If you were going to pick just one rose...

marie_louise(CA)December 16, 2009

What would you choose?

Why am I asking? I'm re-terracing my yard and I've taken out a lot of things. The roses were a lot of work (it is a lot of steps down to the garden debris cart) so I took them all out, but now I'm sitting here in the rain, thinking, well, maybe just one.

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gardenguru1950(SunsetZ16)

Certainly it would have a lot to do with where you live? (I'll bet you knew this question was coming.)

If you're on the coast, you'll need a rose without too many petals so it doesn't "ball" in the cool, damp climate.

If you're inland, you'll need a rose that will stand up to the heat, especially one that has a color that doesn't fade.

And then there's what you really want out of a rose. Fragrance? Cutting ability? Easy care? Landscape value? Wouldn't it be nice if you could have EVERYTHING in one rose?

What about color? What's your favorite?

So, with that all said, let me offer some personal choices:

For a traditional rose, I really like 'Fragrant Cloud'. Long stems for cutting, great fragrance and it's been fairly disease-free for me where I've lived. it takes it cool and it takes it hot.

For easy landscape roses with LOTS of color, I like the new 'Home Run'.

If you have really sandy soil, go with one of the many rugosa hybrids.

For an easy climber/rambler, you can't beat Rosa banksiae, Rosa 'Purezza' and Rosa 'Cecile Brunner'.

A very special rose that will grow almost anywhere is Rosa laevigata.

If you're into native plants, we have our own Rosa californica and a nice selection of it, 'Elsie'.

Was that "one"?

Joe

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 12:35PM
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wanda(Z9 CA)

2 of my favorites.....

Bronze Star...Hybrid tea, apricot/bronzy color (buds are deeper orange), really large blooms, fragrant, great for cutting, disease resistant (the foliage seems to always look good), good bloomer. I get a lot of compliments on this one.

Marilyn Monroe...Hybrid tea, creamy with touch of peach and green, large blooms but not so prolific, but the petals hold well and don't fall apart. Great disease resistance even in less than sunny area.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 1:00PM
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marie_louise(CA)

I live in Oakland. The spot I have in mind is warm and sunny all day, with little wind. A Graham Thomas rose happily grew nearby (but got very misshapen over the years, so I took it out.) A Sally Holmes had canes the size of tree trunks; it was a nightmare to prune and it didn't scree the neighbors well enough-so it got the ax.

So... I think any rose would be happy.

I love Just Joey, haven't grown it in a long time. And Iceberg is a nice dependable one. Or just a plain deep red that smells good?

I am only one, I only planting one, I am only planting one....

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 1:51PM
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dicot

I would re-think that "just one" and do away with those time-consuming, fertilizer-gobbling water pigs altogether. Plant a lavatera or something instead. There's probably a good reason that led you to all the trouble of taking out the old ones.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 3:33PM
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Bob_B(Sunset 14, Ca.)

I would consider Double Delight. Fragrance is outstanding. Truly beautiful. Suffers badly from the extreme heat here in the Sonoma Valley, but Oakland sounds ideal. "Dave's Garden" has some first-person write-ups on this rose.

Bob

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 3:34PM
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sautesmom

I LOVE my Elle`, and I have about 12 different rose bushes. Elle` smells just as good as Double Delight, plus it has really shiny leaves, and it puts out lots of big beautiful flowers.

Carla in Sac

Here is a link that might be useful: Elle on Gardenweb with photos

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 9:11PM
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sandybeach(z9 CA)

Black bacarra rose.
It is a deep redish black. Mine gets full sun and doesn't burn very much. The flowers look like they are made from dark crimson velvet. The blooms also have a very tight growth pattern with the petals. Little to no scent though.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 9:34PM
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CA Kate

I've grown to love Betty Boop... who requires very little care; the same for my absolute favorite Baby Blanket.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 10:08PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Iceberg. If you want color, get Brilliant Pink. Nothing else comes close.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2009 at 12:08AM
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jkom51(Z9 CA/Sunset 17)

I also live in Oakland, and it is really too cool for roses with over 35+ petals, but fine for everything else.

The most prolific bloomer I have is 'Electric Blanket', a sister to 'Baby Blanket'. Harsh pink color, but amazing resistance to cold and damp. 3'H x 2'W.

'Margaret Merrill' is an amazing pure white floribunda. The sweet fragrance is stupendous and it lasts a long time in the vase. Much as I love 'Double Delight', 'Intrigue', and 'Delany Sisters', MM beats them hands-down for vigor and bloom. Forget 'Black Cherry' and 'Gingersnap', two standards I bought from Regan's that I truly regret.

