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Some of our best performers have been unknown pass-alongs.
First, there are the "NOID" pink shrub roses, which I believe were passed along from Aunt Cathy (but I may be mistaken...) and which I've never been able to identify. I'm not even sure what type of rose they are. (However, based on a quick bit of research, it seems likely this is a polyantha rose similar to 'The Fairy'.)
These roses tend to want to grow to about 3' to 4' tall and wide. They rebloom, but the biggest wave of bloom comes in late spring/early summer. (They're blooming right now, in fact, but I don't have any photos from this year. The flowers grow in large clusters; the buds remind me of candelabras in their branching. Each individual flower is small (2" or less, I think), but the clusters amplify their visual impact. The flowers are a cool pink that fades gradually over the days they're open, giving an old-fashioned, watercolor effect, and they're tightly packed with petals. If they have any fragrance, I don't think I've ever noticed it. It's a fairly thorny rose and likes to grab onto your clothes when you're pruning it (or any other time you venture too close!).
I've found these plants eager to duplicate themselves (by rose standards). I'm not sure how many pieces I started out with, but it's not uncommon to find a new "baby" rose growing near one of the parent plants-- probably where I've cut through the root with my space-- and I've had great success digging up these new plants and transplanting them around the garden. They now grow in several spots around our yard.
Since I have no photos of these roses from this year, here are a couple photos from years past:
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Another pass-along from the same time period (not too long after our house was built, so probably 2004-ish) was a climbing type of rose. Again, I know little about it, though I've tried to ID it a time or two. It has a climbing habit but isn't trained on anything, so it just meanders over some evergreen foundation shrubs and sprawls against a wall of the house.
It may have a light rebloom (I'm not sure...), but the biggest bloom comes in spring. The flowers are larger than the other NOID pink rose-- maybe an average of 2.5" per bloom-- and tend to be slightly darker pink. These flowers do have a classic rose fragrance. It has had one or two really good years; other times, it doesn't bloom quite as much as I might hope. I'm sure I'm not giving it ideal conditions and treatment-- partly due to an ignorance of what roses want and need, but also because I'm lazy.
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We have a 'Joseph's Coat' planted on the western side of our rose arbor (which is my oh-so-creative name for the arbor Donald built for our main gate). It did really well for a year-- maybe two. Since then, it's gotten scraggly and sparse.
I've been waiting a few years to prune it, as I'd read that you shouldn't prune climbing roses too enthusiastically until they'd had time to settle in. However, I'm really not sure it will make a difference, at this point. I'll definitely try giving it a good, hard prune this winter, though.
The flowers are beautiful. I love the way they change color as the blooms age! It does rebloom through the summer, too (though it needs deadheading for best performance). My problem with this rose is how the canes keep dying and how terrible the foliage looks. I suspect it's not the best rose for this humid climate-- especially if, like me, you aren't willing to put in the time and effort of regular spraying. (I'm just not going to do it! Life is too short, and I barely keep up with my weeding and deadheading!)
One other big negative with this rose is the thorns. They are absolutely everywhere, and they are mean thorns. I've found the canes to be brittle, too, which presents some challenges when training the rose on an arbor.
But again, the flowers can be gorgeous. They are double and start out yellow/orange, then gradually darken to pink and red-- all very warm shades. It's a sight to behold when the blooms range from yellow to red in one cluster. Oh, and it is fragranced-- a nice, fruity perfume that's strong enough to catch your attention as you walk past (on good days).
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One of our newest roses is 'Peggy Martin', a.k.a. "the Katrina rose". It has an interesting history-- worth googling, if you're not familiar with it. I planted this rose in 2016, on the east side of the rose arbor, and it's done very well so far. It does get leaf spot and there's defoliation, but I've come to accept that as part of growing roses in the Deep South. (And as part of being a lazy gardener who won't bother with sprays.)
There's one big bloom in spring when the whole thing is dripping with flowers-- and then (if I recall correctly) there's rebloom. I can't recall if this rebloom takes the form of smaller waves of bloom through the rest of the growing season or one more bloom in late summer/early fall-- and I've read plant descriptions that mention both types... In any case, there should be more flowers, sometime!
The flowers start out a medium pink and gradually fade as they age, giving the plant a shaded, antique look. Each flower is fairly small, but there are so many of them that the plant will be covered at peak bloom. (The photos below are all from before peak bloom. I'm sure I have more, better photos to come in some future blog post, as I work my way through all those photos I've taken!)
It's practically thornless, and the canes seem fairly flexible, which is helpful when you're trying to train it up a trellis or along a fence.
Again, we haven't had the rose that long, yet, but so far, I'm very pleased and would like to try some cuttings to grow it elsewhere in the garden. If it has one shortcoming, it would be that it lacks any discernible scent.
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Ok, time to wrap this post up! I don't have new photos of the rest of our (non-KO) roses, but I can briefly mention them (and leave you to look up the details of named plants, as desired).
Let's see... There's the "Too-Red Rose". It's another NOID that came from Mom years and years back and survived my neglect and ignorance and at least two transplants. It's still alive and kicking with such pretty ruffled RED blooms.
From the same time period, there's a tiny white miniature rose also from Mom. It's not doing quite as well as the Too-Red Rose, but I give it lots of credit for even being alive. This rose has also survived neglect and less-than-ideal conditions, but I can't recommend it by name because I don't know its name.
A more recent arrival in the garden is 'Zéphirine Drouhin'. It was planted at the same time as 'Peggy Martin', I think. So far, I'd recommend 'Peggy Martin' instead... ZD doesn't seem to keep her leaves very well, and she has been very reserved with her bloom. The flowers we have seen are nice enough. I've only noticed her scent when I've taken the trouble to get close and purposefully sniff. All in all, I'm somewhat disappointed, but I hope she may do better if I can remember to take better care of her. Maybe she needs more attention...
We have two 'Nearly Wild' roses. I can no longer remember if Mom gave us two or if I grew the second from a cutting... or if the second one "volunteered" next to the first one. I've had mixed success with them. They've been better than they are now, but they're still not bad. I think I probably could be handling them better. I'll try to prune them this winter/next spring, because I suspect it's been too long since the last time, and it might rejuvenate them. I do admire their form, and when they bloom, they are certainly very pretty. No scent, as far as I've noticed.
Before I planted 'Joseph's Coat', we got an unmarked rose that we thought might be JC. It wasn't, and I'm not sure what it is... It's a weird, leggy thing that usually gives us just one or two large coral blooms a year. I eventually moved it over to the garage, outside the fenced yard, so it's fairly well neglected. I'm surprised it's still alive, to be honest. (Ugh, I'm a terrible rose-mother! (g)) It might be a hybrid tea rose, but I really don't know enough about roses to do more than guess...
We briefly grew an 'Apricot Drift' rose, but it didn't do well at all. I'm not sure if it was something I did wrong or just the wrong rose for our garden, but it struggled and then died. Oh well, that's gardening!
The very most recent rose to come to our garden is one from Granny L.'s garden, so for that reason alone it is special to me. I don't know the name, unfortunately. It's a shrub, currently about three feet tall, I'd estimate. The leaves are dark green and the flowers are creamy white and double (or full? haven't counted and am not sure). I don't remember much of a fragrance, but there might be some slight scent. I think it might bloom off and on throughout the year. So far, it's seemed very healthy and hearty.
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I think that does it for roses. If I've missed any, apologies to the forgotten. ;o)