In 2000, visions of blossoms danced in my head, and I planted two climbing ‘Joseph’s Coat’ roses on the East side of my house. The border in this photo didn’t exist. Like everything else, it evolved over time. Instead, imagine three tiers of rotting railroad ties that we eventually replaced with a stamped concrete wall and formed concrete steps. At the end of the stone path, is an iron bench painted in a rust color. As a focal point, it blends in too much with the landscape, but that’s because I wanted it to be a kind of secret spot to linger where the children couldn’t find me. I take my iced tea and a book out there and hide in the shrubs.
Why ‘Joseph’s Coat?’ I’ve always been attracted to bright yellows, pinks and reds. In that respect, I think Christopher Lloyd and I would agree. However, after reading about how he eliminated his historic rose bed to replace it with tropical plants, I am sure he wouldn’t approve of my rose infatuation. My devotion isn’t logical. Of all the plants I grow, the roses have the worst temperament. They can be fussy, disease ridden, insect magnets, and they eat like teenage boys on Super Bowl Sunday. Recently, I heard from a friend in the Oklahoma Horticulture Society that Oklahoma now has Japanese Beetles. I hope not.
I thought the multi-hued ‘Joseph’s Coats’ would fill the wall with blooms and fragrance. I was wrong. They are pathetic climbers, barely making four to five feet, and their scent is slight. They are supposed to be remontant (repeat flowering,) but they are content with a moderate flush in the spring followed by a summer of blackspot and leaf fall. The question I always ask myself in February during pruning is: why don’t I just dig them up and throw them to a galaxy far, far away?
Instead of hastening their demise, I surround them with other roses to enhance the color scheme. I have three yellow ‘Golden Showers’ climbers, three claret red ‘Altissimo’ climbing Hybrid Teas, and a small cherry red ‘Skyrocket,’ a Hybrid Musk. These roses are alternated against the log wall on trellises built by, you guessed it, HH. In the picture, you can just see one ‘Joseph’s Coat’ in the center, its blooms dangling toward the ground.
On the other side of the stone path, the rose in front is ‘Buff Beauty’ a Hybrid Musk from 1939, which, to me, looks a lot like the Austin rose ‘Graham Thomas.’ GT is a little darker and holds its petals longer, but it isn’t as carefree as ‘Buff Beauty.’ Behind BB, is the aptly named cerise pink ‘Footloose.’ It is nearly always blackspot resistant. Love that. Described as a Ground-cover rose, it is footloose and fancy free with my space. At four feet tall by four feet wide, I have to whack it back to keep it out of the path.
This is ‘Golden Slippers,’ a Floribunda that needs no spraying. One thing I’ve done for the last few years is replace most of the disease prone roses with disease resistant ones like those in the ‘Knockout’ series. In this bed, I have the original ‘Knockout’ (shown below) and a red ‘Double Knockout’ which I’m testing to replace the two remaining ‘Europeana’ Floribundas. ‘Europeana’ is another rose with beautiful blooms, but the shrub supporting those blooms is ill. Not only does it get blackspot and mildew, but it also suffers from tremendous die back in the winter, and this is in a border protected from the wind.
When I write of rose performance, please remember that I’m only concerned with the roses in my region, which is USDA Zone 7(a.) I can only speak to our hot, humid summers and our changeable weather and its effect on various plants. Maybe ‘Europeana’ performs better in France or Alaska. I don’t know.
All of these roses have their own personalities. ‘Altissimo’ likes to find the sky and grows straight upward twelve to thirteen feet. It would make a great rose to train on a porch pillar or on a large tuteur. It’s not as great where I’ve placed it under an eave. ‘Golden Showers’ needs lots of food to maintain its strength. ‘Knockout’ needs nothing at all except water and a little compost. ‘Joseph’s Coat’ and ‘Europeana’ need gene transplants. ‘Sophy’s Rose’ a David Austin, has petals which resemble a camellia. I grow it simply for this shape alone, and I put up with its idiosyncrasies. Wouldn’t you for these blooms?
You may have noticed that most of my roses are not Hybrid Teas, the handicapped class of the rose family, inbred until they became the teacup poodles of the rose world. I maintain more than 90 roses, along with four flower and vegetable gardens. I don’t have time for too much bad behavior. However, I make a few exceptions for very special roses. I think everyone who grows plants does.
Kris at Blithewold
I’m impressed with your devotion to roses – I too am a glutton for punishment and although I don’t have a lot of patience for an under-performing rose, I’m more likely to want to try another rose in its place than my coworkers. Like Annie, I love R. mutabilis and a new yellow favorite is ‘Morning has broken’. 2 years – no blackspot! (The Diva might like it) Thanks for stopping by Blithewold – I’m glad to know you’re here!
Hi Kris, thanks for the heads up about ‘Morning Has Broken.’ I love the name. It reminds of daylily names. So poetic. I might give it a try. Once spring begins, I’m doing a post on my most disease resistant roses. I love Mutabilis too. Like I wrote Annie, it took awhile to catch on, probably because it’s a little cold for it here. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I love yours.~~Dee
Annie in Austin
Ninety of any plant seems like a lot unless you’re the person in love with them – then it’s barely enough! I like the way the roses are all cozying up to each other along that path, Dee!
