The Q&A Archives: Telling roses apart..

Question: I'm in the process of buying a new house; the owner has a gorgeous perennial garden with the whole back being roses, all different types it seems. My question is, in addition to asking the home owner if she knows the types of roses they are, how can I identify each plant? Any good website where I would be able to search the roses and tell by the shape of the leaf, etc. Please help. It will be my very first garden and between actually having a garden to garden, and taking pride in my new home soon, I'd like to know I'm doing well. Starting with identifying everything I'm dealing with flower and plant wise.
Thank you so much for your time.

Answer: Congratulations on your new garden! I think you're on the right track in your quest to identify the plants in your new landscape. It's easiest to identify plants by their flowers so as each bursts into bloom you can either visit local nurseries to find similar plants or you can take a flower sample and ask the nursery staff to help you identify it. Roses will be your biggest challenge - there are literally hundreds of them! The American Rose Society ( has a website with roses categorized first by flower color and then by growth habit so it's one place to start. There might also be a local garden club that specializes in roses so that might be another resource for you. A final suggestion is to check the wealth of information contained in your local library. You'll find shelves of books on roses, many with color photos to help you identify what is in your garden.

Best wishes with your new landscape!

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