Healthy Roses

AARS 2004 Rose Selections

Day Breaker: Upright floribunda. Art shades of yellow through pink to apricot. Very fragrant and disease resistant.

Honey Perfume: About 3 1/2' tall. Bright apricot yellow. Spicy fragrance and good disease resistance, especially to powdery mildew and rust.

Memorial Day: Medium tall hybrid tea. Clear pink with tinge of lavender. Strong damask fragrance. Highly disease resistant, but prefers hot weather.

Pruning Roses
Barbara McMullen, MG

Finding time to prune the entire garden in one session might not be easy. I usually like to prune plants in groups. This seems to make the task a little easier, and I tend to enjoy the project more.

Dormant spraying after pruning roses is always good. The following information is on the basics of rose pruning. The Lane County Extension Office has more information if you need it. I like to prune after the 20th of February or later. The later you prune, the later your first bloom flush will occur.

Why do you prune roses?

We prune roses to encourage new growth and a succession of flowers throughout the growing season. First, remember you want to remove

  • Dead canes
  • Dying canes
  • Diseased canes

Roses are pruned annually to encourage healthy plants. Know the type of rose you have. You don't want to prune your favorite climber as if it were a hybrid tea.

If you neglect proper pruning, the result may be a weak-caned plant with poor form and very little air circulation. Underpruning year after year is the most common cause of an unproductive rose bush. Pruning can rejuvenate a rose that has not been pruned for several years.

A rose needs to have the correct form for its variety, and it likes to have plenty of air circulation. Crossing canes are not good for the plant as that tends to promote damage to the canes, and that encourages disease.

When do you prune?

In the Willamette Valley the best time to prune is mid-February to early March. Pruning mid-month or later is recommended. This timing is suggested because generally we will have weather that encourages the plant to start growing. Pruning earlier (before the last frost or forecast bad weather) will cause the rose grower problems. If you prune early, you may experience dieback and have to re-prune again after better weather arrives.

The pruning cut

Every cut large or small should be clean. The cut needs to be made just above a bud eye. The recommended angle is forty-five degrees, cut toward the bush's center. Make the cut toward an outward facing bud eye.

One method of locating the bud eye is to strip the rose bush of foliage two weeks before pruning, and nature will send an urgent message for foliar rejuvenation. The new eyes will swell and make it easy for you to see them. If you choose to remove the foliage of your hybrid teas, be sure to cut the leaves off and avoid tearing them as this will damage the dormant eyes.

Dormant spray

Most pests and diseases are not killed by winter weather but wait out the season in soil, inside leaf buds, and on the canes of your roses. You can eliminate some pest problems by using a dormant spray after you have pruned. The spray needs to be applied when the bush is dormant early in spring before the rose sends out new shoots. The dormant oil is not harmful to the environment, and it coats canes, buds, and leaves where it suffocates pests and the spores of overwintering fungi.

Pruning tools

It is well worth the investment to purchase the best garden tools that you can afford. The ideal of most gardeners is to have the appropriate tool on hand for every job. When it comes to pruning this is particularly true for cutting tools. When you shop for them, be sure that they feel comfortable in your hand.

Pruners are the most important and useful of the cutting tools. Bypass pruning shears will cut a woody st em up to three-quarters of an inch. Do not try to exceed their capability as you may damage both the tool and the plant. Never cut wire with the blades. Keep your pruner sharp, for a sharp tool makes a clean cut.

Loppers usually have long handles that make it easier to cut a cane that is thick. I recommend using a bypass lopper. Loppers are available in several sizes, and I urge you to try all of them out before you purchase one.

Pruning saws are really great tools. Once you have the art of the saw motion, you can cut almost anything with ease. Pruning saws come with wooden handles, and several models have a handle that the blade folds into for storage.

Alcohol. When pruning roses you should clean your shears by dipping the pruner blades into alcohol before you start working on each plant. By cleaning your shears this way you will avoid spreading plant disease.

Gloves are an optional tool. I do prefer leather gloves when I prune.

Pruning is a must-do job for spring. Your plants will thank you with beautiful blooms and vigorous health which helps ward off disease. Happy pruning.

Topaz Jewel
Planting Bare-Root Roses in March
Barbara McMullen, MG

If you have ever purchased a bare-root rose, your first question might have been, will this awkward plant really produce roses? Yes it will! And I might add the results are a delight to any gardener. Folks who aren't gardeners couldn't imagine that a beautiful, fragrant rose will emerge from that stiff, thorny plant with its mass of hairy roots stuffed into a cardboard box or plastic bag.

