The hardy, fragrant Roses in my garden:
One of the first roses to bloom in the late Spring/early Summer is Rosa Glauca. I grew it in partial shade in Longmont, in full sun here in Berthoud. It’s a species rose that produces small hips, which I leave for the birds. It’s a zone 5 rose, but acts much hardier and vigorous. I brought a root division with me when we moved, and it got very large, very quickly. I may have to divide it and add it to the hedgerow we are planting in the back.
Here we see the beautiful arching form of Rosa Glauca in partial shade in my Longmont garden. It’s going crazy here in Berthoud, sending up many new shoots (which it never did in Longmont)… This would be a great rose to grow against a fence. It has unusual blue-green foliage. Pretty!
Rosa Rugosa is next! A super durable and productive plant that gets quite large (6′ x 6′). These roses can definitely be trimmed and shaped, but I planted mine in an area that I wanted to fill up. Produces large hips once it matures and gets established. Fragrant! Continual bloom all summer, zone 3. Important note: the rugosas and other old roses do not like chemical fertilizers such as Miracle Grow. I always stick with organic supplements such as compost, rabbit and other organic manure, and Age Old Grow Organics plant food.
Lyda Rose is a modern zone 5 rose that grows to about 5′ with an arching form. Blooms form in clusters throughout the summer and are much loved by bees. Also exceptionally fragrant! Charming! Also wonderful to distill into a hydrosol.
Apothecary Rose! Dating back to the 1300’s, this is a zone 4, exceptionally fragrant rose also known as Rosa gallica officinalis. For a once-blooming rose, it is very impressive! I brought this one from Longmont, too. Last year it didn’t look so good and got powdery mildew, which I had never seen on any of my roses. Did a little research, and found that consistent watering + some special nutrients would make the rose much more resistant and vigorous. It worked! I added banana peels, coffee grounds and egg shells to the mulch around this bush through the winter and spring. It has been super floriferous for weeks on end. Love this rose, and highly recommended it for Colorado and other locales. The flowers make an amazing hydrosol and a delightful infused honey. I’m also drying some for tea blends, which are divine!
The bees favor the Apothecary roses over other flowers blooming in my garden. I’ve been watching every morning… Sometimes there are as many as four bees per flower! I watched them waiting in line to get their turn. Who can blame them? So fragrant!
Just one of the many bowls of Apothecary roses I have harvested this June. I always leave at least 7 roses on the plant for the bees. Apothecary rose petals retain their fragrance and flavor much longer than many other roses.
Morden Sunrise, a Canadian zone 3 rose, is one of our favorites! Beautiful color and form, continual bloom, incredibly hardy, and here in Berthoud, very fragrant!
Rose catalogs indicate this rose grows to 3′ x 3′. That’s in Zone 3. Here in Zone 5, my rose is easily 4′ tall and almost as wide. I expect it will be even taller next summer. LOVE!! The below photo was taken in Longmont, where this rose got a few hours of afternoon shade. It bloomed all summer if promptly deadheaded, looking much like it does in this photo.
Here is Morden Sunrise in Berthoud where it receives full sun. We amended the soil similarly in both gardens, with manure, rock dust and mycorrhizae. Here in full sun it is COVERED in roses, and is also very fragrant, especially in the morning. The roses last a long time, and change color, thus the sunrise reference. So beautiful!
One of my first “old roses”, Rose de Rescht. VERY fragrant, very productive, quite hardy. This is my favorite rose for infusing in honey. Delicious! So even though it’s a zone 5 rose, it comes back strong year after year and blooms all summer. The roses are small, dense and perfect. Here in Berthoud, this rose is also sending out a lot of shoots and runners. Must be all that rabbit manure!
Perfect little Rose de Rescht.
I collect these roses every morning. Bees don’t seem too attracted to them – they have a very small center and the petals are tightly arranged.
This year, I combined Rose de Rescht with Apothecary Roses and distilled a beautiful, deliciously fragrant hydrosol.
Other roses that are getting established in the back are:
Lemon Zen, a noisette rose, continual bloom, cinnamon fragrance, 5-8′ tall x 3-4′ wide
Moje Hammarberg – a zone 3 rugosa, 3-4′ x 3-4′, very fragrant, large tasty hips
Darlow’s Enigma – a large rambling rose, blooms heavily spring – frost, fragrant
Purple Pavement – zone 3 rugosa, 3′ x 3′, repeats, fragrant, hips
Rosa chinensis – zone 5, large continual bloom, drought tolerant, showy orange hips
Rosa canina – a zone 3 species, once blooming rose, arching form, rose hips
My recommendation for growing roses in Colorado: best choices are the hardiest ones that can withstand rapid temperature changes, cold winters and hot summers, namely old roses and zone 3 or 4 roses. I have planted a few zone 5 roses recently, locating them in the warmest sections of the yard. Hopefully they will be sturdy enough to make it through our changing climate fluctuations down the road.
When planting zone 5 roses, make sure the soil is deep and rich, and add protection in the winter. Some zone 5 roses, such as Rose de Rescht, will return each year with great vigor. Some of the more vigorous roses do send out root runners, so plan ahead.
And make sure that at least a few of your roses produce rose hips!
I am growing Moje Hammarberg specifically because it produces large hips. Once you have tasted rose hip jam, you will understand what I am talking about! Rose hips are highly nutritious and Euell Gibbons’ recipe for raw rose hip jam allows all of the flavor and nutrients to come through. That recipe and others in another blog!
And remember: Organic gardens enriched with compost, rock dust and mycorrhizae create sustainable soil that becomes better over time, and the plants that grow there will have more to offer us in the way of nutrition, beauty and longevity.
Garden on, and garden organically!
Blessings to you and your gardens,