Monday, July 27, 2009

Roses in a Desert Garden

Well, this blog has been semi-abandoned for some time. I've had physical problems (broken wrist), computer problems (still unresolved - I'm writing this on on old clunker), irrigation problems, and camera problems...

But I was cleaning house and came across my notes on my rose garden and wanted to capture them somewhere accessible.

My goal was to have a lot of easy to grow, scented roses in a bed that draws the eye from inside the house. I dedicated the middle bed to flowers.

I chose the roses by researching scented roses that grow well in extreme heat (the blast furnace). The info provide by Tucson Rosarians at was helpful as well as that from the Arizona West Valley Rose Society
Unfortunately the West Valley site no longer has the fragrant rose list posted. I made a list of roses that I'd like to try and went off to Baker's Nursery to see what was available. Fortunately this was just after the bareroot roses had arrived at Baker so there was a wide variety available.

I planted a tall standard Double Delight rose tree in the middle of the bed.
  • Double Delight has long been my favorite rose. It has been a little difficult to dead head this rose since it is almost out of reach. Creamy white in the center, red outside. Wonderful strong scent.

Left to Right (as seen from the house) in the back of the bed:

  • Mr. Lincoln - beautiful clear red, heavily scented. It is a little stingy with blooms.
  • Jardins de Bagatelle - pale pink, blooms in clusters. Lovely scent. Often looks a bit ragged in the heat.
  • Lemon Zest - lots of small yellow blooms that turn anunattractive brown and hang on the plant. To me the scent is very faint. I may remove this one.
  • New Zealand - Pink, undistinquished. Mildly scented (to me).

Right to Left (as seen from the house) in the front of the bed:
  • California Dreamin' - This is like a Double Delight but with more vivid colorong - and not nearly as attractive. Light scent. Not a good choice. This rose is a new variety taht was recommended by Sunset Magazine. I will definitely remove this one.
  • Grenada - This was a surprise to me. I was not sure I'd like it as the description sounded garish. It is multi-colored. Each petal is gold inside, pink and peach in the middle and red on the edges. Not only to I find it beautiful, I also love the scent. I may plant more of this variety.
  • Child's Play - This is a miniature rose and I beieve it is the only scented miniature rose. Lots of small white bloooms with pink edges. I find that the scent is very faint. It might be nice in a border. I'll probably remove or at least move this one.
  • Secret - Another bi-color rose. Secret is wite with delicate pink edges, almost picotee in effect. Lovely scent. Bloomed first.
  • Scentimental - A striped rose - deep red with white stripes and splashes. Very attractive but the scent is rather faint. This is a floribunda rosa and the bush is bigger than the rest.
I have another Double Delight in a large pot in a partially shaded area just out my back door. In front of the house I have a new Don Juan, a nicely scented red rose. It's supposed to be a climber but has not had time to put on length yet. In the front courtyard we have two Lady Bank's roses, loosely trained in an arch over a window. These are about seven years old and now have tons of fragrant white bloom in late March. It is once blooming but very easy to grow and looks magnificent when it does bloom.

In addition to the rose, I also planted sweet allysum and deep purple pansies which shaded the soil and made for drammatic contrasts. So far the roses have been very healthy and shrugged off an early case of mildew. They did attract a lot of ants. A month or so ago I stopped fertilizing and dead-heading them and plan to resume in late August. However I do have neightbrs with beautiful roses all summer so it's possible. I just don't enjoy spending time outdoors in the hottest weather.


Allvira said...

Nice collection of roses in your Courtyard. I love roses too & I have planted in my garden also. But after few days , when I planted the plant of roses there are small small mosquitoes around the plant & flowers also. I wanna know how to protect from them ??
Foliar Fertilizers

Kathryn said...

I believe that what you are describing are aphids. My experience is that, in the dry desert climate, if the rose plants are very healthy and get plenty of fertilizer and enough water then they will overcome almost any infestation. Also, if you have ants, they will bring the aphids so you can try getting rid of the ants. In a damper climate, it is harder to keep roses healthy (but the blooms are better!). Good luck.