Thursday, June 17, 2010

On Reinventing the Rose

I am once again weak at the knees over something I shouldn't be planting...OH, but it's so tempting! And, of course, it will probably prove to be impossible for me  to resist...

There's this rose, see. Rosanna. She's supposed to climb ten or so feet high (and grow about as wide) and bloom all summer with massive clusters of lightly scented salmony pink flowers.

Not only that, according to an article in today's Washington Post by gardening editor Adrian Higgins, Rosanna is one of a new variety of rose: hardy, disease free, ever blooming, and -- most importantly -- not chemical dependent.

"A decade ago, a breeder named Bill Radler introduced a bulletproof rose named Knock Out," says Higgins. This "quickly became the poster child of low-maintenance roses. Since then, the industry has created lines of roses that shrug off blackspot (and mildew) while producing blooms of gorgeous form, size and color."

I would be happy with any of the roses included in the slide show that runs with the story. The colors about make me swoon.

Rosanna, happened to be the only climber (of right color) in the bunch.

Meaning, she  is the only one that I might have some degree of success with...since the abundant shade in my garden (from cultivating far too many absurdly large plants in far too small a space) forces climbers to start scrambling for air and light early in the season, then they rest exhaustedly atop the multilayered vines that encrust the garden walls.

(Yes! If you're desperate, you CAN grow a (pitiful) collection of roses in semi-shade.)

It would be nice if after all that effort they weren't covered with black spot and bug eaten leaves once their single, short blooming session was spent.

But a 10 by 10 foot rose? In a 15 by 25 foot garden? In a 15 by 25 foot garden already packed with similarly scaled plants that at one time screamed buy ME ME ME at me ...

Lord save me.

I cribbed this photo from the website of  Palatine Fruit and Roses in Ontario, Canada. While Rosanna is out of stock, you can read all about her and maybe order one to be shipped for fall planting. 


  1. Climbing roses are often a great addition to a small garden space, as their 'foot print' is small (especially when compared to their impact). No direct sun is tough, though. A place for a climber in a patio pot on a small trellis, perhaps?

  2. hmmmm....forget the back porch, which is under a roof adn too dark for much of anything, but the front porch floor is virgin territory....there is a corner for a pot...good (if dangerous) thinking. Thank you!


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