Every late spring, when the roses start blooming, it gives me a hint that summer is on the way.
Unfortunately, since Japanese beetles have come into our gardens several years ago, many gardeners are discouraged by this plague, telling me that they are giving up on growing roses. However, there are quite a few roses I can recommend that are attractive, reliable and bloom only once in late May to mid-June, avoiding the beetle infestation.
Rosa foetida bicolor Austrian Copper Rose
This eye-catching species blooms in late May with bright yellow buds opening into the delicious orange single flowers with a spicy fragrance. It needs to be planted in a very dry and sunny spot, not in a well-cultivated garden, otherwise it will attract `blackspot' disease and suckers in the gardens. This beauty is vigorous and produces attractive red hips (fruits) in fall.
Rosa Harrison's Yellow
This hybrid rose is American born and very tough. It is often found growing happily on abandoned homesteads. The smaller, fully double lemon-yellow flowers are a reminder of the pioneers who traveled across the continent with this rose. It has a fruity, pleasant scent.
Harrison's Yellow has a similar growing habit as Austrian Copper, but potentially grows much larger so it is not recommended to plant it in a small garden.
Rosa alba Félicité Parmentier
Most Alba roses are vigorous, large and tough. They can take dry conditions with supplemental water — once established — and still produce fragrant, smaller pompon-like white or pink flowers in early June. They are good roses to be a backdrop of the gardens.
Félicité Parmentier is rather compact at 4.5' x 4.5' with fully petaled, smaller, soft pink flowers and a sweet in scent.
Rosa Fantin Latour
The centifolia rose means `thousands of petals,' which has an appearance of the classical rose flower such as heavily petaled cabbage-like flowers (called cabbage rose). We can spot the centifolia roses in pre-1800's paintings such as a famous portrait of Marie Antoinette with her scandalous summer blue dress by Élizabeth Vigée Le Brun in 1783. The centifolia roses bloom in June with shades of pink flowers and an overwhelming perfumed scent. Compared to the alba roses, the centifolia roses are slightly smaller and are easy to incorporate into the smaller gardens.
Fantin Latour produces deeply-cupped, heavily petaled pale pink flowers with an elegant old rose fragrance.
Rosa Zéphrin Drouhin
There is a group of old roses called Bourbon rose which originated from the Isle of Bourbon (now Réunion Island) in the late 1700s to early 1800s. The Bourbon roses typically grow tall and skinny with many shades of colors available. They can be trained to climb, and some of them are repeat bloomers.
Zephrin Drouhin is a very reliable rose in my garden, for years, it grows very happily with very minimum water, produces a semi-double rich pink flower with strong old rose scent in June.
Ebi Kondo is the associate director of horticulture and curator of Japanese garden at the Denver Botanic Gardens
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