Get a whiff of some great romantic rose options | THE COMPLEAT HOME GARDENER

Gardeners, start your engines. Bare-root roses, trees, shrubs, strawberry plants and rhubarb roots can be found for sale at local nurseries and garden centers and now is the time to dig in.

Every garden needs at least one rose plant and even if your heart has been broken by a dismal looking rose in the past that is no reason to give up on America’s favorite flower.

The romance of the rose is documented throughout recorded history but here is what modern-day rose growers have to say about the new disease-resistant and easy-to-grow roses.

From Anthony Tesselaar, the rose king from drought-stricken Australia that gave us the easy care Flower Carpet roses.

“ I love roses and everything that they represent. Love, beauty and even passion. It is a plant that draws you to it, that loves to flower – like a peacock showings its feathers – a rose in bloom will make you happy and feel good to be in its presence.”

The Flower Carpet and other drought- and disease-resistant shrub roses have changed the way we care for roses and how many communities now landscape their public spaces. After decades of evergreen and ever boring islands of junipers, the Pacific Northwest now blooms with roses along our highways, roses in traffic circles and, most importantly, roses are back in front yards, draping over picket fences and in back yards flowering in patio pots. It was the Flower Carpet rose that made “no spray” organic gardeners return to rose growing.

If you’ve never grown roses or been a failure in the past, make this the year you plant a Flower Carpet rose. The brand comes in various shades of pink, red, white and my personal favorite, a rich gold amber. These hard-to-kill roses are most often sold in containers so you’ll find them for sale throughout the spring and into the summer. In my garden the Flower Carpet roses produce blooms right until December – with no spraying ever. Now that’s a nice pretty nice promise for a rose garden.

Where to find Flower Carpet Roses

Local nurseries, home center stores or visit the website

The charm of an English Garden often blooms with old fashioned roses and today those roses will most likely be the David Austin rose varieties. Here is what Michael Marriott, technical director and senior rosarian of David Austin Roses, has to say about these fragrant roses that the English adore.

“I have become a rather compulsive sniffer, and not just of roses. We want flowers to have a delightful fragrance. It’s a natural reaction when one sees a flower to lean over and sniff it. If there’s no fragrance you’re disappointed. I believe, however, this is doubly true of roses. With a rose the anticipation of fragrance is so strong. If a rose is not fragrant the disappointment is somehow deeper.”

Do your research if you want roses with a strong fragrance. Many of the hybrid tea roses have had the scents knocked right out of them as breeders focused on flower size and color. The David Austin roses are modern English roses bred for fragrance and ease of care and these hardy plants do very well here in our cool Northwest climate. The most fragrant rose in my garden is the double pink beauty called “Olivia Rose Austin” and one whiff of this David Austin rose will turn anyone into a compulsive sniffer.

Gardeners can order David Austin roses now from local nurseries (they come in a rainbow of colors), from the website at or just visit Amazon and click to have a dormant rose plant delivered to your doorstep.

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