Sunday, May 18, 2014

rose winners and losers

'Fresh Pink'

Another trip to the Albuquerque Rose Garden, this time without the wind. There were some clear winners and loser, but a number of roses that were winners in some areas, but lacking of other qualities, putting them in a "needs further evaluation" zone.

One clear winner was the miniature rose 'Fresh Pink' which was blooming its heart out, in a luscious color of girly pink. It had only a slight fragrance, but it was definitely there, and more than you could say for most miniatures. 

'Paul Neyron'
'Paul Neyron' continued to impress, with large flowers over the entire bush, and a luxurious fragrance. The only drawback to my eye, is the stiff upright growth habit, not graceful at all, but would work in a bedding scheme or a cutting garden.

'Bow Bells'

'Bow Bells'

The old Austin rose 'Bow Bells' was a standout to both me and my sister. This one is consistently an entry into the Albuquerque rose show, which tells of its reliability. This one may be on of those roses that do very well in a specific climate, since it is no longer offered by David Austin Roses, being supposedly superceded by better cultivars, and said to be susceptible to mildew and blackspot. There was no evidence of either of these diseases today, possibly due to our dry climate. The fragrance is said to be "mild", but to my noseometer, and my sisters, it was at least "moderate." The globe shaped flowers were charming and prolific. The only negative mark, is that the bushes were a bit sparsely foliated, but that may be an issue of culture.

'Belle Story'
Also an older David Austin hybrid, 'Belle Story' has been consistently beautiful, undamaged by sun and wind, and fragrant, with color edging on the side of peach. The only drawback is the bush shape, which appears identical to any hybrid tea.

'Jeanne d'Arc'
 The Alba rose 'Jeane d'Arc' is still blooming, just as much as when I visited the garden nearly 2 weeks ago. So although this is a once-blooming rose, it has a longer season than, say, peonies or irises. It is still nicely fragrant, disease free. Extra points: this is a graceful vase-shaped shrub 6-8 feet tall, with disease-free foliage. I wonder if I should have planted this, instead of 'Madame Isaac Pereire.'

'Falling in Love'
 I kept going back to look at, and to smell, 'Falling in Love'. My sister and I were both captured by the color, the form, the fragrance and the only slight damage of the flowers from sun/wind. We were both horrified by the intensely thorny canes, however. So although I have placed this in the "Winner" column, it makes it only barely.

'Pink Gruss an Aachen'
 The low bushes of 'Pink Gruss an Aachen' impressed me with the lack of damage, fragrance and good foliage. Too bad this pale pink does not appeal to me.

'William Shakespeare 2000'
 On the homefront, WS2K opened its first flower, and so far it is a winner, despite the wind damage I moaned about previously. Although not the perfect flowers that first drew me to this rose, this one so far is not heat damaged and the rich fragrance is detectable several feet around the single flower.

'Outta the Blue'

'Fragrant Plum'
'Outta the Blue' and 'Fragrant Plum' may look alike in the photos, but 'Outta the Blue' grows like a floribunda with smaller flowers and short bushy stature, whereas 'Fragrant Plum' is a grandiflora with larger flowers and Hybrid Tea-like growth. Both had rich color with no damage from sun/wind, great fragrance, and disease-free green leaves.

'Ebb Tide'
In contrast, I didn't even take a photo today of 'Ebb Tide' or 'Twilight Zone', both dark purple flowers with rich fragrance, since I was most impressed with how popular they are to these bugs. My sister wouldn't even attempt to sniff the open flowers because there were so many of these six-legged creatures coating the flower buds. Nearby roses in the lighter purple shades did not have this vast quantity of insect life. We also were not impressed by the muddy quality of the color, but even if it were gorgeously colored and fragrant, it would go into the 'Loser' column for its attraction to vast quantities of these repulsive bugs (these are bugs, as defined, aren't they?).

'Louise Odier'
Although 'Louise Odier' can have beautiful fragrant flowers, on most occasions I see it like this: sun/wind damaged. The whole bush looked like this. Even the barely opened flowers and buds showed damage.

Although 'Evelyn' did entrance me with the peachy fragrance on my last outing, there were no undamaged flowers or buds on this outing, which places 'Evelyn' in the "Loser" category.

'Belinda's Dream'
 I keep wanting to like 'Belinda's Dream' since I have seen such incredible photos of this rose from HoovB's website, but here, Belinda is always heat-damaged. It does have a bit of fragrance. The plant is disease free, but seems to want to grow as a ground cover at the ABQ rose garden. It goes into the "Loser" pile.

Falling into the indeterminate category, 'Jude the Obscure' got points for color and fragrance, but the flowers were damaged by sun/wind and it's not clear to me if the flowers would open up and be lovely or if they would just stay at this stage since all the flowers on the bush looked like this.

 'Showtime' would make it into my 'Winner' category for the abundant undamaged blooms and perfect leaves, but it has not one iota of fragrance.

'Marie Pavie'

'Marie Pavie'

Although I waxed rapturous about 'Marie Pavie' last year, I am on the fence about her now. Flowers still have the rich wafting fragrance, but the flowers have a muddy look about them, she does hang on to her dead-heads, the bush has an awkward growth pattern (maybe just needs some time to grow, however) and the leaves have a chlorotic look about them. Maybe it's a matter of culture, but I have given her ironite without improvement.

Things have been on the 'Loser' side for rose shipments for me this year. I ordered a number of 'Bolero' roses from Regan nurseries, and I received my six bare-root plants that were leafed out in the box, leaves without any chlorophyll (how long were they stored, anyway?). The leaves turned crispy as soon as I removed the plants from the plastic bag, but I still planted them out. Most are making some growth (as in 2-3 leaves), but here we are with disappointment.

I also usually get great plants from Joy Creek nursery but the first 'Madame Isaac Pereire' they sent me, promptly shriveled and turned brown within 3 days of arrival. They sent me a second, in a gallon pot (good customer service, they have), but it is still looking frail. Don't get me wrong, I would/will order from this company again, but poor MIP seems to be struggling.

I ordered a couple of 'Snowbird' from Rogue Valley Roses, but May rolled around and they still had not arrived. I called, and they told me they were shipped a month ago and would check. Six phone calls later, I talked to someone new, and they gave me a refund. I'm chalking it up to a weird year.

I received great roses from Roses Unlimited last year, but the 'Bolero' I ordered was delayed due to slow growth. They told me they would ship May 5, and when I called, they told me May 19. I hope they arrive up to their usual (i.e. last year's) standards. It's not a surprise that their growing season is delayed, given the freakish cold in that part of the country this winter.

 Don't get me wrong, I am not putting any of these companies in the "Loser" category yet. I'm putting this year into the "Loser" category for shipped orders.

Addendum 5/23/2014: Order arrived from Roses Unlimited. Plants look great. I'm happy.

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