Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
January, 2006
Regional Report

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'Double Delight' rose is fragrant, colorful, and easy to grow.

Fragrant Roses

As I prune my established roses and consider which new varieties to include, I always think first of fragrance. When I first planted my new rose garden at our Davis home, I chose only by color. Then, when they came into bloom, I was disappointed -- they looked beautiful, but lacked the essential rose fragrance. That's when I determined to not even consider a beautiful bloom until I was assured that it would smell strongly as well. Then, I'd look at the rest of its qualities.

Exploring Scents
The seven basic scents most often found in hybrid tea roses are apple, clover, lemon, nasturtium, orris, rose, and violet. Others are anise, bay, fern, geranium, honey, hyacinth, lily-of-the-valley, linseed oil, marigold, moss, orange, parsley, peppers, quince, raspberry, and wine.

In general, the most highly scented roses are the ones that are darker in color, have more petals to the flower, or have thick, velvety petals. Reds and pinks tend to smell "like a rose;" whites and yellows smell like lemon, orris, nasturtium, and violet; oranges smell like clover, fruit, orris, nasturtium, and violet.

Fragrance is strongest early on warm, sunny days when the soil is moist. Only two varieties seem immune to the vagaries of the weather and are wonderfully fragrant even on cool, cloudy days -- 'Chrysler Imperial' and 'Sutter's Gold'.

Some top choices include 'Chrysler Imperial', 'Crimson Glory', 'Dolly Parton', 'Double Delight', 'Fragrant Cloud', 'Garden Party', 'Granada', 'Intrigue', 'Ivory Fashion', 'Lemon Sherbet', 'Mister Lincoln', 'Papa Meilland', 'Sunsprite', 'Sutter's Gold', 'Sweet Surrender', and 'Tiffany'.

Cut Roses
For cutting, here are some to consider:
Red: 'Mr. Lincoln', 'Olympiad', 'Viva'
Pink: 'America', 'Bewitched', 'Cherish', 'Color Magic', 'Duet', 'Sonia', 'Touch of Class', 'Voodoo'
Purple: 'Deep Purple', 'Intrigue', 'Paradise'
White: 'French Lace', 'Honor', 'Iceberg', 'Pascali'
Orange: 'Gingersnap', 'Marina', 'Prominent'
Yellow: 'Gold Medal', 'New Day', 'Summer Sunshine'

Most roses will last for at least four days when cut when in bud and put in vases of 72-degree water. Recut back about 1/4 inch every two days, and add new water Red, pink, and orange roses with many petals generally last the longest. 'Olympiad' and 'Touch of Class' may last as long as nine days.

Rose Care
When transplanting roses, add humus and potash, but be spare with nitrogen fertilizers, as these hasten new foliage which may be damaged by late frosts. Prune established roses even if they have not lost all their leaves. Remove crowded or crossed branches, and open the center of the plant for good light exposure and airflow. Prune branches at a 45-degree angle just above a bud that faces outward or toward a side that needs filling in. Remove any leaves that have dead or diseased portions, and destroy (don't compost) them. Climbers and old-fashioned roses with a single bloom cycle in the spring should be pruned following that bloom.

Roses that appear to be resistant to powdery mildew include 'Double Delight', 'Honor', 'Iceberg', and 'Cary Grant'. To reduce the chance of mildew, spray the plants -- especially new growth -- with plain water from a hose with a spray head two or three times a week, making sure to cover leaf undersides.

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