Bare-root roses are available in most garden centers in January, and several rose growers have wonderful catalogs for you to read. Rose catalogs give very helpful information on the type of plant, the general growing habits, the variety, and whether or not the rose has a specific fragrance or other noteworthy attributes. Armed with this information you can make your bare-root rose selection either by mail or at the local nursery; then get ready to plant your new treasure.

A bare-root rose is dormant, but soon nature starts its show, and buds on the stiff, thorny canes will push out signaling, "Plant me!" The bare-root rose wants to return to soil, so remove the cardboard box and shredded newspaper wrapping around the roots and give it what it wants:

  • Remove all packaging and soak the plant in a bucket of water.
  • Dig your planting hole.
  • Take the plant out of the bucket and clip off any damaged roots. Shorten roots that are too long for the hole. Evaluate the canes for broken ends or twiggy growth; remove any you find. Leave three to five canes and be sure the center is open (for Hybrid teas and Floribundas).
  • Avoid chemical fertilizer at planting time as it may burn the newly emerging feeder roots. I like to dust the planting hole with bone meal.
  • Place the plant in a prepared hole with the bud union at natural soil level. Carefully arrange the roots so they have ample room to grow and not get crowded. Once the hole is filled with soil, water, water, water.
  • Newly planted roses will need fertilizer after their first bloom cycle and thereafter once a month until August. Stop feeding roses about six weeks before the last bloom cycle. This prepares them for winter and dormancy.

If roses are planted during the middle of March, you should be rewarded with beautiful blooms in late May or early June. What a treat it is to watch the special plant you selected come full circle and present you with your reward-a rose!

The first flush of blooms in spring is my favorite time of year as I always feel the roses are at their best. Enjoy and watch nature with its beauty; take notes for your garden journal and maybe even a few photographs.

Landscaping with Roses
Barbara McMullen, MG

Selecting roses for landscape use may seem like an impossible task, but with a few key elements in mind you can select a rose or a group of roses to compliment your new or current landscape.

Roses need
  • Water
  • Five to six hours of sun each day
  • Correct pruning
  • A pH of 6.5-7.0
  • Good soil drainage
  • Fertilizer

Most modern roses make good landscape companions because they repeat bloom. You may want to investigate some of the Old Garden Roses as they also have excellent landscape benefits. Most OGR will bloom only once a season, but the length of the bloom time is what is spectacular about them.

When I use roses in the landscape I group them into three categories: ground cover, shrubs, and climbers.

  • Ground covers tend to be low growing and will not exceed three feet in height.
  • Shrubs are a group of roses that really don't get much attention, yet they offer design options for the landscape that are endless.
  • Climber/ramblers are the attention getters in the landscape. Most add height and a color combination that is sure to be an eye catcher. Climbers, however, need some form of support to do the best job possible in the landscape. It can be a simple pole or fence, but the plant will need some type of training and support to create the desired look.

The performance of different types and cultivars of roses varies from one part of the country to another. It is always a good idea to visit local rose gardens to see flowers in bloom and to take note of the plant form.

Ground Cover

Ground cover roses are perfect for smothering a bank or garden bed. These lower growing roses will droop over rock walls or down the edge of a large bank. Select varieties for your region and plant them close together for a faster fill in if needed. Some ground cover roses may have intricate stems; most will have foliage that can remain year round in certain zones. Most ground cover roses only need minimal pruning.

Shrub Roses

The name is a bit of a catch-all for a diverse range or roses and is simply a rose that you treat like a flowering shrub. Most shrub roses make very attractive hedges and work well in borders. The best type of shrub rose may be one that is self cleaning. This means it will drop its blossoms quickly after blooming and will repeat continuously during the growing season.

Rosa rugosa is a group of very hardy shrub roses. These are truly the workhorses of the garden. Most have crinkled leaves, are disease resistant, have a good bushy growth habit, and have spectacular fall hips.

Climbers and Ramblers

Climbing roses in the garden are usually instrumental in creating a focal point for garden design. Climbers do need a support of some type, a trellis, arbor, or fence pillars to climb or lean on. It is best to train climbers from early on when the canes are pliable and easy to train into a spreading form. This spreading form creates lateral growth which in turn will produce many blooms on a repeat bloomer.

Ramblers have slender canes with clusters of flowers and generally bloom only once but in such profusion that they more than make up for their one shot bloom. Ramblers work best in the landscape design as roses that cover unsightly walls or outbuildings; you may even try to send this rose up and into a tree.

