Rose lovers in the Northwest are, overall, very fortunate. Most varieties will grow well in the area's mild, temperate climate. Due to the high humidity, the foliage of some roses may suffer fungal diseases like black spot, rust and powdery mildew. By choosing the right roses, you can have bountiful blooms plus attractive foliage.
Species roses are the most disease-free roses you can grow. Rugosa roses have large single blooms and develop ornamental rose hips in the fall. The two best ones are a pure white form (Rosa rugosa "Alba") and (Roseraie de l'hay), a purple rugosa with unforgettable fragrance. Another species rose grown for its foliage is Rosa glauca. The leaves are an attractive blue-green color.
A similar rose (Rosa glauca rubrifolia) has red tinged leaves that later turn a deep burgundy color. The hips left on the stems are a good addition to fall flower arrangements. The petals of species roses are very fragrant and contain high amounts of rose oil. The oil is used for cosmetic purposes and the whole petals are used in potpourri. The hips are loaded with vitamin C and are a great addition to teas.
Landscape roses are very tough and carefree to grow. Two ground-cover roses come under the names "Meidiland" and "Knock Out" roses. These bushes are 1 to 2 feet tall and have a sprawling habit. The flowers come in red, pink, yellow and white. There are double, semi-double and single bloom types. Another group, called "Simplicity" roses, are similar, but reach 4 to 5 feet tall, and are considered hedge roses.
There is a large group of roses with names like heirloom, antique, old fashioned or English roses. These old-world roses are actually modern roses bred from old varieties. They have been hybridized for endurance, long bloom, fragrance and disease resistance. Many of these roses are grown and sold in the Northwest. They tend to have large flowers with many petals. Here are but a few of the best ones for flower and foliage.
The popular rose "Graham Thomas" continues to outdo all other pure yellow roses. The most popular pink English rose is "Heritage." The best peach toned old garden rose is "Jude the Obscure." An excellent red rose bush is "L.D Braithwaite." And a first-rate white heirloom rose to try is "Glamis Castle."
Some hybrid teas can have healthy foliage too. "Opening Night" is a near-perfect red rose with flawless foliage. A reliable fragrant light pink rose is "Queen Elizabeth". And "Peace," a longtime favorite, has large yellow and pink flowers.
Best Climbing Roses
Climbers reach record sizes in the Northwest. Rosa "New Dawn" has delicate pink tea-like flowers. A good white rose is "Climbing Iceberg," and a good creamy white is "Sombreuil." The top red climber is "Blaze," and the best yellow is "Lady Banks."