Garden Bloggers Bloom Day in May: roses are red . . . and yellow too

A few years ago, three probably, I began adding red roses to the spring symphony. I also added several yellow. I like red and yellow in the garden, and honestly, in roses, these two colors have become my favorites in our sunlight–with the exception of Pink Knockout®. I do love that hot pink of single Pink Knockout®, but I felt like the garden needed more depth of color, and red roses provide it.

Rosa ‘Cramoisi Superieur’ which has taken a slow road to China in growth. This is its third summer.


Until recently, you hardly find decent yellow roses in the marketplace which could withstand Oklahoma’s fickle forecast, but, lately, there’s been a change in the wind.

I have an older shrub from 1984 named ‘April Moon’ by Dr. Griffith Buck, one of my favorite hybridizers. It makes me sad I never met Dr. Buck. I would have loved to talk roses with him. After all, where would my garden be without ‘Carefree Beauty?’

Rosa ‘April Moon’ a lovely soft yellow.

A later yellow is R. ‘Radsun,’ a/k/a Carefree Sunshine™, a superior performer in the tiered bed where she sits next to ‘Ogon’ spirea and Miscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus’ grass. I like this grouping very much. I think Carefree Sunshine™ likes her spot because, she is planted in the lower tier, and receives plenty of water from runoff.

Carefree Sunshine™ has worked well here.
‘Grandma’s Yellow Rose’ I find it so hard to take photos of yellow and white roses. They always want to be overexposed even in shade. If someone has a tip, please let me know. This rose sports a very bright and gold yellow hue.

‘Grandma’s Yellow Rose’ is new here this spring. I have one in a container, and one in the ground. So far, it likes the container best. Roses need at least a couple of seasons in place to get a good idea of their disease resistance and overall happiness. Right now, ‘Grandma’s Yellow Rose’ is not happy, indicated by all the leaves lost to blackspot. However, she is settling in, and we will give her time.

R. ‘Meikanaro’ a/k/a Sunshine Daydream is my other new yellow cultivar. It seems healthy, but again, it will take two seasons at least to determine this for sure. It joins ‘Buff Beauty’ which has been a part of my garden for years and years, but now seems to be failing. It makes me sad. On the other hand, ‘Graham Thomas’ is still going strong. I have to cut it back all the time because it wants to climb in our heat.

Is there anything prettier than ‘Graham Thomas’ in full bloom?

As far as red roses go, I only have one new cultivar, ‘Darcy Bussell,’ a David Austin, who graces my blog a great deal. She is a lovely thing, and yes, she gets blackspot now and again, but not so much it harms her. This is her third season since I began testing her and another David Austin of the yellow persuasion, ‘Molineaux.’ The latter got off to a difficult start, but now she has hit her stride. I love the complicated blooms with just a touch of pink. Notice the picotee edges on the petals. Scrumptious.

‘Molineaux’ a David Austin rose which I’m beginning to like. All of my David Austin’s are planted near the house on the east side to get the most protection from heat and cold.
Rosa ‘Valentine’ with her weak stems that can’t always hold up her beautiful blooms.

I bought ‘Valentine’ because a lady in the Oklahoma Horticultural Society, I can’t remember who, said she was the finest and best smelling rose in her garden. Well, she has weak stems which I find very irritating, but she does smell divine. She is also a very, lovely red.

‘Dame de Coeur’ is the most luscious red.

Rosa ‘Dame de Coeur’ has certainly stolen my heart with her deep, dark red flowers and fantastic scent. According to the Antique Rose Emporium website, ‘Dame de Coeur‘ was created from the parentage of ‘Peace’ and ‘Independence.’ In my garden, it took her about three years to really settle in, and I had to work very hard during the summer of 2011, or the “Summer of Hell” as I like to call it, to keep all of my new roses alive. My faithfulness to her was rewarded with these splendid blooms.

Another shot of ‘Dame de Coeur’ because she’s just so darned pretty. Maybe I shouldn’t have planted her in front of the hot pink ‘Karl Rosenfield’ peony. Can we say color clash?

Other than two roses in the entire bunch, I don’t grow grafted stock. Out here in the country, I need tough roses which survive the most brutal weather. Those of you who live in Oklahoma and Texas know what I’m talking about. So, the first thing is to choose the best plant possible. Buy plants locally and research them. Don’t fall for the first pretty bloom you see. With smart phones, you can  scan QR codes on tags with plants in the box stores, and TLC Nursery also has this technology on some of their plants. Or, you can Google roses and read a bit before you buy.

Winner’s Circle™, another of Dr. William Radler’s creations. This shot was taken in 2010 before we stained the house.

