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Gardening Articles: Flowers :: Roses

Fragrant Roses: Two Gardeners Weigh In (page 2 of 2)

by Charlie Nardozzi and Yvonne Savio

Yvonne's Fragrant Modern Roses

Yvonne's Fragrant Modern Roses
'Fragrant Apricot': a hybrid floribunda with rich fragrance.

While old-fashioned roses are touted as more sweetly scented, hardier, and easier to maintain than new hybrid floribundas and teas, some modern varieties are deliciously scented.

In general, the most fragrant roses are those that are darker in color, have more petals to the flower, or have thick, velvety petals. Red and pink flowers tend to smell "like a rose"; white and yellow flowers like lemon, orris, nasturtium, and violet; and orange flowers like clover, fruit, orris, nasturtium, and violet.

Roses are most redolent on warm, sunny days when the soil is moist. Only two varieties seem immune to the vagaries of the weather: 'Chrysler Imperial' and 'Sutter's Gold' are fragrant even on cool, cloudy days. In addition to those two, give my favorites a sniff: 'Crimson Glory', 'Dolly Parton', 'Double Delight', 'Fragrant Cloud', 'Fragrant Apricot', 'Garden Party', 'Granada', 'Intrigue', 'Ivory Fashion', 'Lemon Sherbet', 'Mister Lincoln', 'Papa Meilland', 'Sunsprite', 'Sweet Surrender', and 'Tiffany'.

Bringing Fragrance Indoors

I harvest some of my roses for bouquets to perfume my home. For bouquets that retain their petals, good color, and fresh appearance for 4 days or more, I follow these instructions: Cut long stems while flowers are in the bud stage, and place in vases of 72° F water. Every 2 days, cut stems back about 1/4 inch, and provide fresh water. Red, pink, and orange roses tend to last longer, as will those with many petals.

Sometimes my most robust and stunning blossoms are the "last roses of summer". They show their best after the onslaught of heat and pests has passed. If you cut late roses for bouquets, remember that each new cut stimulates tender, new growth susceptible to frost damage. Cease to cut roses about a month prior to hard frost to allow the plants time to develop hardiness.

Photos by Charlie Nardozzi and Suzanne DeJohn/National Gardening Association

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