This red Austin rose is climbing the fence at the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden. It is just one of the more than 3000 roses growing in the newly designed garden with the goal of showing all visitors what roses can be grown in that climate without a lot of fuss.
I got to spend the afternoon with Peter Kukielski, the Curator of the Rose Garden, who arrived in New York from Atlanta three years ago, just when the garden needed reorganization and renovation. He is a charming and knowlegeable gardener with delightful tales about roses, hybridizers, and rose gardeners. His affection for the roses and the people who love them is palpable.
One change was moving all the Heritage Roses to the other side of the garden where there was sun fewer hours of the day. Peter wanted visitors to be embraced by bloom when they entered the garden, whether that was in May or October, and old fashioned roses only bloom once. Now, on both sides of the main entrance are 14 foot deep beds filled with David Austin’s everblooming roses. I wasn’t good at keeping names straight as we toured, but this is a yellow Austin rose, still blooming in November.
There are a few standard roses in the garden like this Rainbow Knockout. Peter said the Knockout roses are great disease resistant roses. In their ancestry is Carefree Beauty, one of the Buck Roses bred for hardiness. I can testify to the hardiness of Carefree Beauty and my Double Red Knockout. Knockout was chosen as a winner in 2000 by the All America Rose Selections (AARS) and now include a range of colors. They are easy to grow and care for.
Peter explained that new New York State regulations now make it illegal to use many of the sprays and insectides that have been required for healthy roses. Many roses have been removed from the garden and have been replaced with disease resistant varieties. They are also constantly being evaluated.
The climber New Dawn is a sport or mutation of the Dr. Van Fleet rose. Peter said that New Dawn can revert back after about 10 years. However, New Dawn mutated at one point resulting in this new pink climber, Awakening, which is more stable. It grows on the lovely gazebo in the center of the Rose Garden.
There were so many roses in bloom, and Peter Kukielski had so many stories that that I couldn’t keep them all dependably straight. but I can’t resist closing with this bouquet on a branch. I will be posting more about the NYBG and the special KIKU exhibit of amazing Japanese chrysanthemums.