Monday, June 2, 2008

Roses in Bloom

I was once admonished, "You can't have roses and children too." With hybrid tea varieties that's probably true. Many of them have been so overbred that they're more susceptible to the various maladies to which roses can succumb. Unfortunately the "size matters" mentality has made hybrid teas the stars of many gardens, despite problems with blackspot, thrips, rust, powdery mildew and aphids. I find older roses just as beautiful as the newer varieties. They tend to retain a weather hardiness and disease resistance not often found in the more recent hybrids. It's no surprise, therefore, that "old garden roses" have made a comeback in recent years. And thanks to business like the Antique Rose Emporium in Texas, many of those varieties are now available again. (When I grew roses in Tennessee, I often ordered from this company and always had good luck.) Granted, many older varieties are once-bloomers, which no doubt deters those customers who prefer several blooming cycles over the summer season. Layering one's garden with flowers that bloom at different times over several months, however, is a classic way to deal with that issue. The best botanical gardens, for example, often design their flower displays in this fashion.

Here are a few roses I ran across over the weekend. I don't know the varieties, although I suspect the yellow rose is a "Graham Thomas," an early example of the David Austin series of hybrids.

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