Planting Suggestions
Ground Cover Roses

The Fairy. Pink double blooms about one inch in diameter. This spreading plant has bright green foliage; an outstanding rose.

Baby Blanket. Dainty pink rose that is constantly in bloom. Let it cascade down a bank or hillside. Spreads knee-high in a border.

Shrub Roses

Seafoam. Great hedge of creamy, white double blooms that are set off by glossy, dark green foliage. Always covered with continuous bloom. Plant in groups for a striking effect.

Bonica. Soft pink, fully double blooms. Beautiful arching canes with mid-green foliage. Great for mass planting or hedges. Great fall hips.

Carefree Delight. Blooms produced in clusters of soft, delicate pink. A vigorous, well-branched spreading plant with graceful arching canes. Disease resistant.

Rosa rugosa: Roseraie de l'Hay. Semi-double, wine red blooms, great fall foliage, tolerates some shade, repeat bloomer.

Rosa rugosa: Theresa Bugnet. Huge double pink blooms, very fragrant; repeat blooms several times over the season. Tolerates shade and makes an outstanding display in a bouquet.

Climbers and Ramblers
Climber: Cecile Brunner. Shell pink, slightly fragrant, single bloomer.

Climber: New Dawn. Semi-double flowers in pink. Blooms continuously. tolerates some shade and some say it is disease free and a vigorous grower.

Climber: Blaze. Very popular red rose. Foliage dark and pretty.
Climber: Golden Showers. Best yellow rose that fades to a soft yellow. Blooms all summer; beautiful, glossy foliage. Grows well on a pillar.
Climber: Sombreuil. Creamy white quartered blooms. Repeats; great fragrance and besides, it is just beautiful.
Climber: Dortmund. Red with a white eye, and it has a ruffled edge to the bloom. Repeat bloomer.
Rambler: American Pillar. Beautiful bright pink blooms with a white eye.

Rambler: Dorothy Perkins. Soft pink fluffy blooms. This one really sends the runners over the ground and up into structures. I have one growing into a tree.

Rambler: Vielchenblau. Purple blooms with white eyes. A white clematis companion plant is perfect here. This rose has few or no thorns. Tolerates some shade.

Old Garden Roses
Barbara McMullen, MG

The category of Old Roses remains one of the most misunderstood and confusing. According to history this group includes species and many hybrid species roses that are a result of common classes in Europe before the influx of Chinese roses in the nineteenth century. The category of Old Garden Roses was closed in 1867 when the Hybrid tea "La France" was introduced as a modern rose.

The term "Old Garden Roses" still can cause confusion because some items may have been introduced after 1867. The reason for this is that a newly developed rose carries the OGR designation because it does belong to one of these Old Garden Rose classes. Nurseries may call a plant an "antique rose" or an "old garden rose," but the rose may not truly be an Old Garden Rose.

Here are the subdivisions of Old Garden Roses:
  • Species and Hybrid Species
  • Gallica, Alba, Damask, Centifolia, and Moss
  • Chinas
  • Teas
  • Noisettes
  • Bourbons
  • Hybrid Perpetuals
Species and Hybrid Species

Species roses are naturally occurring wild roses collected from any location. Most have five petals. As garden subjects, species roses are delightful and varied. Some are suitable for hedges, and others have sprawling growth habits that make for good ground covers. There are about two hundred species roses altogether. This class of rose is one of the most varied due to natural growing conditions and location of the particular rose.

Gallica, Alba, Damask, Centifolia, and Moss

This group contains five individual classes, and all are different. Gallicas are shorter than Albas. The Centifolia has the fullest looking flowers in existence and is commonly referred to as a cabbage rose. The Damasks tend to be pink, and you will recognize a Moss rose by the glandular hairs covering its buds. As a group these roses bloom once and do best if given some afternoon shade and a well mulched bed so the plant will not get water stressed.


The original roses from this class were brought from China to Europe where they were widely bred with other classes. The results were repeat-blooming plants, and they changed the Western world of roses. The China varieties are rather delicate in appearance with neatly pointed leaves. Blooms commonly are in shades of pink, copper, and red. Flowers have a sweet, fruity fragrance and bloom constantly. The plant form ranges from dwarf bushes to vigorous climbers.


These roses are similar in history and cultivation to the Chinas. Roses in this class tend to form chunky, v-shaped shrubs and are well covered with foliage and flowers, most of which are pastel and some shades of red. This rose is uniquely scented with a perfume that reminds some people of tea. If pruned severely, the plant may sulk for a season and produce only a few blooms. This rose will grow slowly at first, but after two or three years it will increase in size.


