The Q&A Archives: Information re first time Rose growing.

Question: As a beginner in rose growing....what would your recommendation be for a first plant? Looking for something that is idiot proof fragrant and hardy to zone 7. Something that is also showy and good for cut flowers would be a bonus. I try to be as organic as it is possible to be in this polluted world.

Answer: Believe it or not, roses can be quite easy to grow. The trick is to purchase the most disease-resistant ones you can find and plant them in a sunny spot with fast-draining soil. Water and feed them regularly, deadhead when flowers are spent, and prune them well each spring and you'll have the prettiest roses on the block. Here are a few suggestions:

Rosa 'Gene Boerner', a Floribunda Rose. Hardy to zone 4, HT 3-4', This super-vigorous bush prolifically produces perfectly formed long-lived flowers of a pure even pink with a delicate fragrance. This bushy upright plant holds its blooms for all to see.

Rosa 'Graham Thomas' a David Austin English Rose. Hardy in zones 5-9, HT 4-6'. Continuous blooming of striking yellow double flowers on a true old fashioned bush. The most popular Austin English Rose loved for its color and fragrance.

Rosa 'Iceberg', a Floribunda Rose; zones 5-10, HT 3-4', SP 3-4'. This is an older rose that has proven itself rugged, vigorous, hardy, and beautiful. Abundant and long lasting fragrant white blooms. Suited for the shrub border or mass plantings as well as the rose garden.

Rosa 'Knock Out', a shrub rose, zones 4-10, HT 3-5', Space plants 3-4' apart. This is an everblooming shrub rose with deep cherry red blooms and foliage tinged with burgundy. Orange-red hips appear in fall. A very disease resistant rose. Mulch crown to ensure winter hardiness.

Rosa 'Lady Elsie May', a shrub rose, HT 3-4', SP 3-4'. a floriferous, disease resistant, and easy to grow rose with continuous semi-double coral pink flowers from spring to fall.

Rosa 'Mister Lincoln', a Hybrid Tea Rose with exceptional color, exciting fragrance, and the ability to flourish in all regions help make Mister Lincoln the finest red Hybrid Tea of all time. A strong, vigorous, upright grower. The rich red is truly outstanding and it holds its color without bluing or fading. A rose of exceptional character.

Rosa morden 'Centennial', a shrub rose; hardy in zones 3-7, HT 3-5', Medium pink blossoms up to 4 across borne in clusters of 15 single and double flowers. Spring blooming but reblooms all summer if spent blooms are removed. Disease resistant.

Hope one of these roses is just right for your garden!

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