Colorful, Fragrant Roses
Is the hybrid tea dead? Some rose pundits have claimed so, but the new rose introductions in 2001 suggest that the hybrid tea still has a pulse, and plenty to offer gardeners who want well-formed roses on long stems that are just right for cutting.
Here's a survey of this year's offerings, company by company. At the end of the article is a listing of the 42 new roses arranged by type, and their characteristics.
Jackson & Perkins
'Sultry', Jackson & Perkins' Rose of the Year for 2001, is a rich, warm apricot-colored hybrid tea that is especially attractive as a fully open bloom. It offers a quick repeat cycle, and has already proven to be more winter-hardy than many roses of its color.
Other new hybrid teas from Jackson & Perkins include the crisply formed 'Vanilla Perfume', icy pink 'Pearl Essence', and ruffly pink 'Sweet Valentine'. 'Sweet Valentine' is one of the few recent American rose creations to score really well in the European rose trials. Trophies from Germany and Italy do not necessarily mean that 'Sweet Valentine' will do well for you, but are a strong indication that this rose will produce a lot of bloom.
'Burning Desire', a crimson hybrid tea hidden away at the back of Jackson & Perkins' catalogue, would surprise a lot of people if it turned out to be better than J & P's outstanding red hybrid tea 'Veterans' Honor', introduced last year.
J & P is also offering the German breeder Tantau's 'Black Magic', a small, very dark red hybrid tea. A truly black rose is an impossibility-its petals would crumble as soon as exposed to the sunlight. 'Black Magic' is one of the deepest reds, and may be most effective when cut as an unfolding bud and used in floral arrangements indoors.
Because floribundas work so well planted en masse, a great floribunda can make a garden, and a poorly chosen one can have disastrous effects. 'Fabulous!', Jackson & Perkins' Floribunda of the Year, appears to fully deserve its exclamation point. A cross between 'Iceberg' and 'Sexy Rexy', its fluffy white blooms appear in large sprays. Like most descendants of 'Sexy Rexy', this rose benefits from prompt removal of spent blooms. Other new floribundas from J & P are the silvery-pink 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' and apricot-pink 'Summer Samba'.
New from Weeks Roses is 'Barbra Streisand', an elegantly formed mauve hybrid tea. Like many roses of its color, this one has an outstanding scent. Unlike many roses of its color, this one has enough vigor to keep its place in a busy garden. 'Barbra Streisand' wants to make sprays, so disbudding will be necessary if you want large, one-to-a-stem blooms. Weeks' other new hybrid tea is 'Pearl', a streamlined pastel white that will require extra winter protection in Northern gardens.
Most color mutations in roses take a shade or two away-a deep pink rose becomes light pink, a yellow rose suddenly throws a stem with white blooms. 'Brilliant Pink Iceberg' is a stunning exception. Here is the famous 'Iceberg', the best white floribunda of all time, overlaid in warm cerise pink. Discovered in Tasmania and introduced in the U.S. by Weeks, 'Brilliant Pink Iceberg' appears to be one of the can't miss roses of 2001. Hot climate gardeners may question the "Brilliant," which makes more sense when one knows that there is a second, softer pink 'Iceberg' sport from Tasmania called 'Blushing Pink Iceberg'.
My favorite new shrub for 2001 is Weeks' 'Long Tall Sally', displaying massive hydrangea-like clusters of single-petaled buff white blooms. This rose has yet to be tested by a severe winter. When it passes that test, it will go right to the top of the list of recent shrub rose introductions.
Unlike dot-com names, there is no authority to prevent duplication of rose names throughout the world. Therefore, there are three different new roses named 'Millennium'. The one American gardeners are most likely to encounter is a crimson hybrid tea from Certified Roses. Other new Certified hybrid teas include the apricot 'Just Dreamy'-a good choice for those who live where summer isn't too scorching-the tall yellow 'Twenty First Century', and the lavender 'Macho Man'.
Some of the most surprising new rose introductions for 2001 are the compact shrubs from Delbard of France introduced by Certified Roses. Some of these, such as the brilliant yellow 'Pimprenelle', keep their original French names while others ('My Fifi', 'Little Gigi') exchange them for French Poodle names. 'Little Gigi', with its bouquets of white, yellow and pink blooms all at once, is a rose that's sure to bring a smile.
The All-America Rose Selection floribunda for 2001 is 'Marmalade Skies', a low-growing tangerine orange bred by Meilland of France and introduced by Star Roses.
'Glowing Peace', the All-America Rose Selection grandiflora for 2001, is a much more intensely colored version of its distant ancestor, the original 'Peace' rose. 'Glowing Peace' is grown and sold as a hybrid tea in the rest of the world, and like most Meilland hybrid teas will do especially well in hot climates.
