In the Garden:
Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
My 'Ballerina' rose still has blooms on it.
Roses, Wonderful Roses
Now through mid-February is bare-root rose planting time. So it's time to pick your favorites. Don't know where to begin? How about choosing based on scent? 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, pepper, quince, raspberry, and wine. While old-fashioned roses are often more hardy and easier to take care of than newer hybrid floribundas and teas, some modern varieties are deliciously fragrant.
For fragrance, some winning 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'.
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 -- 'Chrysler Imperial' and 'Sutter's Gold' are fragrant even on cool, cloudy days.
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.
Best Cutting Roses
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'
In a test, these roses were cut when in bud and put in vases of 72-degree F water. Every two 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 four days, 'Olympiad' and 'Touch of Class' remained in good condition for a full nine days. Red, pink, and orange roses lasted the longest, as did those having many petals mainly due to their slower opening time.
When transplanting roses, add humus and potash, but be spare with nitrogen fertilizers, as these hasten new foliage that may be damaged by late frosts. You want the root systems to get well established before the foliage bursts into growth.
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. Old-fashioned roses with a single bloom cycle in the spring, as well as climbers, should be pruned following that bloom.
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