These roses you see on my blog died all the way back to a foot high after we were negative 17F one winter ago. I thought I’d lost ‘Cl. Cecile Bruner,’ but even she appears to be making a comeback. Because my roses aren’t grafted, they can come back from their roots. If you love grafted Hybrid Teas, go ahead and buy them, but place them close to your home where they will have protection from the heat, cold and wind. Don’t plant them on the north side. Try the east side of your house, and you will have better luck.

Rosa ‘Darcey Bussell,’ a David Austin. Isn’t she lovely?

Each spring, I walk the garden and assess the damage. Then, I prune away anything dead on the shrub. Dead canes invite infection and pestilence. So, if you haven’t done that, go ahead. Your rose, which is simply a shrub, will thank you for it.

As for feeding, I get a lot of questions about what I fertilize my roses with and how much. Every year I change it up. It’s not necessarily a brand of fertilizer which yields good results. Instead, it’s what is in the fertilizer. I use all natural products, and yes, they work. Roses are heavy feeders, and they need to be fed three or four times a season to perform at their optimum level. I’ve used Mills Magic Rose Mix, and this year, I’m trying Jobe’s Organics after I heard an excellent talk from them last year at Garden 2 Blog. Just for the record, they sent some samples of fertilizer last year, and I bought four bags this spring. I want to see if my plants will have more vigor with  the combination of bacteria, mycorrhizal fungi and Archaea in their organic fertilizer. In the past, I brewed up a mix of alfalfa, manure and other good stuff in a large trashcan for my roses. So, I do a lot of different things, and the plants respond to any good care they receive. The best thing you can do though is plant them in the right spot and feed them like the little Divas they are.

With all of these red and yellow roses and many more in shades of pink, you can see why I’d worry about Rose Rosette Disease. If I lose them, I’ll have a lot of space to fill in my garden and in my heart.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day is hosted each month by my dear friend, Carol at May Dreams Gardens. If you head over to her site, you’ll find lots of people who have shared their blooms on this day, and perhaps, you’ll make new friends in the process.

One more thing: most of these pics were taken April, but I’d already written most of this post, and we’re on our second round of blooms. Weird spring, but grateful for no late freeze. Happy rose growing everyone.


  1. Hi, Dee, Lovely post. Synchronistically I was thinking the identical thing yesterday–it’s the red and yellow roses I enjoy most in my garden! This morning I gave thanks for the Dr. Hueys that have been here for decades, I’m sure, being the root stock for some rose I will never see, long ago overtaken, (Hahaha.) 🙂 They are so longlasting, simple and lovely. I wonder how they would do in Oklahoma? You have a wonderful collection and your love shines through each one. Thank you for the Rose Tour! xoxo

  2. Debbie says:

    This is my first year in planting knockout roses. I bought 2 red, 2 yellow and 1 pink and I want to put them beside my red brick garage. Would like some advice on how to arrange them in color and also wether they should be staggered or in a straight line. Thanks in advance for any advice given.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Hi Debbie, thanks for stopping by. Since you only bought one pink, I would place it in the middle. Personally, I would have bought one yellow and two pink because yellow makes a lovely transition color. You should definitely stagger them. Nature never does anything in a straight line. Would love to see pictures later. 🙂 Dee

  3. I also added Graham Thomas to my garden this spring. Have you ever tried Austin’s Wm. Shakespeare 2000? It’s a really tough rose. It survived being dug up by one of my dogs three times and drug around the yard in her mouth, too much shade, and is now thriving in a sunny spot protected from the dog. I’m also using Dr Earth rose food this year and gave my roses a shot of the fertilizer for clay soils sold by John and Bob’s. Love your roses, esp. the one on the trellis. 🙂

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Thank you so much. No, I’ve never grown William Shakespeare. I had a good friend who did though, and she liked it very much. I’m always interested in what people feed their roses. So many plants don’t need much food, but roses definitely do. Daylilies also perform better too.

  4. Les says:

    Have you tried the Sunny Knock Out? I find that it is easy to grow, has some of the nicest of all the Knock Out foliage, but the color seems more ivory than yellow once the buds open.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      No, Les, I never bought Sunny Knockout although I see it in gardens around her a lot. It fades very fast to an almost white in my sunlight, but yes, it’s a proven performers. Happy late Spring. 🙂

  5. Melissa says:

    Beautiful roses! I like yellow ones too! I saw a yellow knockout for the first time at the nursery the other day. Good advice about feeding roses as well-guess I need to be feeding mine more, they are kinda puny!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Melissa, feed those roses three times this season, and you’ll see quite a difference. Thank you for stopping by my little blog.

