By Jodi Torpey
The first thing to understand about roses is: Not every rose is going to like your garden. Some roses like it hot, others can deal with the cold, so it pays to be picky when choosing which roses to add to your Western landscape.
Here are four tips for selecting roses that will add years of beauty to your garden:
Select by hardiness zone. Cold winters are hard on gardeners, but they’re especially hard on roses that aren’t meant for cold regions, like ours. For the best success when growing roses, match the roses you want to plant with a hardiness zone colder than where you live.
One of the best investments I made was planting a hardy Canadian climbing rose, known to survive Zone 3 winters (about 30 degrees below zero). This cold-weather rose grows beautifully in my Zone 5 garden because winters here are much less severe.
Select by recommendation. The Mountain garden region is fortunate to have one of the country’s premier plant recommendation programs right in our backyard. Plant Select helps Western gardeners find the best plants for our tricky climate.
‘Ruby Voodoo’ rose (Rosa ‘Ruby Voodoo’) is one of the program’s first rose recommendations. Hardy to Zone 4, this highly perfumed shrub rose has a tall, upright habit, and it blooms profusely in early summer. ‘Ruby Voodoo’ is stunning in a mixed perennial border, where it can dry slightly between waterings.
Select by size. Miniature roses are smaller forms of larger roses, and they have the same attractive features. Because miniature roses take up less space, gardeners can tuck them into small garden beds and patio containers.
When planting miniature roses look for the warmest microclimates in your landscape. These are the pockets of garden space that are naturally warmer than other parts of the yard, typically facing south or planted near a brick wall or fence.
Select by rose type. Within the huge family of Rosaceae, some rose types are easier to grow in your garden than others. For example old roses, the varieties introduced into cultivation before the 1860s, are hardier than some of the modern roses. Species roses, those lovely originals found in nature, also can be especially hardy.
One of my favorite species roses is Redleaf (Rosa glauca), a shrub rose and another Plant Select recommendation. The roses feature single pink flowers that bloom on gorgeous purple-red foliage. This plant can grow to 7 ft tall and spread just as wide. By autumn the rose is covered with orange hips that persist through winter.
What hardy roses do well in your Mountain region garden? Please share your favorites here.