There's no good reason to keep roses out of your garden. They're not the fussy yard companions you've always thought them to be.
In fact, there are lots of roses out there to suit your special needs and you don't have to own an arsenal of chemicals to enjoy them. If you want to start a small rose garden or weave roses among your evergreen shrubs and flowering perennials, you need to consider old roses - called heirloom roses in the trade.
Old roses are tough, William Welch writes in his new book "Antique Roses for the South."
"In the days before garden hoses, sprinkler systems and pesticides, these older sorts flourished and, once established, survived on old home sites and cemeteries, sometimes for centuries, without any care," he says.
What's the definition of an old rose? The American Rose Society says rose introduced before 1867, but collectors are more lenient, assigning that title to any rose 75 or more years old, he says.
But, your nose can usually direct you to an old rose. Yesterday's roses are full of fragrance, while newer roses are bred for their disease resistance and big flowers at the sake of sweet scents.
In addition to old roses, you should also consider some of the new hybrids that are easy to care for. Some of them, too, come with some pleasing smells. The new shrub roses, often bred as offspring of old roses, are disease resistant and self-cleaning, meaning you do not have to deadhead, or remove the old flowers to get new ones.
Here are some roses to consider for special needs around your yard:
FOR LIGHT SHADE
Do not expect to grow roses under a tree's dense shade, but there are some varieties that will perform reasonably well in four hours of sun or partial shade. Most roses need six hours of sun for the biggest and best blooms.
"In general the roses that flower the most, like floribundas and shrub roses, will do better in the shade," says Steve Hutton, president at the Conard-Pyle Company, introducers of Star Roses.
Actually, some shade-tolerant roses that are pale in color, like the new Blushing Knock-Out pink, actually pop in dappled light. Also, the blooms of New Dawn or Ice Meidiland look better with some shade because the pale pink/cream flowers hold up better; they turn to white in strong sunlight.
Lady Elsie May, a pretty coral-pink winner of the coveted All-America Rose Selection award for 2005, blooms in moderate shade under the canopy of a tree.
Other roses that tolerate light to partial shade include: whites Fair Bianca, Iceberg, Seafoam and Cherokee Rose; yellows Golden Celebration, Graham Thomas and Anthony Meilland; reds Knock-Out and L.D. Braithwaite; pinks Carefree Wonder, Ballerina, Ice Meidiland, Mary Rose and Gertrude Jekyll; orange-scarlet Playboy; salmon Passionate Kisses; tangerine-orange Marmalade Skies; and apricot-yellow Abraham Darby.
In climbers, look for white or yellow Lady Banks, cerise pink Zephirine Drouhin, multi-colored Eden, pink New Dawn, pink Cecile Brunner and yellow Golden Showers.
FOR MOIST SPOTS
You've always heard that roses need perfect drainage, but these roses deal with damp spots: light red Sophy's Rose, pink Scepter'd Isle, yellow Graham Thomas and Molineux, magenta-pink Noble Antony and dusky pink Belle Story, all by David Austin. Also, the pink Swamp rose.
FOR FEW/NO THORNS
You can avoid thorn-pricked hands if you plant these roses: yellow or white Lady Banks, Swamp rose, Zephirine Drouhin, Marie Pavie, yellow Golden Celebration or Golden Showers, pink Cecile Brunner (bush), white Snow Goose and warm pink James Galway.
FOR GROUND COVERS
To cover a bare area with something pretty, plant low-growing Flower Carpet or Meidiland roses, which come in an assortment of flower colors.
Roses, especially ones with thorns, make great hedges for keeping out two- or four-footed traffic: pink Gertrude Jekyll, Carefree Beauty and Queen Elizabeth, light red Othello, yellow Golden Celebration, pale creamy Sally Holmes and rugosa roses.
Tip: There are roses that create short, medium and tall hedges so read the labels for growth sizes.
If you love to stick your nose in your roses, you'll want these, according to the New York/Mid-Atlantic Gardener's Book of Lists by Virginia Tech horticulture professor Bonnie Appleton: Arlene Francis, Barbra Steisand, Dolly Parton, Double Delight, Fragrant Hour, Iceberg, Granada, Judy Garland, Lemon Spice, Mirandy, Mister Lincoln, Oklahoma, Perfume Delight, Pink Peace, Sheila's Perfume, the McCartney Rose, White Christmas, Sutter's Gold, Sweet Surrender and Scentimental.
You'll also find scents of musk, citrus, almond and fruit among the David Austin roses.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times