The most incredible red rose I have ever seen was grown by a friend who lives up in the Oakland hills. It's called 'Tabu' and is simply spectacular: dark pure red, with tall long stems, and true rose fragrance.

I'd love to find a place for 'Honey Perfume', which is probably the most fragrant new rose, but I can't....darn it!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2009 at 12:17PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

do away with those time-consuming, fertilizer-gobbling water pigs altogether

Yeah, roses suck.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2009 at 7:14PM
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borderbarb

Angel Face, hands down! Easy to grow - I have two - one tree and one shrub. They seem to thrive on neglect and flower again and again. Great fragrance. Flowers hold their shape for ages on bush and in vase.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2009 at 2:15AM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Good Gawd, Hoovb!

Give me a hand trowel, and I'll personally divert the Sacramento River to your house to keep those in bloom.
If you promise to keep posting pics.

Is that cool pink "Renae"?

Renee

    Bookmark   December 18, 2009 at 6:17PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Is that cool pink "Renae"?

It sure is.

And if I was going to pick one rose, it would be 'Firefighter', a bloom machine that produces lots and lots of powerfully fragrant velvety red flowers.

But I really couldn't pick just one.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 1:14AM
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jkom51(Z9 CA/Sunset 17)

I've never understood why anyone would think roses are water hogs. They reward deep infrequent soaks, and will live in clay, which is everywhere in CA. They take no more water in my garden than anything else, and much less than hydrangeas and citrus (which won't fruit well without regular watering).

The large shrub on the LH side with the white flowers is my 'Margaret Merrill'. When we landscaped we bought top-quality compost from the Davis St. Recycling Center in San Leandro. I mulch and use soaker hoses; depending on the weather, the garden is watered every 2-4 weeks in summer only.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 5:20PM
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socalgal_gw Zone USDA 10b Sunset 24

I would find it impossible to choose just one.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2009 at 10:57AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

I could choose ONE easily as long as I was allowed to change my mind at least weekly. Al

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 10:24AM
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softmentor(z9/sunset13 CA desert)

my fav. is one that has been around a long time and is cheap because there is no patent on it. It's called Peace and is a blend of yellow and salmon that I just love. Easy to grow too.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 7:47PM
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marie_louise(CA)

Softmentor, I LOVE the Peace rose. It reminds me of my Grandma, it was her favorite rose. But unless I'm mistaken, it doesn't do well in the Bay Area. It is not hot enough.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 10:13PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

I could choose ONE easily as long as I was allowed to change my mind at least weekly. Al

Amen! :)

    Bookmark   December 22, 2009 at 3:25AM
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gardenguru1950(SunsetZ16)

jkom51 makes a good point.

We've been convinced that roses need gobs of water. I take some blame -- that's what I used to tell my students. I'm seeing differently these days.

Fact is, roses in heavy soil, when trained with good soakings deeply and infrequently (once every 3-4 weeks in summer), become extraordinarily drought-tolerant.

When planted in sand or put on a co-dependent drip system, or course, they become sissies.

And there are hundreds of rose cultivars that are disease-free and have self-cleaning blossoms, so maintenance is lowered even more.

Problem is, too many gardeners plant old problem-ridden cultivars, plant them in sandy soil, waste their time with amendments, use drip systems and over-fertilize and then tell everyone how problematic roses are. Surprised?

Most other rose practices we've come to accept also are questionable here in California.

We've simply gone along with what the Eastern rose gardeners have told us, via magazine and books from back there. Even the American Rose Society, through its Master Rosarian program, perpetuates these regional processes throughout the whole country.

One particular questionable practice (as posted elsewhere in this forum) is winter pruning.

Roses are simply shrubs; hybrid shrubs with the bulk of their genetics from Rosa chinensis, a subtropical evergreen rose species.

Being such, it really doesn't "need" pruning in the winter time. It's actually best to prune it during the growing season, much as one would do with any evergreen repeat-blooming shrub, keeping it at a size and shape we want, mostly by cutting off bloomed-out stems. As long as we cut back cleanly to some husky wood, the rose responds positively all year long. If we do this, we have minimal pruning -- and sometimes NO pruning -- to do in the winter.

We're trapped into thinking that we need to prune roses hard (to short stubs near the ground) because that's what they do back in cold country where they think it's going to save the rose tops from cold freezes. Even that's a myth.

More than that, we're trapped into thinking that we need to cut off the water, let rose hips form, put on crushed ice and all kinds of silly tricks to get our roses to go into "dormancy". They won't, they can't, they're Rosa chinensis genes. But it makes for good magazine copy.

