Inside The New York Botanical Garden

The Right Roses for Our Region

Posted in Horticulture on September 16 2014, by Sonia Uyterhoeven

Sonia Uyterhoeven is NYBG‘s Gardener for Public Education.

Crimson Meidiland rose rosa
Rosa ‘Crimson Meidiland’

In September, our roses always look resplendent. We have a special fundraising party that takes place in the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden so it looks colorful and immaculate during a time when many other areas in the garden are winding down for the season.

I often have people stop and talk to me about roses when I am down working in the garden on the weekends. Black spot and Japanese beetles are always topics of conversation. Sometimes a visitor is searching for a specific rose—one from childhood or something they have heard about in a story. More often than not, people are interested in good recommendations. With over 600 different varieties of roses, the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden is an ideal place for the gardener to go window shopping.

Rose Ruby Ice
Rosa ‘Ruby Ice’

When searching for a rose, it is important to remember that roses will respond differently in different climates. While a rose may thrive and have a great deal of resistance to black spot in one part of the country, it may struggle in another. Recently, I had such an experience. A woman asked me if we grew a rose named ‘Mr. Lincoln’®.

‘Mr. Lincoln’® is a velvety red hybrid tea rose that grows on a sturdy stem and makes an ideal cut flower. It is a vigorous plant and a lovely rose which we grew a number of years ago in the garden. Since we have limited space, the garden undergoes a selection process where the less robust roses get taken out after trialing them for several years and newer selections are added in their place. ‘Mr. Lincoln’®, for all his elegance, was prone to black spot in our climate and was removed. The visitor told me she was from California where ‘Mr. Lincoln’® happily thrives. We had an interesting discussion of roses and climate and I guided her to some of my regional favorites.

Rose Larissa
Rosa ‘Larissa’

While many roses look splendid in the spring and early summer when everything is fresh, one of the true tests for finding a rose that grows well in your region is to take a look at it at the end of the season. I generally would say you should take a look at the rose after it has battled the heat of the summer, but this summer, aside from a few brutal weeks in late August, was fairly mild and forgiving.

Nonetheless, I walked around the rose garden one evening and came up with a list of some of my favorites. I was assessing the rose not only for its flower but also on foliage. I chose roses where I saw little or no signs of black spot. I made some tough decisions and many roses that were flowering beautifully and showed only slight signs of black spot were knocked off the list.

This may give local gardeners a good starting point for selecting roses for their own garden next spring. Here are some that caught my eye.

Mandarin Ice Rose
Rosa ‘Mandarin Ice’
  • Rosa ‘Pomponella’® (hybridizer: Kordes, type: floribunda, color: pink)
  • ‘Larissa’® (hybridizer: Kordes, type: shrub rose, color: pale pink)
  • ‘Carefree Spirit’™ (hybridizer: Meilland, type: shrub rose, color: cherry red with white eye)
  • ‘Kardinal’™ (hybridizer: Kordes, type: shrub rose, color: red)
  • ‘Ruby Ice’™ (hybridizer: Kordes, type: floribunda, color: cherry red, light pink reverse)
  • ‘Brothers Grimm”™ (hybridizer: Kordes, type: floribunda, color: orange, yellow, apricot melange)
  • ‘Cinderella’™ (hybridizer: Kordes, type: shrub rose, color: pale pink)
  • ‘Poseidon’™ (hybridizer: Kordes, type: floribunda, color: steely pale purple)
  • ‘Mandarin Ice’ ™ (hybridizer: Kordes, type: floribunda, color: neon salmon orange)
  • ‘Sans Souci’(hybridizer: Barni, type: floribunda, color: pale apricot cream with pink tinge)
  • ‘Easter Basket’™ (hybridizer: Meilland, type: floribunda, color: pale cream yellow with pink edges)
  • ‘Pink Home Run’® (hybridizer: Carruth, type: shrub rose, color: rose pink)
  • ‘Candy oh! Vivid Red’ ™ (hybridizer: Zlesak, type: shrub rose, color: cherry pink)
  • ‘Thrive!’ ™ (hybridizer: Sproul, type: shrub rose, color: cherry pink)
  • ‘Bubble Double’ ™ (hybridizer: Radler, type: shrub rose, color: pale pink)
  • ‘All the Rage’ Easy Elegance® (hybridizer: Lim, type: shrub rose, color: pink, apricot blend)
  • ‘Marie Pavie’ (hybridizer: Allegatiere, type: polyantha heritage rose, color: creamy white)
  • ‘Crimson Meidiland’ ® (hybridizer: Meiland, type: shrub rose, color: cherry pink)
  • ‘Michel Bras’® (hybridizer: Delbard , type: floribunda, color: pink blend)
  • ‘Dames de Chenonceau’® (hybridizer: Delbard , type: hybrid tea, color: pink apricot)
  • ‘Carefree Delight’ ™ (hybridizer: Meilland, type: shrub rose, color: pale pink)
  • ‘Wedding Bells’ ® (hybridizer: Kordes, type: hybrid tea, color: pink)
  • ‘Flamenco Rosita’ ® (hybridizer: Beales, type: shrub rose, color: pink)
  • ‘Lion’s Fairy Tale’ ™ (hybridizer: Kordes, type: floribunda, color: creamy white/ blush pink)
  • ‘My Girl’ Easy Elegance® (hybridizer: Lim, type: shrub rose, color: deep pink)
  • ‘Fairy Meidiland’® (hybridizer: Meiland, type: shrub rose, color: pink)
  • ‘Thrive Lavender’ (hybridizer: Meiland, type: shrub rose, color: lavender pink)

There are many more wonderful varieties of roses in the Peggy Rockefeller Rose garden. Come down this fall and pick your favorite.


Patricia Klein said:

Are any of the roses on this list fragrant?

Barbara Reiner said:

Oh my….your post makes me determined to come down for a visit asap. I loved Mr. Lincoln and couldn’t find him this year and now know why. Thanks.

Sonia Uyterhoeven said:

Hi Patricia,
My favorite fragrant rose in the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden is a Buck hybrid called ‘Quietness’. It is a beautiful shrub rose with pale pink flowers and a strong rose floral perfume. It is always on the list of top performers for the garden.

With regards to the list that I gave for “The Right Roses for Our Region” here are a few with nice fragrance:
‘Michel Bras’
‘Dames de Chenonceau’
‘Marie Pavie’
‘Sans Souci’

A few others have mild fragrance such as:
‘Wedding Bells’
‘Flamenco Rosita’
‘Lion’s Fairy Tale’


Mary Mills said:

Thanks for your list. I have not found Michel Bras for sale in the US. Do you know anywhere I can buy it? I am a member of the garden and love it!

Sonia Uyterhoeven said:

Hi Mary,
Sorry for the delay. The best source for Delbard roses in the U.S. is Paul Zimmerman Roses. Good luck finding the rose.