cornelia stands out in that respect, IMHO.

Shade Tolerance: down here, a rose is much more useful if will thrive in a good bit of shade. Clotilde Soupert and Peach Drift have been the stars in that category, so far.


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RE: So What do you Look for in Roses?

mauvegirl,

I agree with you regarding the stamens; especially if the rose is a deep color. I can handle; just a little, a white rose with exposed stamens because it can add a little something extra, that is good or once it really opens, it is only a couple of days or so away from a deadhead. But again, personal preference.

With the exception of one Golden Celebration, there is no solid yellow rose in my garden. I have blends with yellow; that's it, and only in the backyard. Some yellows are really soft, delicate in appearance, some are deep golden yellow, both of which I can handle, and then there are some that just scream " hello, I am here", those scare me as the colors that look really gorgeous with bright yellows do not always perform well in my garden.

My husband and stepson selected a bright red and orange (blend) lantana for the backyard. They are there, and thriving; 3 of them. Every time I look out the window, I think " your days are numbered".


Lynn

This post was edited by desertgarden561 on Fri, Aug 16, 13 at 16:13


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RE: So What do you Look for in Roses?

plan9fromposhmadison,

I definitely get it; I visited Louisiana during the heat of summer and was sent back home two days later; I broke out in some weird hives and had all kinds of issues.

Your heat IS something to be reckoned with; for people and roses in large part due to the humidity. I remember going to Florida in June and it was 88 degrees. Let's just say it was unpleasant as I am not acclimated, but I had to figure out how 90 is down right pleasant here and I could barely tolerate a little lower temperature when I was there. When I returned home, it was 102 and I said aah!!! relief.

Your 93 with 82% humidity is like 132 and level IV in terms of danger from exposure. My 102 with an 18% humidity, which is still a little on the high side for humidity here, is like 96-97 degrees and it is a level II. Humidity and dryness changes the way heat is experienced by people and roses.

Level I - Very Warm
Level II - Hot
Level III - Very Hot
Level IV - Extremely Hot

Lynn


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RE: So What do you Look for in Roses?

  • Posted by seil z6b MI (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 16, 13 at 19:45

I wrote a whole long response to this and then something futzed and I lost it so here's the short version, lol

Winter hardiness is tops. And that means it has to handle severe ups and downs repeatedly in the spring.

Blooms second. Although I've rarely seen a rose that I actually thought was ugly. I love all the forms from exhibition to decorative, from singles to million petals.

Vigor and quick repeat next. I have a short season and I want as much bloom as possible through out it. I know there are some gorgeous once bloomers but space is limited and I'd rather put something in that will bloom repeatedly for me.

Health and habit next. I like a nicely shaped plant WITH leaves as much as possible in my BS heaven. Hot Cocoa is probably doomed soon because it grows in the oddest manner possible! Julia Child will be a keeper because she's always green and blooming in a pleasing bushy shape!

Fragrance is a nice bonus but not a must

Vase life isn't high because I rarely bring blooms in, allergies abound here, but I do like it to last on the bush for at least a couple of days. Sunsprite left here unlamented because it looked like used kleenex in a matter of a few hours of opening.

Color? The more the better! I love them all and love to mix them all up together for a bright and cheerful garden.


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RE: So What do you Look for in Roses?

# 1 - health - I will admire a beautiful but fussy rose, but I will not grow it myself

#2 - romantic appeal - scent and opulent beauty evoke the Long Ago and Far Away response (even if it is actually a reproduction rose). If you click on 'Rosefolly', you will see that 'Once upon a time' is my favorite phrase in the English language. I actually really mean it. 'Long ago and far away' would come in a close second.

#3 - association - if it is a historic rose, or if I saw it growing in a fabulously beautiful garden, it gets extra points from me and I will give it a try. If the rose is affiliated in some way with someone I love, that is a strong mark in its favor.

Rosefolly


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RE: So What do you Look for in Roses?

Good foliage and graceful plant habit. Also I like variety, of form, leaves, hips, prickles, and bloom of course.
Beauty of bloom; scent.
Profusion, opulence.
That a plant be frugal and easy to grow is important, as I have poor soil, cursorily amended, and don't water in summer.