New at Star Roses is 'Carefree Sunshine', a trouble-free clear yellow shrub from Bill Radler, the breeder of last year's award-winning 'Knock-Out'. The yellow here is not intense to begin with, but holds well without fading even in summer heat. Also new from Star is 'Ruby Meidiland', a smaller, less sprawly version of 'Scarlet Meidiland'.
Arena Roses introduces three more in its outstanding series of Generosa roses, bred by Guillot of France. 'Elaine Gillet' is a densely petaled white emerging from red buds. 'Jardin des Viels Maison' is a raspberry pink with open, cup-shaped form. And 'Mme Paul Massad' is a delightful buff apricot, a color that is very blendable both in the garden and in bouquets. The Generosas are inevitably compared to the Austin English roses. In my Ohio garden, the Generosas survive the winters better and offer a stronger repeat bloom. The Austins often have more perfectly intricate blooms, and appear over a wider color spectrum. It is unusual to encounter either a Generosa or an Austin that does not possess a memorable scent.
Also from Arena, several new members of Poulsen's Town & Country series. These Danish-bred roses provide reliable health and color on plants that range from ground-covers (such as the single-petaled white 'Tumbling Waters') to mounding shrubs (the stunning blood red 'Manhattan') to tall hedge-like plants (the coral pink 'Santa Barbara'). The boldly striped, free-blooming 'Nashville' is healthier than many striped roses prove to be, and the tiny, tuckable 'Pebble Beach' is the perfect pink rose for interplanting with perennials.
David Austin Roses
It's tough to make money growing and selling rose bushes, and most successful rose breeders supplement their incomes by selling naming rights to their creations. That's how we get names like 'Teasing Georgia', the petal-packed yellow shrub from David Austin, named for the wife of a German media personality. Austin is still two years away from getting his rose introductions synchronized on both sides of the Atlantic, and so 2001 represents another year of separate new English rose introductions from the Austin outlet in Texas and other authorized sources, such as Jackson & Perkins. Notable among the nine Austin introductions new to American commerce this year are 'Sophy's Rose', a smaller, quick-to-repeat cherry red; the twiggy, fragrant, plant-it-anywhere deep pink 'Portmeiron'; and 'Mary Magdalene', a soft apricot that succeeds in looking completely old-fashioned. Does Austin's new soft pink 'Anne Boleyn' suggest that we should leave room in our beds for five more wives of Henry VIII?
Nor'East Miniature Roses
Today most miniature roses are grown in pots and marketed as "throwaway" windowsill plants at supermarkets and discount stores. Many of these will do perfectly well if planted outdoors, but miniature roses bred especially for garden use will do even better. The 2001 award winners are 'Sun Sprinkles', a bright yellow AARS recipient from Jackson & Perkins, and the American Rose Society Award of Excellence winners 'Ruby', a perfectly formed red, and 'Michel Cholet', a rich apricot, both available from Nor'East Miniature Roses.
Whether you're looking for a quality new miniature, a stalwart landscaping floribunda or shrub, or an elegant hybrid tea, the Rose Class of 2001 is sure to offer a rose that's ready to graduate into your garden.
Where Roses Grow
Hybrid teas are generally hardy to USDA Zone 6, and require increasing amounts of winter protection as one moves northward. Floribundas are just as hardy, or slightly more so. Shrub roses are thought of as winter hardy, and most are, at least to Zone 5. Exceptions include many of the yellow Austins and shrubs with tender species ancestors (such as R. bracteata). Miniature roses, grown on their own roots, are tough customers and will survive a Zone 5 winter with just an oak leaf mulch.
There are two steps to successfully growing roses in regions with colder winters than the plants would naturally survive: deep planting and winter protection. Normally, grafted roses are planted so that the bud union is at or just slightly above the soil line. Planting deeper, so that the bud union is no more than 2 inches below the soil line, offers added protection. Insulating rose bushes means just that: covering or wrapping or mulching such that the rose plant has some protection from the worst of winter. Gardeners in zone 5 need to insulate hybrid teas to help them through winter. Gardeners in zone 4 need to insulate a lot, and those in zone 3 would be prudent to focus on hardy shrub roses.
Peter Schneider is editor of Taylor's Guide to Roses (Houghton Mifflin Co., 1995; $22) and is co-editor of the Combined Rose List.
The New Roses of 2001
Here the 41 new roses for this year are grouped by type. The name is followed by the flower color, a measure (subjective of course) of its scent, the height of the plant, and the diameter of the flower.
'Barbra Streisand' mauve; intense; 4'; 4"
'Brilliant Pink Iceberg' cerise pink/white; sweet; 5'; 3"
'Michel Cholet' apricot; light; 2'; 1"
'Glowing Peace' orange blend; light; 5'; 4-1/2"
'Elaine Gillet' white; delicate; 4'; 3-1/2"
'Anne Boleyn' soft pink; light; 3'; 3"
'Carefree Sunshine' yellow; light; 4'; 2-1/2"