Guest Author - Michelle Ullman
Nothing matches the beauty of a freshly opened rose blooming in your spring garden. The fragrance, the slow opening of the bud, the delicate petals; all combine to make up one of the most loved flowers in the world.
Roses come in many different types, referred to as classes. When selecting a rose at the nursery, you might be confused by the different labels identifying one rose as a hybrid tea, another as a floribunda and yet another as a David Austin rose.
While all the classes of roses have similar foliage, flowers and growing requirements, there are some differences between them. Once you know the definition of each rose class, you will better appreciate the wide variety of roses available.
Hybrid tea roses are the most popular class, and the one most people think of when they think of a rose. Hybrid teas are usually between 3 and 6 feet tall, and produce a pointed bud at the end of each cane that opens into a large flower with many petals.
Hybrid tea roses are the first of what are called modern roses, and were introduced in 1867 with a pale pink rose called La France. Hundreds of hybrid tea roses have been developed since then, with new ones coming out each year.
Some well-known hybrid tea roses are:
• Mr. Lincoln
• Double Delight
• Veteran's Honor
The blossoms of the floribunda class resemble hybrid teas, but are smaller, and many varieties have fewer petals. Floribundas produce clusters of 3 to 15 blooms per stem, rather than a single flower like the hybrid tea.
The floribunda bush is usually between 2 and 5 feet tall with a shrubby appearance, and does well as a casual hedge. These roses look especially good when planted in mass.
Some of the most beautiful floribundas include:
• Our Lady of Guadalupe
• Purple Tiger
Grandifloras were developed by crossing hybrid tea roses with floribundas, and are tall, elegant bushes reaching 6 feet tall. The blossoms resemble hybrid teas, but usually have shorter stems.
Considered a separate class of rose only in the United States, the term grandiflora was coined for the Queen Elizabeth rose introduced in 1954.
Some other popular grandifloras are:
• Gold Medal
• Wild Blue Yonder
• Glowing Peace
For sheer romance in the garden, it's hard to beat a climbing rose scrambling over an arch or trellis and covered with flowers. Climbers have long, arching canes that are pliable enough to be trained against a fence, up a pillar or over an arch.
The blossoms of climbing roses vary from thickly petaled flowers resembling peonies to open, single petaled blossoms, to climbing versions of popular hybrid teas and floribundas.
A few romantic climbers are:
• Candy Land
• Joseph's Coat
• Fourth of July
• Eden Climber
• All Ablaze
Very popular for container gardening, miniature roses are between 1 and 3 feet tall, with flowers that can range from 1/2 inch to 2 inches across.
Miniature roses are a very versatile class, with a huge range of colors, bloom styles and growth patterns. There are even climbing miniature roses.
With their smaller size, miniature roses are a perfect way to enjoy roses in your garden even if you don't have a lot of space.
There are thousands of beautiful miniatures, but some of the prettiest are:
• Bee's Knees
• Dancing Flame
• Glowing Amber
The term shrub rose is used as a catchall for a widely diverse range of roses that don't fit neatly into existing classes.
Landscape roses, which are specifically developed to be disease-resistant and easy care, are some of the most popular shrub roses. Look for:
• Carefree Delight
• White Meidiland
David Austin roses are also shrub roses, combining the form and fragrance of old roses with the modern color selection and repeat blooming of modern roses. David Austins have a delicate beauty that is spectacular when displayed in a vase or bouquet.
Some gorgeous David Austin roses are:
• Abraham Darby
• Crocus Rose
• Sharifa Asma
• Claire Austin
• Constance Spry
Whether you choose the traditional hybrid tea, the spectacular climbing rose, a beautiful miniature or a romantic David Austin, your garden will not be complete without at least one rose gracing it with incomparable fragrance and form.