  6. Dee, I’m a fan of the Bucks roses too and can’t believe we don’t have Carefree Sunshine – so pretty. I also can’t believe your roses started blooming in April – that must be early? Ours are all budded up and I wouldn’t be surprised if they give us a late May peak instead of a mid June one. Weird spring is right. Have fun in Asheville – I wish I could go!!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Kris, you probably don’t have Carefree Sunshine because it’s part of the Knockout family and not a Buck rose. Although Buck named some of his roses carefree many other companies now do that too. Mine peaked mid-April which was so early. Oh well.

  7. Bumblelush says:

    Beautiful roses! And ‘Graham Thomas’ is indeed a gorgeous flower. Happy GBBD!

  8. Greggo says:

    Dee, in regards to overexposure. One good thing to do is photograph early in the morning or late evening when the sun isn’t quite as sharp. Also try using different aperture settings of the same image. And them review later and see what works better in regards to exposure. Nice compositions. Happy GBBD. I’m still taking you up on that cup of coffee!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Thanks for the tips Greggo. I really appreciate them.

  9. Dee the roses are gorgeous and especially the yellow ones. I have one yellow that I love. Happy Bloom Day

  10. Gail says:

    Dee, I love your roses and thank you for helping me re-embrace them. There are several beautiful native roses that will be fab compliments to my wildflowers. xoxogail

  11. Frances says:

    Your roses are mouth watering, dear Dee. I am partial to the yellows, but have very few growing here. I think that needs to be remedied. Graham Thomas is so beautiful, I have a pillar that might be just the place for him. Thanks for the good info on the care and feeding, too. Own root is the way to go.

  12. VP says:

    I loved your mention of Graham Thomas. A few years ago I did some voluntary work at our National Trust HQ in their parks and gardens department. Graham Thomas was their gardens advisor for many years and I kept finding archived letters of advice and plant lists sent to various Head Gardeners of the historic properties and gardens the National Trust protects. It was like walking in the footsteps of greatness.

    Have a wonderful time at the Fling in Asheville this weekend – so sad to not be there but Chelsea Flower Show (and paid garden writing work) calls!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      VP, that is a priceless story. To hold in your hands something the master rosarian wrote is wonderful. I would have read every word. Thank you for sharing it with me. I so admire him.

  13. noel says:


    thanks for the garden tour, i love all your roses, wish they could grow better for me in my area, the sunshine daydream is a real dazzler for me 🙂

  14. Such beautiful roses. I have so little room in sunny areas here, that aren’t deer infested.
    Maybe if the veggie garden keeps letting me down, it will become a rose garden. I love that ‘Grandma’s Yellow Rose’. It’s stunning.
    I know what you mean about photographing yellow. And, red….. There must be a secret to it.
    Happy Bloomday!

  15. Sonia Kirk says:

    Think you have persuaded me to add some yellow roses! Your rose garden is beautiful!! Love all the selections you have chosen!!
    Gorgeous garden! I also have a climbing Winners Circle that does wonderfully in our garden! Beautiful post!
    Miss Bloomers

  16. Roberta says:

    A popular yellow climber here in TX is the Lady Banks rose. It’s thorn-less and climbs, is fragrant and yellow. What’s not to like? I’d like to introduce a rose to my garden and am considering the Lady Banks but I do like the Molineaux that you showed.

    Thanks for the link on the QR codes. I didn’t know they held so much information.

  17. sandy lawrence says:

    I just bought my first David Austin rose, a climber called ‘Night Owl’. It has a first bud and I can’t wait for it to open. Planting it on a trellis on the East side. I’ve heard good things about David Austin roses. Thanks for the rose info and inspiration. Yours are lovely. Think I have to have a ‘Graham Thomas’!

  18. What a fabulous wealth of information, thank you Dee!! I am book marking this page, as roses are more and more on my radar lately. Gorgeous photos, too, as always. Bloom wise, my fave here might be carefree sunshine. So fresh and simple and happy. I really like that plain wood trellis behind your climbing Winners Circle. So pretty. xoxo

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Thanks Marie. I try. Carefree Sunshine is very easy to grow as long as she has plenty of food and water.

  19. joey says:

    Such a lovely post, Dee! I envy your Carefree Sunshine (is it a shrub rose) and have Carefree ‘Beauty’ … a beautiful pink and need replacements but can’t find them anymore. Knockouts seem to be a replacement. Your climbing Winner’s Circle is a beauty!

  20. CurtissAnn says:

    Oh, honey-bunny, thank you for sharing your beauty! My heart leaps at the Graham Thomas. I miss mine. Maybe I will, after all, learn to grow roses here in Alabama, although this year is not a good indication. I have done nothing with them. My grandmother’s rose bushes are naked! Black spot. You know I don’t want to spray. So, I’ll have to learn how to care for them here. !!!!!! clapping for your beautiful garden.

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