Noisettes are erect shrubs, and most are large climbers. The flowers tend to be pastel and are known for their large clusters. These plants are tolerant of clay soils.


Named for a French ruling class, these roses tend to have large flowers and are richly scented with rose perfume. The flowers are often three to a cluster. Growth habit is rather leggy and some may have a chunky shrub form.

Hybrid Perpetuals

This rose is the pre-twentieth-century equivalent of the Hybrid Teas. They have huge flowers and sometimes are stiff and awkward. Most HPs are repeat bloomers and have a strong delicious fragrance.

Fall in the Rose Garden
Barbara McMullen, MG

Wandering through the rose garden in fall reminds one that winter is not far away, and protecting our plants for the winter months ahead is a priority. Species roses, shrub roses, and many old garden roses are hardy and live unharmed through the coldest Maine and Minnesota winters. But several modern hybrids, such as teas, floribundas, grandifloras, and large flowering climbers are highly sensitive to frigid weather.

Here in the Willamette Valley we are lucky as our weather can be mild or mixed during the long winter. Our winter weather continues to provide a variety of chilling rain and maybe ice and snow. Last year we managed to avoid snow, but this year I want to be ready just in case.

This month I am starting to think of winter care. Roses, like us, need time to rest. Don't forget it takes a lot of energy to produce those blossoms month after month. Fall is the season for roses to enter dormancy.

In preparation for winter I would suggest doing the following to promote healthy, happy rose plants for next season.

  • Let your roses begin the process of going dormant. You can help by not cutting the blooms; just let them go to hips. I remove petals just before they drop with a slight twist and gather colorful petals by the handful. Cutting the plant now signals them to send out more canes which would be tender and freeze or be more susceptible to damage by the cold weather.
  • Collect fallen leaves and discard diseased leaves with black spot, rust, and powdery mildew. These are fungal diseases. The fungi overwinter as spores in infected canes, buds, and fallen leaves. I have had good luck by removing all the leaves by hand on several of my plants that seem to be prone to the dreaded black spot problem. During the past year in the Northwest we had ideal conditions for black spot to thrive on roses.
  • You can also help your rose plant by removing dead or diseased canes now. About November, prune any hybrid teas or floribundas about waist height, to prevent the plant from wind-load damage during the winter months.
  • Check soil pH. You want 6.5-7.0, and roses will thrive when this balance is maintained. If your pH is low, try adding a cup of lime per bush to balance the soil. The rains of winter will help soak it into the soil, and in spring the roots will be able to take in nutrients better.
Rambling with Roses
Information from Heirloom Old Garden Roses
Own-root roses: the growing option
  • The chance that they will have viruses is very small. Budded roses have a very high rate of virus infection. Rose viruses reduce the longevity and flowering of the plant.
  • Own-root roses are much more winter hardy since they have no bud union (the most cold-vulnerable spot) to freeze out. Should they freeze to the ground, they will still come back in spring true to variety.
  • You will never have to struggle with rootstock suckers with these roses.
  • If planted correctly, own-root roses should give you bushes two to three feet tall after the first growing season depending on the vigor of the cultivar. Climbers and ramblers should put out canes from six to twelve feet long.
Planting your roses

Where to Plant: Roses do well in a wide variety of soils. They love full sun but also do well where they receive five or six hours of sun daily. Some actually produce better quality blooms with only morning sun for five to six hours. A few, especially Albas, Hybrid Musks, and a few others, do well in semi-shaded areas. Roses like good drainage.

Spacing: One of the greatest mistakes in planting roses, especially old garden roses, is underestimating their mature size and planting them too closely together. A rose bush may look small when you get it, but it doesn't stay that way for long. Ramblers and climbers should be spaced six to eight feet apart. Bush roses sould be planted as far apart as they are tall when mature.

Planting: The single most important factor in growing beautiful, large rose bushes is digging a big hole. A big hole is at least twenty-four inches wide by twenty-four inches deep. You can mix one-third compost with the soil from the top two-thirds of the hole. Discard the lower, usually infertile soil from the bottom of the hole. You might mix one cup of bone meal into the mixture also.

I am a firm believer in the benefits of manure, but I recommend mixing it 50/50 with the soil that goes into the bottom third of the hole as there is a chance it could be too fresh and might burn the fine feeder roots the rose will soon put out. When manure is at the bottom of the hole, these roots won't reach it for a year, and by that time it will have mellowed and be ready to give your rose a nice boost.

