Friday, November 25, 2005

Bargain Roses

At the beginning of November, I stopped by Lowes to buy some paving base for a project, and noticed the clerk rolling out a cart of $1.50 roses... stunted, fungus-covered, one dollar and fifty cent roses. All were Jackson & Perkins roses, most of them rooted on Fortuniana. I have long considered converting my annual bed in the backyard to a mixed annual/rose border. I had planned to buy a eight or ten roses in the spring, each at $25 each. Considering the bargain, I didn't really mind that they weren't perhaps my ideal roses.

I bought the six healthiest, five of which I've nursed back to health with the aid of Ferti-Lome systemic anti-fungal spray applied once a week, very weak fertilizer applied every other day, and lots of morning sun. One, a "Peace", died. I transplanted three of them today: "Love Potion," a deep lavender, raspberry-scented Floribunda on Fortuniana; "Gold Medal" (aka AROyqueli), a deep yellow Grandiflora (my first), also on Fortuniana; and an own-root, Portland Damask (OGR) "Rose de Rescht." The first two roses are pretty standard fare, but the latter is a bit more exotic. Here's what Paul Barden has to say:
Being of the Portland group, Rose de Rescht is capable of several flushes of repeat bloom throughout the season. It does not repeat constantly like a Hybrid Tea though, but repeats in distinct cycles. It blooms, pauses briefly, then makes a new burst of growth, and flowers again. It is actually a very nice habit. You have to wait a bit between cycles, and I find that it is just long enough to make me long to see another bloom.
In growth, this shrub is much like a Gallica in form, reaching a height of about 3.5 feet, always remaining a tidy, domed bush, well foliated and neat looking. It requires little pruning, except that apparently it performs best when old wood over 5 years old is periodically removed. It is quite disease resistant, and healthy. It does not tend to sucker like a Gallica though, which is best for most gardeners.

The bloom is not very large compared to some of the roses we know; about 2.5 to 3 inches across. It is a beautiful opening bud, that quickly grows to reflex into a pompon form. The scent is exceptional in quality; pure sweet Damask, but not always the strongest ( for me, anyway)
This is the rose that is often recommended to people who are contemplating buying their first Heritage Rose, as it is trouble free, well behaved, and very rewarding. Try it and you will not be disappointed.
Given its relatively petite size (3-4'), I put the Rose de Rescht towards the front of the garden.

"Gold Medal," "Love Potion," and "Rose de Rescht"

"Gold Medal" in the garden. I should have pinched those blooms whil the plant was convalescing, but couldn't bring myself. They're about 4.5" in diameter.

Update 11/30: My 'Rose de Rescht' bloomed today and its slightly spicey aroma perfumes my entire back walk. Very nice.

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