‘Marmalade Skies’ – Barbara Semenkow
When asked if I have a favorite rose I really had to think. The problem is I have a lot of favorites. Like your children, they each have certain traits that make them unique. How could I single out one rose? This was a challenge. However, one rose did keep coming to mind.
Last year I ordered some roses from Edmond's Roses. One new rose was ‘Marmalade Skies’. I received my bare root rose in excellent condition. The usual planting ritual was followed, with lots of attention to the details of planting. In spite of all the attention, ‘Marmalade Skies’ was off to a slow start. It took a couple of months, but once it started to bloom you could not stop it. Nor would you wish to. When people visited my garden, they would ask, "What's this?" The bush was covered with roses. It put on a non-stop show.
‘Marmalade Skies’ is a floribunda. It is a pure orange-red color. It is truly a winner for the landscape with its five to nine flowers per cluster. What I like most about this rose is it catches your eye. The clear color, prolific buds and flowers, contrasting against the wonderful medium green foliage, makes you turn your head twice. Most of the season it was vibrant with prolific blooming. I don't remember having a rose with so many flowers for so long. When other rose bushes are resting, ‘Marmalade Skies’ is in full bloom. It is a compact, bushy plant, maintaining its shape even when there is a heavy rain.
I found this rose to be disease resistant. The size would lend itself nicely to a hedge as it gets about three feet high.
I spoke with other RIRS members last year who tried this rose and they were equally pleased. The hybridizer is Meilland 2000/2001. Fragrance is slight. I have read that the performance of this rose improves with establishment of the bush. (! ! !) That will be a spectacular sight.
‘Souvenir de St. Anne’s’ – Frederick G. Thurber
I created my garden for fragrance, and today I grow about thirty varieties of old roses picked specifically for their scent. My rose garden breaks all the rules for proper rose culture: the soil is hard scrabble clay, the garden does not get full sun, and I never spray. Wimpy roses need not apply. I have a rule; if a rose cannot survive without spraying, then I will banish it from the yard. Under this rule, my experiments with hybrid teas did not last long! I finally settled on Old Garden Roses because of their fragrance, history, and relative disease resistance. I have tried a number of varieties and the best, hands down, is ‘Souvenir de St Anne's’.
Old roses are not supposed to be particularly remontant, but ‘Souvenir de St Anne's reblooms better than anything else in the yard including some of the latest creations from Jackson and Perkins. Oh, and the fragrance; it has a sumptuous, spicy OGR scent. ‘Souvenir de St Anne's’, a light pink rose, also seems to be admirably resistant to disease and pest.
‘Souvenir de St Anne's’ is a delightfully obscure rose with a somewhat
clouded history. It was first recorded in about 1916 in Lady Ardliaun's estate in Ireland (named St. Anne's Park). The rose was lost for decades and rediscovered by Graham Stewart Thomas in 1950 and marketed by the UK's Hilling Nursery. Thomas con-siders it one of his favorite roses.
‘Souvenir de St Anne's’ is thought to be a sport of ‘Souvenir de Malmaison’, but it seems better than its parent. In heavy rain its blooms don't ball up as is the case with ‘Souvenir de Malmaison’. Also, the semi-double flowers seem cleaner.
‘Madame Gregoire Staechelin’ - Patsy Cunningham
One of my favorite climbing roses is ‘Madame Gregoire Staechelin’, also known as ‘Spanish Beauty’. Since it is a once blooming climber, I would never have bought it, but it was sent accidentally by a mail order nursery and the mistake wasn’t noticed until it bloomed the next year. Now I wouldn’t be without it. It’s a vigorous climber with large pink blooms. The color is difficult to describe; the pink deepens at the base of the petals and on the reverse, and there is usually a “staining” on the outside petals of almost red. It has a very strong, old rose fragrance. The blooms have weak stems, a plus with a climber, as it lets the viewer below see and smell the blooms that much easier. It sets a large crop of hips after its heavy spring flowering. The foliage is always clean, and it’s very disease resistant. We get a little winter kill at the ends of some of the longer canes, but not enough to slow the plant down. It was bred by Pedro Dot from two repeat blooming roses, ‘Frau Karl Druschki’ and ‘Chateau de Clos Vougeot’. It’s available from Ashdown Roses.
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