Notes from the garden on roses.

I try not to play favorites in the garden.

April and May though…

April and May makes for some easy obsession for the roses in my garden. Last year I found myself picking so many flowers that the garden looked bare by the time it was the first week in June. Which, as a snarky bitch competitive gardener, is totally unacceptable. But with moderation as my nemesis, not picking flowers for my house was not an option.

The solution was simple – grow more!

I designated a simple 8′ x 3′ horse trough as my “cut flower” section, and planted a small variety of great smelling roses. ‘Just Joey’ and ‘Sterling’ are the larger producers, with some miscellaneous David Austin’s flanking the sides. I even tossed a few mini roses for under planting (these were either gifts or little sterling roses that I suspect will naturalize back to a larger bloom over time). After the roses were in their bed, I scattered some sweet pea seeds around for even more fragrance. Now in the throws of spring, I kind of regret mixing the roses and sweet peas, as the pea tendrils are strangling the secondary rose buds, despite by efforts in trellising.

With this new rose section to clip, I have purposely left my front yard ‘Benjamin Britten’ collection in tact, only clipping about 3-4 stems this spring season. Last Saturday, I decided to count every single bud and every single rose in bloom – in my entire garden. I grabbed a hot chai, a notebook and a number H pencil, and got counting…


Here are my notes –

3 plant cluster ‘Benjamin Britten’  – 139 buds, 86 blooms

newly planted ‘Benjamin Britten’ – 8 buds, 5 blooms

climber by the stairs in the front – 5 buds, 5 blooms

hidden ‘Just Joey’ topiary – 1 bud, 1 bloom

single petal yellow in terra cotta – 38 spent blooms, still petaled as of today

yellow/cream rose from Oregon cutting – 36 buds

rambling peach/apricot, bonsai pruned with arching branches – 69 buds, 114 blooms

Fairy rose rambler in 15 gallon – 19 buds, 2 blooms

entire cut rose trough, 7 roses total – 58 buds, 39 blooms

multicolored sunset rose single petal in terra cotta – 9 buds, 21 blooms

random 15 gallons – 6 buds, 9 blooms

rose in 24″ box in too much shade – 26 buds, 8 blooms

new 5 gallon ‘Sombreuil’ staked – 47 buds, 4 blooms

jiffy pot mini rose – 4 buds

wine barrel rose – 4 buds

rosa rugosa in 5 gallon pots from job – 9 blooms

rose in large, mixed terra cotta – 12 buds

‘Sombreuil’ rose climber from mom’s garden (cutting, 17 years old) – 34 buds, 29 blooms

multiple roses in chicken coop area – 29 buds, 37 blooms

‘Sally Holmes’ climber (way too many to count!) – 1 large stem = 72 buds. 1 medium stem = 31 buds and blooms


Total Bud Count = 502

Total Bloom Count = 376

*Minus ‘Sally Holmes’ climber.