Time to Order New Roses – Looking for Hardiness and Fragrance

  • Post published:02/11/2013
  • Post comments:8 Comments
Scabrosa rugosa

It is time to order new roses, even if I have to look at a wintry landscape for some weeks yet. I looked through the catalogs and agonized but I finally made my decision. I am ordering two roses from the Antique Rose Emporium (ARE) because they send large container grown roses. This makes the shipping costs more expensive but the healthy bushes are such a nice size that the extra cost is worth it to me.

Basyes Purple Rose – ARE

Basyes Purple, a rugosa cross, is my fail-safe choice this spring. It is rated as hardy to zone 4.  This promises to have a really rich unusual color.  I have several hardy rugosas, often bought because of the description and reputation of the color. Scabrosa is a big hardy shrub with single pink flowers.  It has been billed as ‘the best of the rugosas’ with “purplish-crimson’ flowers but I don’t think they are substantially different from the common rugosa beach rose. I will say the flowers are large with beautiful golden stamens and big orange hips in the fall. It is also true that the bush is vigorously spreading.



Abraham Darby – ARE


The gamble I am taking this spring is David Austin’s Abraham Darby. David Austin’s goal was to create modern fragrant everblooming roses that looked like the romantic roses of yesteryear.  His roses are beautiful, and fragrant and so far have been too tender to survive for more than a couple of years here at the End of the Road. However, I am going to try to grow Abraham Darby once again because it is such a beautiful big fragrant rose whose petals shade from apricot to yellow to pink. Just luscious. It is billed as a tall shrub or short climber. It never got too big for me, but when I gave one to my daughter who lives is what is theoretically zone 5 it grew into such a vigorous climber that her husband decdided it was too ‘messy’ and took it out.  Our climate has definitely changed over the 32 winters we have lived here and are now listed as zone 5, but I have to remind myself that it is more than average temperatures that make up one’s zone. The Antique Rose Emporium does list it as a hardy rose so we will try again. The photograph here does not truly suggest the delicious buttery-ness of the large blossoms.

I’m not guaranteeing I won’t buy another rose or two this spring, but this is today’s order.

Don’t Forget – Still time to enter the BOOK GIVEAWAY of The Speedy Vegetable Garden. Click here and leave a comment. Drawing will be Thursday morning, Valentine’s Day!

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Christy

    I have one Rugosa “Hansa” and I love it’s fragrance! I don’t have any David Austin roses, but they are so beautiful, I think I MUST have one!

  2. Mary Withrow

    I love the David Austin Roses!I really, really want to get some Miniature Roses!I can’t post picks but their is a purple hybrid tea you might like as well. It’s on my pinterest if you want to look! http://pinterest.com/pin/532902568377409400/

  3. Susi Potter

    This was really helpful info. I’ve had dreadful luck with roses -black spot and a bad back don’t mix well – and I’ve always slivered over the David Austin roses. Good to know your experience.

  4. Jason

    Have you considered Darlow’s Enigma, a big rambler with fragrant, small white flowers (semi-double). It’s quite hardy. I have one (we are also in zone 5)and really love it.

  5. Nadia

    I can’t imagine pulling out this rose after its shown how happy it is! Do you grow any old garden roses? They might do well for you. From the DA roses, my favorite is William Shakespeare.

  6. Pat

    Christy – I don’t have Hansa, but it is beautiful, and so are the David Austin’s, if you have a climate slightly milder than Heath’s.
    Mary – Thanks for the link but hybrid teas are definitely a no-go in Heath.
    Susi – You must come to the Annual Rose Viewing and see all the disease resistant roses there are. Check out the Kordes list. They have been hybridizing disease resistant roses for over 20 years. No chemicals allowed in Germany.
    Jason – I planted Darlow’s Enigma once but it died. I have a friend who has a riotous Enigma growing over her doorway.
    Nadia – It broke my heart to think of that rose being ripped out. He has a different aesthetic. I grow a number of old roses. Graham Thomas is the rose that lasted longest, except for Mary Rose which blooms by our henhouse and is considered the hardiest DA.

  7. Patsy

    I am new to north-central MA and enjoy each and every one of your writings. My home was built in 1951 and there is no – zero plantings – not even a daffodil. I will be reading your blog with added interest to see what is hardy in this area. Thanks for your future help.

  8. Pat

    Patsy – Thank you for the kind words. And good luck with your blank slate which can be overwhelming, but you will have fun this spring making a beginning.

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