Connecticut Garden Journal: Smell The Roses

Jul 5, 2018

With all this heat, roses are bursting right now. If you can keep up with the watering, roses can put on a show. While the trend in roses are shrub types, I'm fond of the fragrant roses.

Here are some of my favorites. Fragrance in roses goes back to the original species roses. The old fashioned types can be heavily scented and none are as fragrant as Felicite Parmentier. This Alba series, soft pink rose has a sweet perfume that fills a room. It's a tough shrub that can grow in part-shade, but it only blooms for a few weeks in early summer.

The David Austin English roses are like old fashioned roses with an everblooming trait and one of the most fragrant is the Wollerton Old Hall rose. I had the chance to see this soft pink flowered rose at Wollerton Old Hall Gardens on one of my garden tours to England. It's stunning and has a myrrh with a citrus undertone fragrance.

For floribunda roses, I like Julia Child. This yellow rose has a bold licorice, and clove scent. Scentimental, is aptly named for its white and red striped, elegantly fragrant blooms on 4-foot-tall disease-resistant plants.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Plant a fragrant rose near a window, door, or walkway where the fragrance can be appreciated. Look for varieties that cut well to add to arrangements. And mostly, just enjoy them in your yard and in public gardens like Elizabeth Park in West Hartford that features hundreds of climbing, rambling, and shrub roses.

Next week on the Connecticut Garden Journal, I'll be talking about perennial weeds. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.