: Hot Weather Roses

Subject: hot weather roses
Dear Alice, I live in Bakersfield, CA. I've been hearing about a couple of types of roses and I want to know more about them. The first one is Owen's Red Robin Hood (Mediterranean Hybrid Musk) Rose. They say "everblooming," but I was under the impression that all roses were deciduous. What are your impressions about this rose?

I don't have firsthand knowledge about Robin Hood. Most of the Hybrid Musks are very remontant, blooming throughout the entire garden season. Everblooming is something of a euphemism. But the HMs *do* bloom for many months quite well.

The second is the Pink Cushion Rose or Fairy which I guess can be used as a type of hedge? I assume this will also die out in the winter even though we have very mild winters. What do you think of this plant? I think I am looking for something that will be evergreen and be able to stand 110 degree summers.

Hmmmm. The summers are the hard part. Most roses go into a summer dormancy when they are faced with this kind of heat. In order to have them continue to bloom during the hot spells, you woud have to have them partially shaded, preferably getting morning light. The Fairy is a tough little rose. I like it a lot. It might actually keep its foliage during the winter in Bakersfield. It is basically a China rose and those retain their foliage pretty well. It blooms and blooms -- on into December around here. But all roses have to shed their old leaves at some point to make way for the new ones. The "evergreen" varieties just hang onto them until spring and then drop the old ones as the new ones emerge. It makes them look better if you strip off some of the worst-looking old ones. But if you really need a hedge that will stay green and fresh-looking at all times, roses may not be your plant! Good luck. Alice

Subject: Re: Roses for SW Virginia
I am interested in growing antique roses. However, the high humidity of our area encourages almost every rose problem of which I know . (I am used to gardening in Dallas, TX--much hotter and drier.) Do you have a reccomendation of a variety/varieties which would fare best in this area? Suggestions for combatting this humidity problem? I am particularly interested in large yellow blossoms and good fragrance.

I live on the coast next to the Pacific Ocean, so I have some experience with growing roses in humidity. However, it isn't hot and humid -- just moist. You might have good luck with the Noisettes. As a class, they are quite easy to grow and have some good yellow colors among them. The true antique roses are almost never yellow. True, bright yellow wasn't introduced into rose breeding until late in the 19th century and none of the Old European roses have this coloration. However the Noisettes and the Hybrid Musks have some nice, soft yellows. The Hybrid Musks would probably do all right in your conditions as well and they rebloom well and are fragrant, as a group. One of my favorites is Francesca, which is a good apricot-yellow that blooms all summer. Quite an elegant bloom. Lady Hillingdon is an old Tea rose that blooms and blooms and is a lovely shade of yellow. This one is very adaptable and gets no disease in my climate. A couple of good yellow Noisettes are Claire Jacquier, Chromatella, and Alister Stella Gray. However, I think you'll find that the yellow roses that are the oldest are generally prone to rose diseases due to the china and tea roses in their ancestry. You might be better getting more modern varieties that have been bred for disease resistance to cope with your climate. Try to find a local rosarian who knows your conditions for advice. Check out the American Rose Society web page (www.ars.org) and go to the section labelled Consulting Rosarians to find someone near you who can give you advice best suited to your area. And good luck. Alice

Hi A. Flores ! I'm wondering if there's any info out there specifically addressing the use and growth of old Roses in So. Cal. I'm about to order some old roses from Antique Rose Emporium in Texas and I'm curious to know what kind of luck others have had in this region. Are there any special area requirements or tips, like which types do best in the Orange County coastal region?

Hi Sharon. I just recently read a thread on rec.gardens.roses regarding old roses in S. Cal. Some folks find that the hardy OGRs (i.e. gallicas and damasks) don't bloom well for them, or just bloom for a season or two and then fall off in production. I'm not sure why this should be. We don't have this problem in N. Cal., either on the coast or inland. Unfortunately I don't know much about the specific growing conditions in S. Cal. Perhaps it is the lack of a cold period to create a good dormancy that is the problem. You might have to find someone growing these varieties in your area to get good info. I know that the Huntington Gardens in San Marino has a great collection and they seem to bloom fine. Microclimates are a tricky business. A person might have great luck with OGRs in San Marino but find problems in Long Beach. Wish I understood more about the "whys" of this fact. What I would suggest, if you can't find good info for your specific area, is to try the old Teas and Chinas which would definitely do well for you. There are lots of them and they are gorgeous. However, many lack the fragrance of the damasks and gallicas. Try a damask like Ispahan, which is a blooming fool everywhere I've seen it. Experiment a little and shovel prune those that don't work out. The Hybrid Perpetuals may be a good compromise for you -- some of the characteristics of the China/Tea lineage with the form and color of the OGRs and a lot of their fragrance. General Jacqueminot is wonderful -- Gloire Lyonnaise, Grandmother's Hat, Hugh Dickson, American Beauty, Mme. Gabriel Luizet -- there are a lot of fine ones. Hope this helps a little. Good luck in your quest. Stay in touch. Alice

The following is an exchange that is lifted from the newsgroup rec.gardens.roses. It is offered here because the two correspondents list rose varieties that are supposed to be quite heat tolerant. Karl King lives in the SF Bay Area and has gardened in Florida and Liz Druitt is a well-known author of several rose books who lives in Texas, where she has plenty of first-hand experience with extreme heat conditions. Hopefully their discussion will provide some help to people choosing roses for hot climates.

Subject: Re: REALLY heat resistant roses?
Karl King ...wrote in article:
Some that I've read of that are said to do well in Texas heat:
Radiance and Red Radiance
Reine Victoria
Marechal Niel (pronounced Marshall Kneel, in Texan)
Frau Karl Druschki
Sombreuil is not one for the hot places (mine grew in Florida but bloomed little, scorched a lot).Teas are usually more heat resistant than Chinas.

Liz Druitt responds:
Good advice, but as a Texan, I can't help leaping in to amend that final statement based on years of rose rustling experience. Chinas and Teas are both major survivors in cemeteries down here. If, by heat resistant you mean "will survive no matter how miserable the soil and temperature and how little water it gets," Chinas may even have an edge on Teas. If you mean "will look gorgeous in the middle of summer even if all sensible rose are experiencing summer dormancy," that's a whole different question. When temperatures reach a certain constant level (90's daytime and upper 70's nighttime), a well-adapted rosebush will shed some foliage and reduce the size of the blossoms to conserve energy and moisture. Since we have TWO major bloom seasons in the South, spring and fall, and it's nuts to go outside in the summer anyway, it's hard to object to this behavior. Okay, enough theory. Great roses for hot weather include: 'Mrs. Dudley Cross'(T), Duchesse de Brabant'(T), 'Cramoisi Superieur'(Ch), 'Mutabilis'(Ch), 'Mrs. Oakley Fisher'(HT), 'Red Fountain'(LCL), 'Lamarque'(N), 'Buff Beauty'(HMsk), 'Nur Mahal'(HMsk), 'Eutin'(F), 'Marie Pavie'(Pol), 'Sweet Chariot'(Min), 'White Pet'(Pol), 'Prairie Harvest'(S). In other words, just about every class will have something that can meet your needs, large, small, climbing, cluster-flowered or chunky of blossom. I've grown all the above for years, and they're all blooming now (along with a mess of others) in my yard - with small, but fragrant and colorful blossoms - even though we've had temps near 100 and no rain for several weeks here South of Dallas. Best advice? Experiment, try to provide afternoon shade, and don't forget to water.