Budding Rosarian

In one day, I’ve increased my rose collection by 150 percent!

Yes, I’ve gone from two roses to five roses. Does that make me a rosarian? How many roses do you need to grow to be considered a rosarian? And do some of those roses have to have French sounding names?

What possessed me, after all these years of gardening, all these years of avoiding roses, to suddenly have so many roses? Five of them! But perhaps the more appropriate question was why did I avoid roses for all these years?

I had two reasons, maybe three. The first two reasons… diseases and bugs, led to the third reason… chemicals. I just didn’t want to have sickly rose shrubs de-leafed by black spot, rose buds covered with aphids and roses full of Japanese beetles. And I didn’t want to have to resort to chemicals to keep the roses looking nice.

So I just said “No thank you!” for the most part to roses.

But lately I’ve been conferring with rosarians like Dee from Red Dirt Ramblings and many readers who’ve left helpful comments when I previously posted about roses, and this spring decided to get some of the newer, disease resistant roses.

So now my rose collection includes:

A white flowering Flower Carpet® rose. It’s never given me a bit of trouble, but half the year it is hidden under some rampant growing Snow-in-Summer, Cerastium tomentosum, or hidden behind a self-sown clump of Black-eyed Susans, Rudbeckia sp. I ought to fix that.

A passalong rose rooted from one my Aunt has. This un-named pink rose suffered for nearly two years in a small container before I finally planted out in a corner somewhere. Since it is un-named, perhaps I should give a French name? It is one of those "bloom once and done" roses. It hasn't bloomed yet, but might by Friday for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

Three Knockout® roses. These are my new roses! I pulled out three hacked-back Potentilla shrubs last night to make room for these three roses, the yellow blooming Knockout® ‘Radsunny’. Their bonus feature, besides the disease resistance, is that the blooms start out yellow and then fade to pink. Their one drawback? No scent.

Is this the beginning of a new rose era at May Dreams Gardens? Perhaps some scented roses are in my future? Maybe some roses with French names?

In fact, what I would like to have is a good disease resistant shrub rose with a wonderful scent that blooms from June through fall, is hardy in USDA hardines zone 5b and stays to a manageable size, say three to four feet tall, and has a French name. Any color but red. Any ideas?


  1. Try Carefree Wonder, Carefree Delight or The Fairy. The only thing they lack is strong fragrances.

    Years ago I went to a Rose seminar in New York given by a woman who dealt only in old roses. (The ones above are not old...oh well.) The main part of the talk was that so many of the old ones are disease resistant. I thought, yep, that's for me.

    My first one was a Gallica rose. It bloomed once but for a month and what a sight! Pink roses galore all over my fence.

    I'm with you...can't handle the disease, fungus, bugs and insecticides. The roses mentioned at the beginning here are very carefree....a few aphids which you can hose off with the garden hose.

    I love roses. Enjoy your enlarged rose garden!


  2. I'll be following your roses' progress carefully. I feel the same way: love roses, but I'm not going to poison my yard caring for them. I do love those English roses with 80 million petals though ....

  3. I am just now beginning to get two of my struggling roses to finally look healthy thanks to a gallon of water and a teaspoon of epsom salt.
    Hope you do well with your roses and if you come by any helpful tips please pass them along.

  4. Just bought a 'Belinda's Dream' from Antique Rose Emporium. It's supposed to be disease resistant, it repeats, and has fragrance. I'm keeping my fingrs crossed that its all true!


  5. I think being a rosarian is more a state of mind than of numbers.
    For a Rose that has it all (and is not red flowered), I recommend 'Carefree Beauty.' It has pink flowers, with a light scent, survived last winter's -18F without protection, and is disease resistant. One of the Carefrees (I think it's 'Wonder') does not have a scent.
    It is my only Rose, and, as such, had to have a scent. It seems to me that a Rose without fragrance is like chocolate without flavor - what's the point? (But that's just my own personal bias. Your new yellow Rose is lovely.)

  6. When I left my city house last year, I left behind many beautiful old roses. They were already old roses when I bought the house 37 years ago. I didn't take any clipings because we have deer where we are now. I never fed them, nor treated them with chemicals, only pruned them. They did just fine.

  7. Huh. I just got RadSunny and it has a nice, light scent. Maybe yours will be fragrant too once it grows a little?

  8. I have avoided roses for the same reasons you mentioned. I have several Knock out roses now and while I do enjoy having them, right now I'm still battling aphids. I even resorted to spraying and they are still there. Frustrating.

    I saw the yellow Knock out a few days ago and considered buying it, but the double pink Knock Out won my heart, pink wins out every time.

