Rosa Honeymilk
Rosa Honeymilk

Johannesburg - This summer, toss out roses that are doing poorly and replace them with a selection from the latest generation of roses.

Why should you do this?

In the early 1980s, the German government banned the use of traditional rose sprays that had been used to protect roses against insects, mildew and black spot.

Rose varieties that did not survive in growing fields without the help of insecticides and fungicides died out and were no longer propagated for gardeners.

In their place, a new generation of disease-resistant roses were bred.

Over the past two decades, the best of these new rose varieties have arrived in local garden centres. They flourish alongside a few of the surviving great roses, such as Iceberg, Peace, Double Delight and Cora Marie.

Midsummer is an excellent time for removing poorly performing pre-1990 roses from your garden and replacing them with any of the superb new disease-resistant roses.

When choosing a bed for new roses, remember that roses need at least five hours of morning sun and grow best in an open position, away from competition of tree roots and where there is plenty of air circulation. Planting one variety of rose in groups of three, five or seven has the greatest effect.

Hybrid tea (HT) roses are bred for their pointed buds and elegant blooms on long stems and are the classic rose for exhibiting and growing in formal beds. Floribunda roses provide clusters of colourful flowers for mixed borders, and miniature roses are perfect for pots.

A hedge of roses can provide a degree of privacy, define spaces in the garden and keep pets in and intruders out. An arch of climbing roses frees ground space in small gardens and is often used to divide the garden into “rooms”.

Here are a few ideas for disease-resistant roses that you can plant.

Rose “Memoire”, one of the best white HTs, has healthy glossy foliage and elegant buds that unfold into large, fragrant white blooms that last well on the bush and when cut.

Scented HT “Pope John Paul II” has exhibition-shaped white blooms. Floribunda rose “Alabaster” is a dense mounded plant, with glossy dark green foliage and large white-cream blooms in clusters that flower in flushes throughout the season.

White and cream roses look spectacular in a bed edged with clipped dwarf abelia, syzigium, Euonymous japonicus “Microphyllus” or Cuphea mexicana “White Wonder”.

Look out for the “Garden Queen”. This HT rose has extremely disease-resistant foliage, huge magenta pink blooms with a strong fragrance, and the shape makes it a perfect rose for exhibition. Surround a beautiful statue with elegant pink HT rose “Garden Princess” and a spot of “Garden Queen”. It is strongly fragrant and produces huge blooms of a delicate pink. Also suitable would be HT rose “Wedding Bells” with large, fragrant medium pink blooms.

Floribunda “Knock Out” roses are hardy, drought-tolerant and self-cleaning. “Knock Out” has dark cherry-pink blooms, while “Pink Knock Out” produces an abundance of flowers in bright pink.

For those who love yellow roses, Rose “Lemon Essence” is a fairy-tale bloom with the romantic look of an old-fashioned rose. Strongly fragrant yellow blooms deepen to golden in slight shade, with the bush capable of growing to chest-high, flowering non-stop.

“Sunny Ayoba”, also a fairy-tale rose, has disease-resistant foliage and free-flowering golden yellow blooms.


Rose “Hot Cacao” with brick-red petals that are darker on the edges is an excellent garden rose that blooms throughout summer. It is outstanding for cutting for the vase.

Rose Castle “Look Good Feel Better” is a floribunda disease-resistant rose with full medium-red blooms with an old-fashioned look and a light, fruity scent. The compact growth habit makes it suitable for growing in pots and in beds.

The peach-coloured buds on “Reflex” become reddish pink when fully open on floriferous bushes with healthy bright green foliage. “Just Beautiful” is aptly named with beautiful copper-apricot blooms on long stems. You may prefer the unique warm golden-brown colour of “Honey Dijon”, a tall, vigorous rose with a fruity fragrance. The double blooms can deepen in colour in cool climates. - Saturday Star