Sunday, September 9, 2007

Roses I have known (A to F)

Here are some roses that I have tried to grow here with varying degrees of success.
Alberic Barbier

This is the classic rose that I remember from childhood. It grows very tall but is also happy to spread and trail over a wall. The first one I planted is in the dappled shade of an olive tree and does well. It repeats a little in autumn but the glossy dark leaves are attractive in themselves. I then put two others further along the same wall but in full sun - not happy and they will have to come out this winter.


A very vigorous rose that copes well in the vineyard. A short climber or a tall shrub depending on how you look at it. The only drawback is that it seems rather susceptible to beetle infestations. How can I cure this?
Banksiae Lutea

A very tall rambler that flowers first in spring. It is thornless so suitable for on a terrace or where people brush past. It has no scent to speak of and only flowers once but it is reliable here. It is sensitive to cold so best in a sunny spot. Having said that, mine had to be moved when builders turned up and it is now in a north-facing corner but does OK. I have let it sprawl rather than climb because I don't like it when the lower part of the plant is bare and this way it breaks into side branches all the way up.

Banksiae Normalis

I planted a group of 3 of this rose at the end of the garden and whilst they did well at first I now feel the need to dig them out and put something else there. This is a short rambler than forms a large shrub when grown free-standing. They are fine when in flower - once only - but seem to suffer badly from vine-type diseases and get twiggy and sad looking.

Buff Beauty

This shrub rose did not do well at first but that was my own fault - now I have fed it better and mulched it the plant is a lot happier. It is tall shrub with complex flowers in yellow which starts deep ochre but later softens to cream. I chose it because the colours mix well with some old pink roses already in the garden.

Cecile Brunner

A chinese rose which produces quite a lot of small pale pink flowers - it is said to be a 'button hole' rose. The chinese roses tend to do well here and I had great hopes for this one: I had seen the climing version covering a huge pergola at a garden near Cetona. The ones I have are putting on some more growth at the moment and are getting quite tall, with typical twigging 'chinese' stems. But the number of flowers is disappointing and the individual blooms flatten out rather more quickly than I hope hoped.

I bought this David Austin rose for the vineyard largely on account of its name. It has been a real disappointment and I was going to dig it up this year and it (of course) has burst into a magnificence display of deep crimson (wine coloured?) old fashioned shape roses. The Austin website says it needs a chill in winter to get it to flower - so maybe this has been a contributing factor - and that it only blooms once. But the foliage is not good in the specimen I have (bought locally) and I suspect that I would have done better to order it from the breeder.

Chinensis Mutabilis

This is a 'must have' rose if you garden in this climate. It is a tall shrub but the branches are slender and the flowers have few petals which gives the plant a light and airy look. The colours of the petals change with time - pink, yellow and orange. It is much nicer in reality than the photo or description. I don't prune this rose but merely remove dead wood in spring. Another of the China rose family, Cecile Brunner (small shell pink flowers) also does quite here.

Clair de Matin

A short climber which manages to survive in the vineyard. It seems rather susceptible to blackspot but otherwise vigorous. The flowers are a little too delicate for a vineyard rose but otherwise to be recommended.

Coopers Burmese

The house at Venzano garden is almost covered by a stunning Coopers Burmese. It only flowers once but it is quite a sight when it does. It is supposed to like a warm location. My plant has been very slow to get going and is only about 1m tall after three years - a way to go before it covers the house.

This is another rose that takes me back to childhood: the little pom-pom flowers in gaudy pink used to be in almost every garden in my neighborhood. It is very vigorous, sending up lots of new springy stems every summer. It is a rambler which needs last years' wood cutting out in spring. It flowers once but for a long time during mid summer. I have put in on a pergola where it is going mad and perhaps I ought to have tried a bit harder to find the more modern variety 'Super Excelsa' which is more restrained.

Felicite e Perpetue

A fantastic rose, especially on a north facing or shaded wall. It is a tall rambler which flowers later than most (thereby extending the flowering season) and is a 'waterfall' of small pom-pom flowers. Sadly it only flowers once. It seems to be a favourite food for caterpillars, so keep a eye out for them and make sure they don't destroy such a nice plant.


I am trying this rose for the first time this year and so far the results are encouraging. It is a cousin of New Dawn - same shell pink and growth habits but a more classic 'old fashioned' flower shape.

To be continued .....

1 comment:

joco said...

You probably know that the French grower Jacques, named Félicité - Perpétue for his twin daughters in 1828?
I have just planted the seedparent (Rosa sempervirens) hoping it is as strong as the rugosas. Now if I could find out which Noisette was the pollen parent, I might come up with something similar...
Fat chance :-(

Don't you just love the history of individual roses?