Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
January, 2001
Regional Report

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Cuttings taken 30 years ago from my mother's 'Ballerina' rose plant have returned home and thrive in my yard.

Modern Roses for Fragrance

While old-fashioned roses are touted as more fragrant, more hardy, and easier to take care of than newer hybrid floribundas and teas, some modern varieties have a deliciously fragrant scent.

Seven Scents of Roses

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

Most Fragrant Roses

In general, the most highly scented 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.

Fragrance is also strongest early 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 the following a whiff - they're my favorite rose varieties for fragrance: 'Crimson Glory', 'Dolly Parton', 'Double Delight', 'Fragrant Cloud', 'Garden Party', 'Granada', 'Intrigue', 'Ivory Fashion', 'Lemon Sherbet', 'Mister Lincoln', 'Papa Meilland', 'Sunsprite', 'Sweet Surrender', and 'Tiffany'.

Disease-Free Roses

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

Cutting Roses

If you grow roses, you'll want to cut them and bring them indoors. In a recent test, the roses listed below were cut when in bud and put in vases of 72 degree F water. Every 2 days, the stems were cut back about 1/4 inch, and new water was added. Blooms were judged for color, substance, retention of petals, and overall appearance. While all of the roses lasted at least 4 days, 'Olympiad' and 'Touch of Class' remained in good condition for a full 9 days. Red, pink, and orange roses lasted the longest, as did those having many petals, mainly due to their slower opening time.

The best roses for cutting include 'Mr. Lincoln', 'Olympiad', 'Viva', 'America', 'Bewitched', 'Cherish', 'Color Magic', 'Duet', 'Sonia', 'Touch of Class', 'Voodoo', 'Deep Purple', 'Intrigue', 'Paradise', 'French Lace', 'Honor', 'Iceberg', 'Pascali', 'Gingersnap', 'Marina', 'Prominent', 'Gold Medal', 'New Day', and 'Summer Sunshine'.

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