Living Color: The Beauty of Roses in Your Garden Landscape

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Just as each year the consumer looks forward to new models in automobiles, TV sets, refrigerators, etc., the gardener looks forward to the introduction of the new “models” in roses. 

Living Garden RosesPin

Since 1850, not a year has gone by without a crop of new roses improved in form, color, disease resistance, and usefulness.

Adaptive Old and New Roses

Roses, both new and old, are adapted to many uses for the living garden. Their basic requirements are few and simple: good soil, good drainage, and full sunlight for at least half the day. 

In return for such added attention as careful rose planting, fertilizing, pruning, watering, and protection from insects and disease, roses will give a greater measure of beauty and more years of enjoyment.

Hybrid Tea

For the garden, the hybrid tea rates highest – bushy growth, beautifully formed buds, large flowers, long sturdy stems, and an unlimited range of colors accounting for its popularity. 

Of course, there is no right and wrong way to use roses as long as you are pleased with the results. 

But the hybrid teas do lend themselves to formal plantings. They are also good combined with other plants, as borders for drives or walks, in planters, or even in pots on the terrace.


In the past few years, a new type of rose, the Grandiflora, has been developed. Like the hybrid tea, it grows taller, blooms more profusely, and is thus best used for landscape effects. Its flowers, while not quite as refined as the hybrid tea’s, are still good for cutting. 

Try grandifloras toward the back of a rose border or in groups among evergreens and shrubs where you want bushy plants 4′ to 6′ feet tall.

Versatile Floribundas

The versatile floribundas, bearing profuse clusters of dainty roses, are suited to any gardening use. 

These 2- to 3-foot tall bushes can be massed, used in small groups, or even grown in planters, pots, and tubs.

The last few years have seen a vast improvement in the number of rose climbers. Most of the new introductions bloom intermittently through the summer and are ideal for beautifying a wall or fence, covering an arbor or pergola, or hiding an unwanted view. Many are also useful for cutting.

Miniature Roses

Miniature roses, Lilliputian flowers covering foot-high bushes, are growing in popularity. They are designed for small-scale, intimate plantings, growing in pots and planters, edging beds, and borders. 

Recently a few climbing miniatures (actually, according to their habit of growth, more correctly called miniature climbers) have been introduced.

As a special project at Kingwood Center, we are now testing the new roses before they are officially introduced. 

By obtaining the public’s reaction, as well as technical information, we hope to be in a better position to help the home gardener in selecting the most promising new roses.

Promising New Roses

White Knight

The most outstanding hybrid tea in the test was White Knight (Conard-Pyle Co.), an All-America Rose Selection originated in France by Francis Meilland. 

Good white varieties for garden culture are scarce, most of them lacking petal substance and turning creamy or pinkish in cool weather. 

White Knight’s abundance of fine, pure white blooms of exhibition form leads me to rank it the best white hybrid tea to date.

Jackson & Perkins’ Gail Borden

Near the top of the list for beauty, performance, and public interest was Jackson & Perkins’ Gail Borden, named for the founder of the Borden Dairy Products Company, which recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. 

This vigorous, sturdy plant continuously produced huge roses, 5″ to 6″ inches across and of classic exhibition form. 

In the bud and half-open stages, the outside of the petals is a soft yellow. The open bloom is a uniform warm, soft pink.

Three Fine Yellow Hybrid Teas

Three fine, new yellow hybrid teas all showed improvements over earlier yellows in vigor, fragrance, and freedom of bloom:

  • Isobel Harkness (Armstrong Nurseries) is large, bright, clear yellow, and very prolific.
  • Sunlight (Conard-Pyle)
  • Arlene Francis (Jackson & Perkins) are deep, golden yellows, each having its distinctive qualities

Armstrong Nurseries’ Aztec

I thought that hybrid teas could get no redder, but Armstrong Nurseries’ Aztec proves me wrong. A flaming scarlet, its large, very double, vigorous blooms drew a great deal of favorable attention at the trials.

Almost as many floribundas as hybrid teas are being introduced this year, a sure sign of the growing public acceptance of this useful type. 

All-America Gold Cup (Jackson & Perkins) demonstrated all the qualities claimed for it. 

Deep yellow blooms covered the vigorous, bushy but compact, 2 ½’ foot tall plants all summer. Jackson & Perkins’ other All-America award winner, orange-scarlet Fusilier, drew raves for its rich, unusual coloring.

Magenta-colored Roses

Encore (Peterson-Dering) is a distinctive, bright pink floribunda. Its blooms are dainty, more or less semi-double, and show attractive stamens. 

Buttercup yellow Starlet (Armstrong Nurseries) carries medium-sized, very double blooms in profusion throughout the season. 

The latest addition to the bluish or magenta-colored roses is Conard-Pyle’s Lavender Girl, the perfect rose if you want something “different” in the garden or for arrangements.

Two new grandifloras, not included in the trials but worthy of mention, are:

  • Merry Widow (Germain’s), a deep crimson
  • Ivory white Ave Maria (Sterns)

Everblooming Rose Class

In the everblooming climbing class Don Juan (Jackson & Perkins), a rich, velvety red with well-shaped blooms, was popular with rose experts and gardeners alike. 

It grows about 8’ feet tall, producing a succession of blooms from June to late fall. 

Rhode Island Red, new from Brownell but not included in the test, is a red everblooming pillar rose. 

Elmer Roses Climbing Carrousel, a taller-growing form of the long popular, award-winning grandiflora Carrousel, was also missing from the test.

Sequoia Nursery came out with three new miniatures: 

  • Dian, a soft red about 12” inches high 
  • Magic Wand, a climber that will reach 4’ feet if supported on a stake or trellis and which produces clusters of tiny, deep red flowers
  • Climbing Jackie, a profusion of soft, yellow blooms

Pick Of 1058 Crop

These roses are the pick of the 1058 crop, the very best of the “new models.” They have been growth-tested by Kingwood Center, sight-tested by its visitors, and unanimously approved.

Why don’t you give them a try in your garden?

DR. R. C. ALLEN, for many years connected with the American Rose Society, is presently President of the Hens Garden Clubs of America and Director of the Kingwood Center in Mansfield, Ohio, one of the country’s foremost horticultural centers, famous for its exhibition gardens.

44659 by Dr. R. C. Allen