Roses = Shrubs

Honey Perfume, a Florabunda Rose

Shrubs provide structure, texture, color and scale to gardens. They are sometimes evergreen and often deciduous. And ideally they are low maintenance. Most often they require exposure to some sun during the day and often require a lot of sun. What comes to mind when you think of a shrub?  I’m guessing roses don’t often make the “top of mind” list (nor do Japanese maples, but that’s a blog for another time). For some reason, I think of roses as their own separate category, but I also think that’s a mistake.

It used to be that many roses required a lot of care and upkeep. Nowadays, so much breeding effort has gone into creating roses that are carefree and more modest in size that it is time to encourage gardeners to think roses when they want a flowering shrub for a sunny location.

I recently visited Portland’s International Rose Test Garden. It was a lovely evening and many people were enjoying one of Portland’s great destinations (including a lot of wild looking people dressed up in togas…weird, huh?). Of course there are the glorious flowers, some of which deliver on fragrance, but bronzy foliage can also be found. Stately or shrub-like are also options. And the color range is breathtaking! Surely anyone can find a shrub that happens to be from the genus Rosa to work in their garden. Rosa ‘William Shakespeare’, a David Austin Rose from Heirloom Roses is about to share it’s beautiful, fragrant, magenta blooms with me in my garden.

What rose do you recommend?

Portland’s International Rose Test Garden
Princess Alexandra of Kent, an English Rose
Pop the Cork, a Hybrid Tea Rose

Pink Flamingo, a Grandiflora Rose with bronzy foliage