Beyond winter chores, we're trapped into thinking we need to fertilize roses often and heavily. Some old cutlivars maybe. The newer ones much less. When planted in heavy soil, which contains good nutrients, roses are very happy. When planted in sandy soil, roses sulk. And amending is a myth, too.

Pick disease-free cultivars, plant in native heavy soil, water deeply and infrequently and, when you really need to, feed with a good organic rose food once in March.
Joe

    Bookmark   December 22, 2009 at 2:05PM
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davissue_zone9(z9 Sunset 14)

Since the reason you took them out was the amount of work, I would suggest Iceberg, hands down. No other rose gives as much pleasure for the amount of work- which consists of bi-monthly deadheading during the growing season, and a quick winter trim. No spraying, no bugs, no thorns, no unexplained dieback,....

    Bookmark   December 22, 2009 at 2:44PM
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omniphasic(9 Ca)

'Tropicana' has my vote-
It's an intense orange color and out of the 15 roses in my garden it's the only one still in full bloom!
It is naturally disease resistant and a show stopper!
Truly remarkable~

    Bookmark   December 26, 2009 at 2:23AM
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habitat_gardener(z9 CA/Sunset15)

I second the votes for Taboo (very fragrant long=stemmed red, but gets mildew), Just Joey (huge apricot blooms in spring that get smaller in summer), or Margaret Merrill (smaller flowers, but seems more dependable). I don't grow any roses myself, but my neighbor has a big rose garden and those are some of the standouts, along with Polka (a peachy climber with ruffly edged petals) and Tahitian Sunset (long-stemmed, peachy with yellow, and fragrant). If I were growing just one, it'd be a fragrant one.

However, in my own garden, if I had room for a rose, it'd be a native. The natives do tend to spread out, though.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2009 at 8:24PM
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marie_louise(CA)

Instead of a rose, I transplanted a Japanese maple to that spot in my backyard.

The crew has now finished terracing my sunny front yard. It is a series of L-shaped stone terraces that go along the street and my driveway. I want the lowest levels to have a lot of flowers-we live around the bend from a couple of schools and get a lot of foot traffic. It will be a nice gift to the neighborhood (I am amazed at the number of people who have stopped their cars to tell us how great it looks.)

So far I've planted one rose, but I have room for more. I loved my Rosa chinensis Mutabalis but couldn't find it anywhere, so I selected a Knockout rose that reminded me of it: Rainbow.

Any suggestions of companions, rose or otherwise? I suspect I am going to have to wait until it blooms and see what color is really is before I pick companions.

For screening plants on these levels, I've planted a Cornus 'Milky Way' and a 'Little Gem' Magnolia. I'm going to add either a Cotinus 'Grace' or the yellow 'Ancot.' Otherwise, I want to keep things low.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rainbow Knockout

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 12:48PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

It sounds beautiful.
I think you can get Mutabilis online- the Rose forum people can tell you where. Please consider posting photos when it's done!
Renee

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 5:10PM
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PRO
Propaganda Garden Design

Voodoo! Vigorous, tall, fragrant, beautiful orange blend blooms. Wicked thorns but well worth it. Luckily I haven't seen it around in any of my local nurseries because I would probably pick one up and I have no room!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2010 at 8:32PM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

Rugosa Roses are also a myth. It's impossible to find a true rugosa and the hybrids are filled with powdery mildew. So much in fact, the flowers and leaves are completely diseased at all times. I live about 3 miles from the ocean, it's supposed to be good for seaside planting, but seaside means fungal problems. I found it to be the worse performing rose, I had ever planted and that is saying a lot. It was a powdery mildew factory.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 10:51AM
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bellcanyonblonde

I hate to even think about "just one" rose, but my hands down favorite is Just Joey. I love the color, the huge, beautiful blooms. They just make me smile.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 2:30PM
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marie_louise(CA)

Yes, I've grown Just Joey before. I agree with you, the flowers are lovely. It smells good, too. It really makes a great bouquet. However, IIRC, it got some sort of rust or powdery mildew or other disease.

I noticed one of our nurseries is selling it as a standard. If I can find room, I'm going to plant it to tower over some other plants.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 9:48PM
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eloise_ca

Marie_louise, don't know where you are located, but if you are interested, I can send you cuttings of my Mutabalis.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 10:34AM
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marie_louise(CA)

I am in Oakland.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 11:06PM
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eloise_ca

Marie, please email me if you are interested in cuttings of r. Mutabalis.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 8:15PM
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