10 Roses for Organic Growers

A happy marriage between organic gardening and growing roses? Absolutely! Begin by picking the right rose for your climate.

By G. Michael Shoup

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This outstanding group of antique and modern roses has performed admirably with our organic regimen at the Antique Rose Emporium in Brenham, Texas. All are repeat bloomers, which means they flower in waves from spring until frost.

'Old Blush'. This China rose dates back to the 18th century and represents all that is good in old roses: long life, repeat bloom, ease of care. As a parent for rose breeding, 'Old Blush' is responsible for giving its ever-blooming quality to modern roses. Hardy to USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 6.

'Souvenir de la Malmaison'. Large, multipetaled, blush pink flowers with a spicy perfume are borne on a 4-foot spreading shrub. This rose embodies romance. Zone 6.

'Marchesa Boccella'. Fragrant, pink cabbagey flowers sit atop the foliage of this 5-foot upright shrub. Zone 5.

'Belinda's Dream'. The Texas extension program designated this pink, full-flowered rose a "superstar" because of its fragrance, ease of care, and cut-flower quality. Zone 5.

'Perle d'Or'. Often called the "Yellow Sweetheart Rose," 'Perle d'Or' has fruit-scented 2-inch flowers that are pale apricot and look like frilly crepe paper. This rose flowers throughout the growing season on a compact 4-foot shrub. Zone 5.

'Caldwell Pink'. A "found" rose of uncertain heritage, this flouncy lilac-pink variety exhibits superb blooming qualities even in the heat of summer. A bonus is the dramatic fall foliage of reds, oranges, and yellows. Zone 5.

'Penelope'. Soft, peachy blooms in bouquetlike clusters are noted for their rich perfume. The sprawling shrub can reach 6 feet. Zone 6.

'New Dawn'. This climbing rose bears lightly fragrant, soft pink blooms on vigorous 20-foot stems. Foliage is dark, glossy, and resistant to black spot. Zone 5.

'Crepuscule'. Clusters of orange flowers nod under their own weight, lending a romantic effect to the garden. 'Crepuscule' is a climbing rose of excellent vigor. Zone 7.

'Stephen F Austin'. One of the Antique Rose Emporium's own Pioneer Rose introductions, this 6-foot shrub has shiny leaves that act as a foil to the fragrant flowers, which open pale yellow and mature to creamy white. Zone 5.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This list is based on the author's experience in an area of Texas with hot, humid summers and relatively mild (Zone 8) winters. However, many of the roses described here are widely adaptable except in the coldest climates. To learn which roses excel in your region, contact your state's Cooperative Extension Service.

Sources for recommended rose varieties:
Antique Rose Emporium, 800-441-0002, antiqueroseemporium.com
Heirloom Roses, 503-538-1576, heirloomroses.com
Roses Unlimited, 864-682-7673, rosesunlimitedownroot.com

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