I like many colors and forms of blooms but don't generally care for strong harsh colors which are more common in modern roses.
I'll take a scentless rose if it is beautiful and unique, but if it has a fragrant sister, forget the scentless variety. Almost all my roses have some degree of fragrance.
Big plants are satisfying, and, as has been mentioned, they can get their heads above the weeds. Smaller varieties are, aesthetically speaking, fine, but can be more difficult to place.
I know I'm repeating myself, but having variety in plant style is important, and that the growth be distinctive is important: Gallicas don't look like Teas, and neither looks like an Alba. I value the different appearances of different classes and groups of roses, and these differences make them interesting to me even when they're not in bloom. I think this is why I like many less-hybridized varieties and classes, and am less fond of certain groups like the Bourbons, Hybrid Perpetuals, and Hybrid Teas. Also, lovely as the Austins are (I need to retry them one day), many of them are similar to one another in growth and foliage, and for that reason I wouldn't want a garden full of just DA roses. The same is true of Hybrid Teas.

Less important or not important are hardiness and disease resistance, as we have a mild climate and low fungal disease pressure.
Rebloom is not important since with the summer drought roses don't tend to rebloom much anyway, and I still get to enjoy foliage and hips. Also, in hot weather I just don't get down in the big garden much.
Value in the vase is not important since I don't cut flowers much and, when I do, there are always more to replace the ones that wilt.

Melissa


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RE: So What do you Look for in Roses?

Don't want to forget to say that I am happy to see Papa Roseman posting here once again. I have a gorgeous 'Sunset' tea rose growing in my garden due to his generosity, and I very much enjoyed meeting him at the Vintage Gardens Dirt Day a few years past.

Rosefolly


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RE: So What do you Look for in Roses?

For me it is color color color :)

Then fragrance is the next on the list.

The other issues (vigor/disease free/etc..) I usually leave to discover by letting the plant do it's thing and see what it does :)

Marleah


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RE: So What do you Look for in Roses?

If I had to sum up what I look for in one word, it would be "exuberance" - saturated colors, vigorous frequent bloom, bushy trouble free growth, and "personality". By saturated color, I don't necessarily mean bright or dark - I consider it possible to be a saturated blush rose like Savoy Hotel, or even saturated white like the blindingly true white Polarstern. I dearly love roses with contrast or unusual color as their source of personality, but exuberant constant bloomers like Bad Worishofen or Lady Elsie May have personality in their cheerful unstoppable golden retriever temperaments.

I agree with mauvegirl that I'm not wild about prominent stamens, except in the singles like Dainty Bess or Jacqueline Du Pre because it gives them character. I'd actually prefer roses that didn't set hips (sorry, camps), but I'll change my mind about that once I decide to leap into propagation. Winter survival is a criterion for ultimate staying in my yard by necessity only, but I never refuse to try any rose for reputed winter hardiness, though I've learned to limit my attempts on Teas and Chinas. I have a really high tolerance of BS and leafless roses, since there's always another rose or other plant to hide bare knees, and I don't have a good enough nose to be picky about fragrance. It's definitely an added bonus, like survival (obviously), but it's not my first decision point when trying roses for the first time.

I also admit to a strong preference for highly double quartered roses, but too many of those would get monotonous even for me. It's a good thing I'm not particular about combinations of roses or forms next to each other, since things never turn out like I plan in my yard anyway.

Nice thread topic, Patrick!

Cynthia


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RE: So What do you Look for in Roses?

First? Availability.


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RE: So What do you Look for in Roses?

Strength and vigor. The first frost can often come brutally and unexpectedly early such as early November. Springs usually have repeat freeze and thaw cycles.
For example, I have 2 Mary Magdalene's by Austin. The blooms are huge and pale petal pink. The bushes if one can call them that are about 9" tall. The blooms are so heavy they rest on the ground. Both are 2 years old.
The teas and chinas do well here as do the once bloomers. Some of the Gallica's get some strange crud which doesn't affect vigor. They are appropriately placed in the garden.
The best for me are the big beast ramblers...no disease and I just love them.


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RE: So What do you Look for in Roses?

1. Excellent disease resistance on its own roots for my climate.
If those need to be broken down for priority, then:
A. Suitable for my climate
B. Own root
C. Excellent disease resistance
But truthfully, all three factors are equivalent priorities or demands.
2. Remontancy
3. Height
4. Fragrance
5. Color
6. Form

The reigning queen of my garden for all these requirements is Souvenir de la Malmaison. For the past 18 months, she has bloomed fragrantly as often as possible, etc. There isn't even a pretender to the throne should she abdicate. But her court continues to grow and there are numerous would-be princes and princesses, so maybe next year - or maybe not.


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RE: So What do you Look for in Roses?

This is an interesting topic. I've learned something from reading everyone's The following qualities influence my rose choices:

1. Survival in Eastern Tennessee (or perceived survival in same)
2. Health in same
3. Eventual size

The rest are more or less equal considerations.

