My love affair with roses began when I was pursuing my graduate studies in England. During a tour of Arley Hall, I met Lady Ashbrook and we became fast friends, bonding over our love of gardens, design, and painting. Years later, I dedicated the rose garden at Moss Mountain Farm to Lady Ashbrook, who taught me so much about these charming flowers.
Once you start growing roses, I am sure that you will fall in love with them the way I did. Below are some of my favorites. No matter what conditions you grow in or the kind of roses you want, there’s an option that’s right for you.
Late winter and early spring are best for pruning, planting, and transplanting roses. They will not tolerate poor drainage and heavy clay soil, which was the state of my garden when we first excavated the site. We did a lot of work on drainage before adding plants, and we probably could have even done a bit more.
If you have heavy clay soil like I do, you’ll want to amend it with plenty of humus, sand, and manure. I take two parts existing soil, one part homemade compost, and one part well-rotted manure and then mix it all together in the wheelbarrow to use when planting roses. It’s a recipe that never fails.
Which Roses are Right for You?
‘Marie Pavie’ – Fragrant white roses bloom continuously throughout the season and are nearly thornless. Zones 5-9
‘New Dawn’ – This pale pink climbing rose blooms in the spring and sporadically in the summer. Zones 5-9
‘Old Blush’ – This fragrant heavy bloomer requires little attention, and in the fall it produces a nice display of rose hips. Zones 6-9
Roses that Tolerate Light Shade
‘Buff Beauty’ – These fragrant, medium-sized apricot blooms are borne in clusters. Zones 6-9
‘Gruss an Aachen’ – Large pink blooms with hints of yellow appear repeatedly over the summer. Zones 6-9
‘Lamarque’ – This pale cream Noisette rose blooms well into December in my garden. Zones 7-9
Roses for Cold Climates
‘Alchymist’ – It only blooms once, but the size and profusion of the apricot blooms and its carefree nature make it a rose worth growing. Zones 4-9
‘Fantin-Latour’ – Flat, multi-petaled pink blooms appear amid dark green foliage. It’s nearly thornless, making it a favorite cut flower. Zones 4-9
‘The Fairy’ – It produces clusters of petite pink blooms all summer long and is a great rose to plant among your favorite annuals and perennials for a lovely mixed flower border. Zones 4-9
Roses for Small Spaces
‘White Pet’ – Fully double, white roses adorn this diminutive shrub. It’s perfect for containers or other tight spaces where you want to add blooms and fragrance. Zones 5-9
‘Caldwell Pink’ – This rose will reward you with non-stop pink flowers on a compact shrub. It requires little maintenance and will thrive in just about any soul. Zones 6-9
‘Cecile Brunner’ – She’s never let me down! This rose produces a treasure box of miniature hybrid tea-shaped blooms all summer long. I never have to spray it for black spots or insects and it thrives in partial shade. Zones 5-9
Milwaukee’s Calatrava™ – This hybrid rose with pure white double flowers is one of my favorites and will bloom almost continually from spring to winter. Zones 5-9
‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ – This English rose has an intoxicating scent and adds bold pops of color to the garden with its tangerine blooms that fade to yellow outer petals. Zones 5-9
‘Russell’s Cottage’ – This old-fashioned shrub rose blooms once each season, but it will fill the garden with the most enticing aroma. The plant will be full of medium-sized cerise colored flowers in the spring. Zones 5-9