Roses – Queens of the Garden

By   February 17, 2016

Roses are the queen of the garden. There may be other flowers that are more familiar or individual species that are prettier, but nothing beats the look and experience of a well-built rose garden.

It’s not by chance that “I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden” was a top hit, and I have never heard of a song about a peony patch.

Pink wild rose in bloom

Blooms on a wild rose.

There are many different types of roses. They started out as wild plants like all other garden plants. They can be found growing wild in fields and meadows. Wild roses have simple flowers, almost always five petals and short blooms. Most also have big hips: no, they’re not fat. The hip is the seed pod and a type of fruit. Rose hips are often cultivated for their herbal medicinal values. Some garden catalogs feature wild roses, notably Rosa Rugosa, as hedges or large landscape plants.

Over the years, selective crossbreeding tamed some of the wild rose characteristics and led to what we now call Old Roses or Heritage Roses. These were identified in the mid-1800s as the first Rose Societies were formed. Old roses have bigger and longer lasting flowers than wild roses, but still bloom only once a year and usually in the early summer. Being close to their ancestors, they’re very hardy and require little care.

Blooms on a Red Cream hybrid tea rose.

Blooms on a Red Cream hybrid tea rose.

As plant breeders did their magic, Old Roses led to the Modern Roses. Cross breeding combined the best of different types into new plants, incorporating longer bloom time, more compact habit, more color choices, and pleasant fragrance. Modern rose development went in two different directions. One led to the floribunda varieties. Floribunda roses bloom all season in clusters of smaller, brightly colored and fragrant flowers. The other branch, Grandiflora features larger flowers on long stems.

From these bases, breeders have brought us today’s most popular rose varieties, the Hybrid Tea Rose. Hybrid teas are what you see at the florist and most of what is seen in today’s rose gardens. There are hundreds of styles with more being introduced every year. Here at Easy Lawns and Gardens, we lean more towards the casual side of rose growing, but there are many hobbyists that compete with commercial breeders for awards and honors given to the next great rose.

Forms of Roses

Red climbing roses

Red climbing rose

Each of the rose types can include different forms. Shrub size roses are, as the name implies, shrub size. They grow 4 to 6 feet high without support, sometimes taller if you let them go, and are great for landscaping. Climbing roses are the next step up in size. They don’t actually climb but have long stalks that can be anchored on a trellis or fence.

Miniature roses are opposite of the climbers. They grow a few feet tall at most and do well in pots and planters. And the fourth form is the Tree Rose. Tree Roses are created by grafting the cane of a strong shooted type of rose onto the roots of a strongly rooted one. The result is, as the name implies, a Rose that resembles a small tree.