Plant your new rose in the middle of a big hole about one inch deeper than it was in the pot. I caution against planting a new rose in the same soil where a rose, or any other shrub for that matter, has been growing for years. The new rose will not perform well.

Watering: Roses love water. Give them at least one inch, preferably two inches, of water a week throughout the growing season. They will reciprocate with beauty and blooms. Well watered roses are more disease-resistant as water deprivation stresses the plant and makes it more susceptible to disease.

Fertilizing: We recommend Alaska Fish Fertilizer or liquid fertilizers such as Peters every two to four weeks used as per label directions. We do not recommend granular fertilizers until the second season. Carefully fed roses tend to be more disease resistant. Here in Oregon we do not fertilize after mid-August.

Pruning your roses

When your roses have reached eighteen inches, we recommend that you pinch out the top two to three inches of growth to promote branching. Do not pinch ramblers and climbers. Once roses have bloomed, they should not be winter pruned as you would be removing next spring's blooming wood. They should be lightly pruned (removing a few inches to twenty-five percent of the top of the plant) after their spring blooming period is over. Take out all dead wood.

Climbers and ramblers also bloom on year-old wood. Again no winter pruning except to remove an occasional complete cane that is in the way or getting old (three to four years or more). You may also remove cross branches that are in the way. Ramblers have a tendency to put up many canes. You may want to limit them to just four to eight and keep the rest cut off at the base throughout the year.

Repeat blooming roses (English rose, shrub, hybrid musk, China, etc.) may be treated as large shrubs with little or no pruning except to cut the tips back a few inches, or if you wish, they may be shaped to your satisfaction and kept more compact by removing one- to two-thirds or the tops with winter pruning.

Good Old Roses
Pat Patterson, MG
Rose                           Color     Fragrance   Repeat?      Comment
Ghislaine de Feligonde Pale orange    Medium            Yes               Clusters

Prosperity                              White          Medium            Yes              Clusters (winter killed)

Scentimental                   Red and White  Strong             Yes              Floribunda *

Wonderstripe                  Rose & white    Medium            Yes              Floribunda *

Celsiana                                Pale pink     Strong               No              Damask clusters Invasive*

Amber Queen                 Amber pink        Strong              Yes             Floribunda *

Rosamundi                      Red & white       Strong              No            Gallica

George Burns                 Yellow & red       Strong             Yes             Tea (rodent killed)

Hansa                              Magenta              Medium          Yes             Rugosa * shade

Topaz Jewel                    Pale yellow          Medium         Yes             Rugosa * shade

Buff Beauty                     Apricot                  Strong            Yes            Musk * some BS

Rosa robusta                 Scarlet                   Medium         Yes             Lg. Singles *   

Fru Dagmar Hastrup      Pink                      Medium         Yes             Rugosa *

Apothecary Rose          Magenta                Medium          No              Very old Gallica *

Rosa alba                      White to pink         Medium          No              Very large bush * shade

Rosa multiflora               White                     Medium          No              Invasive. Clusters *

Lavender Lassie            Pink/lilac               Light                Yes            Sprawling, tall *

Eutin                                Very red                Light                Yes             Floribunda *

Blanc Double de Coubert  White               Stong                Yes            Rugosa *

Robin Hood                    Rose pink             Medium           Yes             Musk. Clusters sm. flws *

Anisley Dickson            Salmon pink          Very strong      No              Floribunda. Floppy *

Iceberg                           White                      Light                Yes             Floribunda Lg. BS in shade                                     Oranges & Lemons       Yellow & orange   Strong              Yes             Floribunda * Striped

New Dawn                      Pink                        Strong              Yes            Climber *

Morning Has Broken    Clear yellow            Strong              Yes            Climber

Buff Beauty                    Apricot                     Strong              Yes            Shrub *   

Eden                               Pale pink                 Strong              No              Climber

Honorine de Brabant    Lilac variegated      Medium            No             Bourbon

I have grown all these roses for some time in a garden with no spraying and high disease pressure. All stand up well with little or no defoliation. I am also trialing (1 st or 2 nd year in garden) about 10 others. The ones listed here are all real winners. All prefer full sun, but Rosa alba, Rosa multiflora do pretty well with partial or light shading. * indicates a long time winner. Ones with no * are fairly new to the garden and still under trial. BS indicates gets some blackspot, but rarely serious. All these roses are highly resistant to the common rose diseases. Some get some mildew towards the end of the season, but not enough to worry about. All are fragrant. Most are shrub roses, but there are a few tea and floribundas in the mix.


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