Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Followup: Disease Resistant Roses

We all love to visit rose gardens in the spring, when every bush is in its glory.  But a trip in the dog days of summer can be very enlightening.  Summertime in Houston is when roses really show us what they're made of.

June, July and August are hard times for roses.  It's so hot that it can be difficult to provide enough water.  Disease and insect pressure are peaking.  And even good roses often look a little ragged.  Flowers are smaller, leaves look a little burned on the tips and plants sometimes drop leaves from stress.  So a rose that looks presentable in the Houston summer is likely to be a good performer for your garden.

Recently I visited the  Hermann Park - Houston Garden Center at 1500 Hermann Boulevard, across from Miller Outdoor Theater.  Of course, the Knockout series of roses looked great.  They almost always do.  But three others caught me eye, too.  Here they are:

This is Easy Does It, the 2010 AARS Winner.  This beautiful floribunda appeared healthy and strong, and was covered with mango-colored flowers.  I saw these roses at about 10:00 in the morning and the fragrance was barely detectable, but they are likely much more fragrant on an early spring morning or evening.  Wonderful disease resistance and free-flowering habit make this one a keeper.

I was also taken with Crimson Bouquet, an AARS 2000 winner.  This is a grandiflora rose, featuring a rich rosy red color and great disease resistance.  Crimson Bouquet has more petals than Knockout, and I liked the color better.  (Although I like the Knockout's red foliage, too!)

And finally, a rose that I wasn't familiar with.  This is Eutin, another floribunda.  These little shrubs featured masses of cherry-red simple flowers that were thriving in our hot, humid summer.  This one gets about 4-5 feet tall, so may be more manageable than the larger Knockout red.

The downside to viewing roses in late June (aside from the sweating) is that it can be hard to find them in nurseries this time of year.  Write down the names of the ones you like and ask your nursery to get them for you in the spring.  The best selection for roses is usually February through April.

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