Price- I will spend more for a rose that I'm pretty sure will succeed but not for a gamble.
Bloom frequency- Life is too short and I don't have a lot of room so I make this a priority.
Fragrance- Ditto

As far as color, I can't believe I'm saying this about a flower, but a good rose can't be a bad color. Except for brown and crispy, of course (see #1 and #2 above). Or maybe green. Part of our back yard is wooded so I don't need more just plain green.

Funny thing, there is a disconnect between what I love most in my larger roses and what I love in my smaller ones. My favorite large roses are big, blousy, strongly fragrant and yellow, amber or apricot. They tend to play well with wildflowers and grasses. On the other hand I like petite roses that are soft colored, politely scented and make sweet little additions to a perennial bed.


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RE: So What do you Look for in Roses?

  • Posted by luxrosa san Francisco bay ar (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 24, 13 at 19:10

The first 3 criteria are equal;
-Disease resistance. Two gardens ago, we grew 180+ rosebushes, and it was a sublime garden, with shady corners where Hybrid Musks bloomed, all edged with white Lady Banks, in the center where the hot sun flowed down, were the H.P.s, H.T.s and Bourbons. After a few years of spraying with organic sprays I decided that since so many roses were available that never needed to be sprayed in our area, to only grow those cultivars.
-Old Roses for their beauty, fragrance and, history, some of it quite romantic. I came late to the Austin club, forgoing modern roses altogether (a strong prejudice against the ball on a stick H.T. form) but finally bought a yellow Austin after waiting 3 years for a yellow own-root Noisette to climb and it refusing to grow more than 2 feet tall. I wish Mr. Austin used more Tea-Noisettes in his rose breeding program,and/ or sold in the u.s. 'Marachal Niel' on Dr. Huey, because that would be a dream come true to me.
3. beauty of bush, bloom and fragrance. One of the 3 won't do it for me. When I was a young girl I decided that I loved best a rosebush that had pretty foliage (Mlle. Cecillel Brunner')and small flowers over a large flowered H.T. with a few leaflets to barely cover its thorny canes, because I reasoned I had to look at the bush for 12 months out of the year, during 8 of those the plant would have leaves, and I wanted to enjoy seeing the bushiest plants available.
I love a lush rose garden, filled with roses, of course, but also leafy foliage in great and green abundance.
For most of my rose growing years I have loved and sought out to grow Old Garden Tea roses for that reason; the bush is beautiful to look at even when it is taking a break from blooming. Many Noisette roses are fantastic foliage plants as well.

-fragrance, fragrance and more fragrance. I'm lucky I can smell Tea roses because some folks can't.
a few of my favorite roses this month are;
Mrs. B.R. Cant' from afar, I love it as a huge background plant covered with roses. I never appreciated this rose until I noticed how well it appears when seen at a distance.
R. moschata gorgeous foliage in 3 seasons+, a sexy musky scent that wafts on the air, very pretty stamens and pollen, white roses are my favorite.
white ' Rose of York' has my favorite rose foliage of all, "luxurious" blue-green leaves, wide white petals, that golden boss, and a wonderful history being the first white garden rose documented as being grown in England; 1400's a.d..and associated with the York family.
Pax' always blooming, very fragrant.
cl. Kaiserin Auguste Viktoria'
The large shapely creamy white roses have an excellent petal substance which makes them last a long time in a vase and moderately strong fragrance. I would place it among Mme. Jules Bouche and Mrs. Herbert Stevens for best classic white Hybrid Tea for beauty of bloom.
Marie Van Houtte and Mrs. Dudley Cross, great combinations of yellow and pink.
R. californica I pick the canes all during the green seasons for its leaves, to use in bouquets. This is one of the few wild roses that re-blooms well on new growth, so I cut it back by one third at the end of June so it re-blooms in late August. I've documented the re-bloom several years in a row, but not the percentage, at a glance it appears to be more than 60% of the June bloom cycle.
The scattered bloom that has been noticed on R. californica that appears after its' spring flush is due, I believe, to naturally occurring new growth.

Next year I'll try and remember to count all of its blooms during its first and second bloom cycle to see if R. californica is fully remontant when pruned back.

-interesting things about roses aside from the bloom: hips, leaves, prickles, oddly colored foliage and leaf shape, 15 leaflets gets my pulse surging.

Bloom: Must appear natural. No florist roses for me. as my neighbor said "They look like they're made of plastic'

Luxrosa


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RE: So What do you Look for in Roses?

This is a simple answer for me: The rose whose flower touches my heart.

It's also an easy answer, since I no longer have any roses of my own. But I do volunteer in the Sacramento Old City Cemetery's rose garden, so I have ample opportunity to be enchanted. After working in this garden for almost five years, I am still discovering roses that make me love them.

Laura


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