University of Illinois Extension

2007 Gardening Resolutions

Winter is a good time to think about “new gardening year resolutions,” said a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator.

“Every gardener has thoughts of doing something different or adding new plants to next year’s garden. So, to start things off, how about a resolution to add roses to your 2007 season garden?” said Greg Stack.

“Breeders have done dramatic things with roses. They have improved their hardiness, improved their disease resistance to black spot and mildew, and have made them very ‘gardener-friendly’ plants by reducing the level of maintenance required to keep them good looking. Many of today’s roses are also easy to incorporate into existing perennial and shrub borders.”

Stack offered some roses to consider adding to your 2007 garden. All can be found in mail order catalogues and local garden centers.

“Let’s start off with tree roses,” he said. “If you like tree roses, but don’t like what you have to do to keep them from being killed over the winter, take a look at ‘Polar Joy’. This tree rose is hardy to zone 4 without winter protection. It grows four to eight feet tall and is covered with single, two-inch pink blooms.

“It also has excellent disease resistance to black spot and mildew. Finally, it is a hardy tree rose for the gardener who up to now has tried to grow them but lost to ‘old man winter.’”

While yellow is a favorite rose color, there are not many good yellows. Stack offered several, however, that stand out for their color, hardiness, and disease resistance.

‘Centennial’ is a grandiflora with clusters of high-centered blooms on long stems. The three-inch flowers fade from pale yellow to creamy white. Its re-blooming abilities make it a valuable addition to the mixed border.

‘Yellow Submarine’ is another yellow rose with three-inch blooms. This shrub rose grows to three feet tall and is excellent planted in groups. With the color of butter, the ‘Julia Child’ rose is a plant with old-fashioned looks and fragrance. This floribunda has a round habit, a strong, licorice-spice fragrance, and excellent hardiness and disease resistance.

Another bright-yellow floribunda, ‘Sun Flare’, forms a low-mounded plant. Blooms are carried in large clusters and have a licorice scent. This rose is great for working into a mixed border.

“How about putting some mischief into the garden?” said Stack. “’Little Mischief’ is a shrub rose that grows to three feet tall with a mounding habit and has excellent disease resistance. It has large clusters of deep pink blooms with white centers. This rose starts blooming in early summer and is never without flowers until a hard freeze. It is great for the mixed border or in containers.

“Another comparable rose but with rice red blooms is ‘Mystic Fairy’. Because this rose does not set ‘hips’ or seed pods, it just continues to bloom and offer color all summer. This is another great plant for the mixed border.”

If fragrance is what you want, Stack recommended ‘Kiss Me’.

“This grandiflora has large, fully-double pink blooms on stems suitable for cutting,” he said. “Blooming all summer, it has a very heavy rose scent. This rose is also very disease-resistant.”

‘Sunrise Sunset’ is a stunning blend of fuchsia pink petals blending to apricot toward the center. This shrub rose has a dense spreading habit that makes it an ideal groundcover-type rose.

To top off your list, consider the 2007 Floribunda of the Year, ‘Moondance’,” he said. “This tall--up to four-foot--floribunda produces large clusters of cream-white blooms with a fragrance like raspberries. It has excellent garden performance and can be used in the perennial border or even as a hedge.”

Classic hybrid tea roses are always popular in the garden but often have issues with disease and hardiness. With the introduction of ‘Love and Peace’, those fears are no longer an issue, Stack said.

“This hybrid tea grows to four feet tall and about three feet wide,” he said. “The high-centered blooms of golden-yellow, edged with carmine pink, produce a sweet fruity scent. This tough hybrid tea has glossy, dark-green foliage highly tolerant of black spot.”

These are a few of the “stars” appearing on the rose scene, Stack said.

“And because they are the result of years of work by breeders incorporating superior disease-resistance and hardiness, they won’t disappoint you and do belong on your list of gardening resolutions,” he said.