Though a little late, there is still time to order bare root roses for next spring. Most nurseries will take orders now and deliver the root stock in spring, at the appropriate planting time. Roses are very popular, especially the old fashioned Damasks, Bourbons, Portlands, Albas, and Chinas. If you are lucky, you might still find some of them available in Spring, but they’ll most likely be sold out. It is a real treat every year (although I feel like a kid in a candy store) to go through rose catalogs and pick some to add to the garden.
This year there are at least two on the list:
Tuscany, one of the oldest surviving Gallicas, with ancestry going back at least to the sixteenth century. It only blooms once a year, but it more than makes up for it by having the most exquisitely beautiful burgundy-black flowers with bright yellow middles. The softness of its petals and their extraordinary color earned it the nickname “Velvet Rose”. Its fragrance fills the air and it has a compact, disease resistant and low spreading growth which makes this rose plant perfect for landscaping.
Blanc Double de Coubert, a hybrid Rugosa that blooms continuously, has very fragrant semi-double white flowers with beautiful yellow eyes, and produces bright orange hips for fall interest.
My cousin just sent me her heirloom rose recommendations for zones 5 and above, and I am listing them below:
Moss – recurrent fragrant roses:
Gloire des Mousseux – pink (occasionally recurrent, needs winter protection for zones 5 to 6b)
Mme Louis Lévêque – lilac
Perpetual White Moss – white
Damascs – recurrent fragrant:
Kazanlik (Trigintipetala) – pink semidouble rose used for atar of roses, occasionally recurrent, extremely fragrant
Comte de Chambord Blanc de Vibert – white with green middle
Léda – unbelievable white soft blooms with a magenta tinge, the words don’t do it justice, please look it up, it will be worth your effort. It is only occasionally recurrent.
Albas – non recurent:
Félicité Parmentier – rose white clusters of fragrant flowers, long blooming period
Great Maidens Blush – large bush, blooms in the shade, highly praised rose, white.
Mme Plantier – climber with lots of blooms
Konigin von Denmark – pink, blooms continuously, but not on the same branches
Hybrid Musks – recurrent
Felicia Felicite Perpetue – continuous bloom