Sunday, October 26, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

The new roses are here: Prepare to surrender

We laugh and call it an addiction. Could be worse, right? I decided last year: No more roses! I have them scattered throughout the garden to minimize the impact of pests, but over the last few years, with the horrible weather and conditions we've had in the summer, it became obvious that nothing would protect them from attack. We'll see how they present this spring.

The new roses are here: Prepare to surrender

We laugh and call it an addiction. Could be worse, right? I decided last year: No more roses! I have them scattered throughout the garden to minimize the impact of pests, but over the last few years, with the horrible weather and conditions we've had in the summer, it became obvious that nothing would protect them from attack. We'll see how they present this spring.

Meanwhile, the new plant catalogues are clogging up the mailbox. The ones that catch my eye - inevitably - are full of roses. New, tougher hybrid teas, though I swore off those, and beautiful floribundas and climbers, of which I have many, and on and on. I can't resist.

This year's flower show will have a treat for rose people. The central feature, the first thing visitors will see as they go into the show (at the Convention Center), is a re-creation of the Buckingham Palace gates. You'll see the gates ... and smell the roses, literally. Barb King, of Valley Forge Flowers, tells me she's using new versions of the old garden rose that have "scent that will knock your socks off" - in pink and coral and peach.

Look up 'Baroness' and 'Piano,' two of her favorites, and prepare to surrender.

Growers are breeding roses with fragrance again! That's cause for celebration, for as you know, for years, they've been favoring stem length and longevity over smell. We can't have it all, genetically speaking, but fortunately, growers have heard the complaints.

And Barb is well aware of the fondness many show-goers stlil have for the sweet hyacinth smell that greeted them when the flower show was at the old Civic Center. That's what she's going for in 2013.

What I'm going for ... is a reasonable response to the new old roses, but let's be honest. There is no such thing.

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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