Roses, Roses, Roses

So this is the story of the varieties that are beginning to fill the rose garden ! I have a particular affinity for English Garden Roses. They were created by cross-breeding Old Garden Roses with modern hybrid teas and floribundas by David Austin in the 1960′s. They have a loose old-fashioned look with a fragrance that is unbelievable. Because I am really a lazy gardener, they also thrive despite my neglect by not spraying or rarely fertilizing. Those that don’t respond to my meager care are root pruned (I get rid of them). In the garden, their bushy shape is pleasing even without blooms. My gardens have always been predominately filled with these roses. I once had a strict, no pink policy, but since these are in a designated rose garden, I am including some of those beautiful pinks I had previously passed up.

I began by buying one lonely English Garden Rose, Golden Celebration, last spring and left it to languish in the pot until very recently. It is by far my favorite rose, ever. It has giant, cupped blooms of a deep yellow with a very strong scent. The shrub is a nice big rounded bush that looks good even without flowers. It never was bothered by pests in Ojai. Let’s hope it does as well here.

I then went to Green Thumb nursery in Ventura and was lucky enough to find five sad-looking English roses on clearance: Pat Austin is an orange blend; Jubilee Celebration is a large salmon, pink; Heritage is a clear, soft pink; Janet is a pink flushed with soft yellow; and Claire Austin is a pale yellow fading to cream. Some have already flowered after being happily put into the earth.

Since I didn’t have much luck finding more English roses at the nurseries in town, I decided to head out to Otto and Sons Nursery in Fillmore. Their website says that they “are known throughout this region for our immense selection of roses with over 120,000 plants and just north of 800 varieties each year.” They carry other plants, but I usually don’t have extra room for much else after I make the hour drive to get there, I just want ROSES. They have 67 English Garden Roses pictured on their website. In October their roses are 40% off so not everything was still in stock, but they still had plenty.


After walking around in circles for some time I ended up with six to add to my collection: Munstead Wood is a deep crimson; Teasing Georgia is a large yellow; Grace is a pure apricot; and Sophy’s Rose is a light crimson. I also picked up two 36 inch Gourmet Popcorn tree roses for the back of the garden. Although they aren’t English they are very free-flowering and will add continual color at eye level.

Of course there were some that I wish I had gotten, like Tea Clipper, and some that I hope will be in stock next year. I have room to add more in the future, but for now I…


p.s. Otto and Sons Nursery has Rose Days in the spring. Seeing all of those roses in bloom would make anyone love any rose. Mark your calendar.


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