  9. I'm generally not a rose fan and the feeling seems to be mutual. Virtually every garden around here has a giant old climbing rose that will get at least one thorn into me before the job is done. Pretty much the only rose I plant is rosa "Iceberg." I think the fragrance is a bit weak but otherwise it would meet your requirements; there is a French name for it, though I don't know anyone who uses it. I think this suggestion might be like asking what kind of ice cream to try and being told "vanilla."

  10. I'm with Robin: pink wins out every time. Your roses sound lovely. Buying a rose bush is like playing Russian Roulette. It's a gamble you hope will pay off but there are so many odds against you. The newer David Austen English roses are worth a try. I think his newer ones are bred for greater disease resistance and fragrance. But there will still be aphids and cold winters...

    Please keep us posted.

  11. I inherited one rose with our house, and I was so anti-rose (just seemed cliche, I guess) that I almost just threw it out. So glad I didn't! It has big gorgeous peony-like flowers. I spray it with an anti-fungus every now and then and prunt it way back in the fall and it's a pretty carefree plant. So roses DO have their place! :)

  12. I planted roses in my garden years before I knew anything about gardening in Texas and lucked out. They just grew and grew without a problem. Turns out I picked well...they are now on the "Earth Kind" rose list of pest and disease resistant roses. I think if you just follow the simple rule of full sun and air flow, proper feeding and pruning you will fall so deeply in love with roses...you may never return!
    I put in 5 rose beds this past Valentines Day with roses from friends gardens and they cheer me each morning! Go Rosarian!

  13. I feel the same about many roses disease, bugs and sprays no thanks BUT I agree with the idea that the old roses are wotrth trying. My personal favorite is a not modern rose with lots of ruguosa in it including the tough foliage. It is a beautiful deep pink with lots of petals so that she looks like one of those old French sounding roses and a magnificent scent. It blooms once very strongly and then occassionally later with a seconday flush as the weather starts to cool. This lovely lady even has a French name and is called Therese Bugnet

  14. For a new fan of roses in zone 5b, I rush to recommend the Northern Accents roses (bred by UMinnesota. Only 3 varieties so far - Ole a blush pink, Sven a dark pink/mauve, and Lena a pink with yellow eye. The flowers are small but prolific, repeat bloomer, fragrant, and all survive my North Dakota winters. My neighborhood was infested with aphids and these roses were barely touched. Also, the Morden series of roses are lovely for zone 5 and up. Many color choices and almost indestructible although not all are very fragrant.

  15. I resisted roses for years, for just the reasons you mentioned. Then in 1983 I planted my first old fashioned roses. I've got species, gallicas, albas, many rugosas that can get big, Canadian Explorer and now 4 double red Knock-outs. I also have Carefree Beauty which several commenters have mentioned. It hasn't bloomed for me yet, but it survived our Massachusetts hill winter in good health. The Fairy is always a good bet. I might add another one.
    In June I'm going to put up a gallery of my 70+ roses - a kind of virtual Rose Viewing - my annual Garden Open today.

  16. Welcome to the rose lovers club Carol! Have you thought of buying a few climbers? If not, give it some thought as they are really great to have. The best selling climber in my country is Guirlande d'Amour, a white rose with a wonderful scent and it flowers for months and months, and in a big way. It's very hardy and pest and diseases resistant. I've had mine for 3 years now and apart from pruning and feeding them twice a year I do nothing at all. Except enjoy them of course. ;-)

  17. Hi Carol, I agree about the Carefree group. They are blooming machines! I have Carefree Sunshine, a yellow that is delightful. Rainbow Knockout is quite stunning too.

  18. I have had pretty good luck with Heritage (you could say it in a fancy French accent) but I don't know if it fits all your requirements. I wouldn't bother with roses at all unless they had scent, it's what makes it all worthwhile!

  19. Thanks for the link love. I think it's high time you had some roses. Nice to see you four new ones. You did get four didn't you? Anyway, I love 'Radsunny.' Pam bought it this year too, and I've had it two seasons. I call mine Carefree Sunshine because that's the name they sold it under. Carefree Beauty should be next on your list. It is a Griffith Buck rose you'd like.~~Dee

  20. Oh Carol, you MUST try some English roses, they are so pretty and very strong and healthy. And their scents are out of this world! And they keep on blooming all summer.I highly recommend them.
    I also love the Albas, if you ever decide to get yourself another rose or two. Albas only bloom in early summer, but they are so beautiful, and scented.
    But they don't have French names..
    I have over a dozen roses, but I don't consider myself a rosarian.. yet.


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