Books &



P. Allen Smith's Rose Garden


P. Allen Smith's Rose Garden illustrates that there is a rose for every garden. This card deck features 28 favorite roses divided into four categories—small spaces, fragrance, climbers and landscape roses.

Here is an example from each category.

Peach Drift®

Small Space Rose

Peach Drift®

Described as groundcover roses the Drift® series of roses was released in 2006 offering many good qualities including their dwarf spreading habit and glossy, attractive foliage. Available in seven colors, they bloom in continuous waves all season and have resistance to all the diseases that plague roses—black spot, rust and powdery mildew.

And while Drift® roses don't have to be pruned to perform beautifully, they can be cut back to about 4 inches in late winter or early spring before new growth.

I have a weakness for warm pink and peach roses so my favorite in the series is Peach Drift® and luckily it is also themost floriferous. This color goes well with many other garden plants and I especially like it with other pinks, blues and silvers. It reaches 1½ to 2 feet in height and is a good candidate for small gardens. I also have a large group of Coral Drift® roses planted in my mixed border where it dependably associates with vivid-colored companions in chartreuse, burgundy, purple and red from spring through fall. Hardy in zones 5-9.

'Liv Tyler' aka 'Comtesse de Provence'

Rose for Fragrance

'Liv Tyler' (aka 'Comtesse De Provence')

When the first hybrid tea rose, 'La France', arrived on the scene in 1867, it was the beginning of a "rose revolution" with the large high-centered bloom and reliable repeat blooming that it and its successors exhibited. However, its drawbacks—a tendency toward awkward growth habits and a propensity for disease, have kept many gardeners, including myself, from embracing them. While 'Liv Tyler' is a modern rose, a hybrid tea released in 2000 by the respected French hybridizer Meilland and incorporated into their Romantica® series, the flowers look like they could be from a distant century. The large sturdy blooms are quartered, flattened and are a lovely coral pink. They are ruffled with up to 80 petals per flower, exude a sweet fruity fragrance described as a strong peach, and grow on long stems destined for a vase. The appeal of their scent is attested to by the fact that Givenchy perfumes incorporated the fragrance into one of their perfumes. Hardy in zones 5-9.

'Yellow Lady Banks'

Climbing Rose

'Yellow Lady Banks'

The site to plant this massive rambler should be chosen carefully as its canes scramble easily to 20 feet. The once-a-year display of small double flowers is magnificent as they smother the plant for several weeks in spring. It is thornless, long-lived, and resistant to pests and disease, but unfortunately is not reliably winter hardy in zones above 7.

Landscape Rose

'Sarah Van Fleet'

'Sarah Van Fleet'

Rugosa hybrid roses are notable for inheriting the tough constitution of their Rosa rugosa forebears brought over from China in the 18th century which makes them very strong performers in our gardens. Like hybrid musks they are useful either as a specimen or as informal hedges even excelling in less than ideal circumstances. The hybrid rugosa 'Sarah Van Fleet', which appeared in 1926, is a good example. It has the thick, leathery and deeply veined leaves and thick prickly stems typical of this class and grows to be a formidable 5 to 6 feet tall. Large, rose-pink cupped flowers are produced heavily in the spring and throughout the growing season, especially with deadheading, and exude a fragrance of old roses and cloves. 'Sarah Van Fleet' is planted as a circular hedge surrounding two rondel gardens sited at both ends of my terrace garden and as such forms an impenetrable blooming backdrop for other shrub roses and perennials throughout the spring and summer. Other hybrid rugosas I have grown are 'Blanc Double de Coubert' and 'Frau Dagmar Hartopp'. Hardy in zones 6-9.