It’s a windy almost-spring day outside so let’s talk about English roses to know and grow in Oklahoma. I probably haven’t written a happy rose post in years due to Rose Rosette Disease, but ta-dah!! Here it is folks.
I haven’t seen RRD in my garden for a couple of years, and I’ve added a few roses recently. I’ve got a new attitude. Instead of being sad when I find an infected rose, I just eradicate it and throw it in the trash–never the compost pile. I’m sure my attitude is partly because I’m no longer attached to my heirloom roses. They’re all gone, and I’ll never have the number I had years ago, but I need a little rosiness in my life.
I just do.
Here are my favorite English roses to know and grow in my Oklahoma garden. Photos will be from previous years, of course. The roses don’t bloom here until late April or early May. Click on the galleries to see larger photos.
English roses to know and grow
I’ve written about Rosa ‘Darcey Bussell’ before. I like it so much I’ve bought several shrubs over the years. It is classified as a crimson red rose, but it’s definitely got a lot of dark pink in it. Named for a ballerina, this rose has grace and a light, fruity scent. It grows quite short even in our hot climate, and it is highly resistant to blackspot. I haven’t sprayed in years, and this rose, even in some shade only gets a few bad leaves. English roses tend to grow larger in the central U.S., but this one does not.
‘Olivia Rose Austin‘ and ‘The Lady Gardener‘ were new to my garden in 2016. Olivia took right off. I lost two new plantings of ‘The Lady Gardener,’ but she is so pretty she is worth putting on this list. Olivia is definitely the stronger of the two though. It opens with pale pink blooms and is very healthy with little blackspot. ‘Olivia Rose Austin’ is David Austin’s granddaughter.
‘The Lady Gardener’ has smallish apricot blooms that fade to cream in our climate. As I wrote above, it is not as hardy as some of my other English roses, but still a beauty.
‘Graham Thomas’ is also yellow and a venerable old rose being one of three of the first English roses available in the U.S. I’ll never forget it. I was pregnant with Megan, and I ordered the threesome, ‘Graham Thomas,’ Gertrude Jekyll,’ and ‘Heritage.’ I remember so well because that was the spring Bill decided to burn off the garden. He was trying to help, and to this day, I don’t know what he was thinking. Ashley, our oldest daughter saw him with the torch and alerted me, but alas, it was too late. I stood out there and sobbed.
It was partly hormones and partly the loss of $75 in roses. That was a lot of money at the time.
I am chuckling now at the memory. Well, since then, I replaced all three, but right now, I have ‘Graham Thomas’ and ‘Heritage.’ ‘Graham Thomas’ is the better of the two and tries to become a climber nearly every summer. He is planted next to the fair ballerina ‘Darcey Bussell.’ I think they make a nice pair. He’s also behind my Sambucus nigra, Black Lace® elderberry.
I still grow ‘Abraham Darby’ another early rose offered to Americans. It’s an old shrub, and I’m surprised it survived in spite of the RRD. It doesn’t bloom as often as newer varieties, but when it does in May, it is swoon-worthy. ‘Boscobel’ would probably be a better choice for today’s gardens. It has a similar coloration and is more floriferous.
This year, I’m buying ‘Imogen,’ ‘The Mayflower’ and ‘The Generous Gardener.’ I’ll let you know how they do. Last year, I planted ‘Boscobel,’ ‘The Poet’s Wife’ and ‘The Alnwick Rose.’ The jury is still out on them. It takes a couple of seasons for them to hit their stride.
To be successful with English roses and other grafted roses, it’s best to grow them on the east side of your house where they will get morning sun and some protection from our wind. I do have a few out in a bed out front, but I worry about them. It’s too windy and too cold in many years. Also, remember to feed your roses once a month. I really like Mills Magic Rose Mix. You can also use Jobe’s Organics rose fertilizer. It works well too. Basically, anything that has manure and alfalfa works great. In fact, after my initial feeding with Mills Magic, I go back each month and top dress my roses with alfalfa pellets and Back to Nature cotton burr compost.
Also, when I speak of not having blackspot on these roses, please note I use drip irrigation to water all of my gardens including the beds with roses. It and mulch are the best ways to keep water and soil off of the leaves.
I hope you enjoyed this happy rose post. Now, get out there and order a couple of English roses to know and grow for yourself if you’re so inclined.
One last thing, I received no compensation of any kind for this post. These are just my thoughts based on my garden experiences.