The Best Garden Roses

Many experts and organizations have created lists of the "best" garden roses. All the roses on these lists share certain characteristics--they can be grown successfully by a variety of gardeners under many different conditions.They also combine characteristics including beauty, fragrance, vigor and disease resistance. The "best" shrubs, which include old and modern varieties, have been chosen for the collections of botanical gardens and selected as favorites by rose society members worldwide. Like all roses, the best specimens thrive with ample sunshine, rich soil and regular moisture.


"Aloha" is a climbing rose bred in America and introduced in 1949. Its strongly fragrant pink flowers contain scores of petals. Flowering repeatedly through the growing season, "Aloha" can reach 10 feet in height. In 1902, the rose received the (British) Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. The award recognizes plants that rank high in the society's garden performance trials.

"Just Joey"

A large-flowered hybrid tea rose, "Just Joey" was chosen as a favorite by the members of the World Federation of Rose Societies. Its large flowers are coppery peach and the foliage is dark green.The plant reaches about 2 feet tall at maturity, with an equal spread.

"Madame Hardy"

"Madame Hardy" is an old rose, bred in France and introduced in 1832. Its fragrant, double flowers have white petals with a green central "eye" in the middle of each bloom. The rose blooms once a season, usually in the late spring or early summer, but is still a favorite worldwide. At maturity, "Madame Hardy" is 5 feet tall and wide.


One of the most popular roses in the world, "Peace" was introduced in 1945. The French-bred hybrid tea rose produces large, pale yellow flowers edged in pink. The blooms have a light fragrance as well. Given the right conditions, "Peace" can produce flowers that are 6 inches across. The variety is also available in a climbing form.

"The Fairy"

"The Fairy" has a spreading growth habit that makes it useful as a ground cover. It can also be grown in pots. The small, round pink flowers are borne in large numbers and bloom repeatedly during the growing season. "The Fairy" was ranked among the top 100 performers in the New York Botanical Garden's newly renovated Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden.

"Sally Holmes"

An upright shrub, "Sally Holmes" has single, five-petaled white flowers with prominent golden stamens in the centers. The shrubs grow to be at least 4 feet tall, and the blossoms are long-lasting in the garden and in a vase. "Sally Holmes" received the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

"New Dawn"

"New Dawn" is an American-bred, rambling rose that can grow 10 feet or more in height. The pale pink flowers are large with loosely clustered petals. The shrub blooms repeatedly and the flowers are scented. "New Dawn" is a favorite of members of the World Federation of Rose Societies.

Keywords: classic garden roses, best roses, top rated roses

About this Author

Elisabeth Ginsburg, a writer with twenty years' experience, earned an M.A. from Northwestern University and has done advanced study in horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden. Her work has been published in the "New York Times," "Christian Science Monitor," "Horticulture Magazine" and other national and regional publications.