There were a few unnamed roses here when we came and several mini-roses came to me as gifts – the only roses I’ve bought myself were one that was supposed to be ‘Therese Bugnet’ but is not, two Mutabilis and a ‘Julia Child’. That ‘Buff Beauty’ tempts me! I didn’t realize it was more carefree than ‘Graham Thomas’, so beloved back in Illinois.
Thanks for the rose-petalled stroll!
Annie at the Transplantable Rose
Annie, nice to hear from you. I think I’m good with 90. I’m getting a few bushes to try for a couple of companies. I may finally replace the horrid ‘Joseph Coat’ roses with them. I do love Mutabilis. It took a long to settle in here because it’s a little cold for it. Now, I’ve found a spot it likes, and it does great. It doesnt’ get big though like the ones you all have down in Austin. I think you would like ‘Buff Beauty.’~~Dee
Hi, Dee, Wow, it’s wonderful to see some roses on a blog at this time of year! Inspiring! There are several roses on this property–old ones and I have no idea what they are. In spring I will photograph and stage a contest to see who can tell me what I have inherited! I’m impressed with your Rose Knowledge! Your path is beautiful! Good for you for creating a quiet spot for tea and book. (Is it Sweet Tea??)
Kathryn, I thought we needed some color during these cold days. I can’t wait for the contest. My knowledge is due to lots of hard knocks and thorn scratches.~~Dee
I’ll take roses any day. I don’t know much about them. I currently just have a mini rose in a container. I have heard a lot about the Knock out series. While I don’t know alot about roses I am planing on making a natural fence with the knock outs. How do they come, Climbers or not?
Curtis, so far, the ‘Knockouts’ come as bushes only. The original ‘Knockout’ is red and has a flat cup shaped bloom. The others are bright Pink, Blushing (which looks white in our hot sun,) ‘Sunny’ (yellow, but will probably turn white here), Rainbow, Double (red) and Double Pink. You have a lot of choice. The original ones get about four to five high and four feet wide. You can go to the Knockout site. for more info and photos.~~Dee
I’ve always admired ‘Joseph’s Coat’ but everything I’ve ever read by people who grow it echoes what you’ve said here. It does have a pretty bloom though. Your path is really pretty.
Kylee, don’t invest in it. Another rose with the bloom striation and coloring is ‘Rio Samba,’ but it’s not a climber. It is a Hybrid Tea, but a very strong one with nonstop blooming. It does need some protection as it is a little tender.~~Dee
Hi dee !
I may be a bit rushed here but had to stop by your site and have a peek !
I love your rose conversation .. I am trying once more with some different climbers classed in zone 4 ..for safety sake and some of my sanity ? .. I am zone 5b and have on and off hate love relationship with my roses .. I have Mordern Sunrise compact shrub which I adore .. any rose bred in Manitoba is a winner for me !
The two climbers I ordered ..”Blossomtime” and “Orange Velvet” .. both heavily scented which is what I am looking for desperately .. roses without scent .. I can’t grasp that concept anymore ! .. give me smothering scent to lose myself in when I need a boost working in the garden !
Your pictures and posts are wonderful !
“I’LL BE BACK ! haha
Thanks, Joy. What about William Baffin? I’ve heard great things about him. He offers lots of blooms, and he’s a Canadian. I know his scent is slight, but if you mixed him with the others?~~Dee
Joy : )
90 roses! Wow! I’d love to see them in bloom. I just bought my first Knockout rose, a red one. It doesn’t look like much at the moment, but I have high hopes for it.
You can just come back with me from the Spring Fling. No, they won’t be showing off until the time period between the end of April and the middle of May. It all depends on freezes. I have all of the ‘Knockouts’ except the double pink one and the yellow. Think the rose breeders will send them to me? LOL.~~Dee
Roses are after all the queens of the garden. What lovely photos of your rose garden. That looks like a mighty thorny path if you’re wearing shorts!
It’s a little narrow, I’ll admit, but it’s not too bad unless you try to back out. Then, the rose thorns will grab you. Like I said, it’s a good place to hide. :-)~~Dee
Hmmmmm, now that I think of it, my Joseph’s Coat has failed to dazzle me. Will keep an eye on it.
Ninety roses? Four veg and flower beds? You are NUTS woman!
The veggies and flowers are in the same beds. I grow them together. And, yes, I am.~~Dee
Are those blooming right now. If they are I am going to die of envy.
Oh, no. Those are pictures of past springs. Some from April 2006 and one from May 2005. I’ll be interested to see how they do this year.~~Dee
Such beautiful photographs here in our drab time of the year! Can’t wait until we move, and you can help me select roses for my new place. Thank you for the info and beautiful shot of the David Austin ‘Sophy’s Rose’. My grandmother’s antique rose resembles this. Both the name and the bloom appeal to me.
Hey girl. ‘Sophy’s Rose’ isn’t bad, but she does get blackspot. I still find her worth growing. I don’t want you to move, but I understand. We’ll have fun with online shopping. Love ya, Dee
Dee: What a gorgeous garden! Love the roses and your obvious devotion to them. I can almost smell some fragrance!
Thanks, Layanee. Love your name BTW. It does smell very good here in April and May.~~Dee