My gardening habits have changed since my kids graduated from college and got jobs in other states. I spend much of every year traveling back and forth between our home and theirs, and the garden has had to adapt. 


Well, I've had to make it adapt. I still love to fill my deck with hanging baskets and containers, but I hold back since I know some are bound to suffer when I'm not there to baby them. My yard is still full of color, but it's mostly easy care perennials plus flowering trees and shrubs. I don't plant many annual bedding plants these days, and the roses I grow are all pretty tough.


A climbing Zephirine Drouhin rose has settled in nicely on the side of my house, along with the Henryi clematis that grows through it. I ordered the nearly thornless Zephirine Drouhin because I was intrigued by the part it played in Agatha Christie's Sad Cypress. I was pleasantly surprised to find how hardy it was: it's survived drought, very hot summers, and extremely cold winters with no visible signs of stress.


I'm very tempted to invest in some Knock Out roses, although they're quickly becoming as common as Stella de Oro daylilies. Still, they are popular for a reason: they really do have wonderful flowers that bloom all season. While I don't have any Knock Out roses (yet), I've had a low hedge of Carefree Beauty shrub roses planted in front of a slightly taller hedge of Goldflame spireas under my front window for years. They come back reliably year after year, and the rosy pink flowers blend nicely with the rosy pink flowers of the spirea.


While I don't have many roses now, over the years I've grown them by the hundreds in my homes in London, Chicago, and northern New Jersey. In every area I've found roses that were hardy, although I've grown plenty of more fragile hybrid teas and floribundas, too. I have a special fondness for the old roses—lush, richly colored, fragrant beauties like 'Reine des Violettes' and 'Mme. Isaac Periere'. I love the David Austin roses, too, and I especially like the cold hardy Canadian Parkland and Explorer introductions like 'Morden Centennial'.


I'll admit it, I've got a weakness for roses. I'd love to have a whole section of my garden with nothing but roses, and if I was rich and lived on a fabulous estate, I would do just that. Since that's not going to happen, I'll continue to enjoy the roses that thrive despite periods of neglect. 


If you are as fascinated by roses as I am, you may enjoy a book of fiction that is packed with rose history:






Vanish with the Rose 










That book led me to another volume: 






In Search of Lost Roses 









And here are a few other rosy recommendations:






Right Rose, Right Place 










The Rose 











The Ultimate Rose Book 












100 Old Roses for the American Garden (Smith and Hawken Series) 










What roses are in your garden? What are some of your favorites?




Becke Davis is the senior writer for The Landscape Contractor magazine, a member of Garden Writers of America and the Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association. She has written well over 1,000 published articles and is the author of five garden-related books in addition to being the moderator of B&N's Mystery book club.

by Joan_P on ‎06-01-2010 09:59 PM

More books for my wish list!! Thanks Becke :smileyhappy:

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎06-01-2010 11:20 PM

I have a whole shelf of books about roses - it's an addiction!

by on ‎06-03-2010 07:05 AM

It's daunting. Thanks for sugestions. Keeps me from getting drowned.

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎06-03-2010 10:06 AM

The thing with rose books (and other garden books) is they are so pretty to browse through, even when you are looking for a solution to a problem.

by -Michaela- on ‎06-03-2010 06:01 PM

Beside my laptop, as I type this note, is Rosa de Rescht. She just opened yesterday, the first rose to bloom this year.


I love David Austin roses -my favorite is Bibi Maizoon- and old roses too. When I left my first garden, I thought my heart was going to break, because my beloved Constance Spry, 15' high -trained from a bareroot- was in full, fragrant bloom. Oh how I miss her, to this day.


This is the one in the bud vase next to me. Thanks for this lovely post Becke !


rosa de rescht

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎06-04-2010 12:25 AM


Michaela - that picture is stunning! Here's a mediocre shot of the Zephirine Drouhin rose that climbs with a Henryi clematis on the side of my house.

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