Three days of 90 degrees and today's 30 mph winds have tested the roses.
'William Shakespeare 2000' was well on its way to being a close contender for the near perfect rose for me: great color, vigor, blooming well, great form, and terrific fragrance. I had cut a flower for the office, and indoors, the fragrance was almost too strong (!). Then today's wind hit and shows the plant's other great weakness (other than weak stems and need for lots of water), intolerance to heat and wind. Interestingly, it was the center petals that showed the most dehydration.
Even the newly opened flowers had crispy edges.
'Eden', my other contender, but failing miserably in the fragrance department, fared a little better, but even before the wind had some browning of the outer petals. Now there is more browning.
I guess it's not really fair to compare 'Marie Pavie' since the first flush was already fading. It was at the top of my list last year, when she showed the ability to grow and bloom well in the August heat. A distinct musk fragrance which wafted gave her an edge, although the grayish pink color made her less than perfect to me. We'll see how she does through the rest of summer.
'Mrs. B R Cant' doesn't even get started until the weather heats up, so with this heat, she is just beginning. She is on the verge of getting removed since the flowers are not fragrant, and she didn't seem to tolerate the winter very well. But if she puts on a good show in the heat when all the other roses are languishing, I will reconsider.
Annemarie's heritage rose is finishing its first flush, and the flowers are hardly fazed from the heat and wind. It's not the prettiest rose, but it sure is tough, and flowers smell like sweet peas.
What shouldn't have been, but was a surprise to me, was that the clear winner of today's survey was 'Iceberg,' which hardly seemed fazed (Annemarie's rose is second but only because I'm not fond of the flower form, not because of any intolerance to dry hot wind). In the late afternoon, 'Iceberg' had a fragrance as strong as I would desire, although not as strong as WS2000. It is not really comparable though, since the fragrance of 'Iceberg' is like warm honey over vanilla ice cream, whereas the fragrance of WS2000 has a sharpness to it.
This is one of my plants, still a baby, but blooming away with it's first flush.
I just planted 'Bolero' so I can't compare, but everything I've read suggests that it might be the winner in terms of weather tolerance, flower form and fragrance. The ones that I planted over a month ago that have survived their torture trip of shipping seem to be tolerating the wind okay. Time will tell.