Not Your Grandmother’s Roses By Lauren Tuski

Veranda Lavender'

Roses have long captured the imagination, from William Shakespeare's "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" ("Romeo and Juliet") or analogies about life using the imagery of a rose Ð "Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses." (Alphonse Karr, "A Tour Round My Garden").

Thank goodness plant breeders have responded to our biophiliac draw to roses with varieties that are easier to maintain and bring more success for the less patient plant purchaser. The reality is that until our plant purchasers have the time to devote hours upon hours to a traditional rose garden (will they ever?), these rose varieties satisfy a nostalgic want for the classics while also accommodating a 21st century, overly full schedule.

'Flower Carpet Scarlet' 'Flower Carpet Amber'

Flower Carpet Roses

These are certainly power-performers in the garden. Celebrating its 20th year, Flower Carpet roses from Anthony Tesselaar Plants are the answer to all brown-thumb prayers for a beautiful rose that requires little fretting. With the moniker of a "tolerant and forgiving rose," I have seen it proven with a friend who doesn't ascribe to my idea that gardening is "fun." Despite his aversion to gardening, he is infatuated with his Carpet roses and has found many a jealous neighbor to brag to. Not only that, he finds his Carpet roses impervious to his brown thumb, and they have actually inspired him to want more roses.

The series was bred by Werner Noack with the direct intention of keeping love for roses alive with easy-care varieties intended for the modern plant purchaser. Flower Carpet roses are known for being very disease resistant and boast bright blooms all summer long — no deadheading necessary. With significant longevity across a range of zones, this truly is a rose for even the busiest and most disinterested of plant purchasers. Not only that, it is a garden evangelist for how it inspires confidence and a craving for more garden plants.

Romantica Bolero' 'Romantica Pretty in Pink Eden'

Romantica Roses

Roses easily and naturally capture facets of love — the beauty, finickyness, pain (those thorns hurt) and finally an overwhelming sense of awe. Romantica Roses from Star Roses & Plants have done just that. Beyond just claiming the nature of love with the name "Romantica," one look at these amazing climbing specimens will have you imagining yourself in the medieval garden of lovesick Juliet.

The Romantica series was bred by Meilland International to combine the best features of the English rose — form and fragrance — with the habit of modern roses. What resulted is an exquisite garden specimen. The double flowers are reminiscent of a peony, and an enchanting spring show of blooms will impress even the densest observer. Some pruning is recommended to encourage repeat blooming throughout the season, but with strong disease resistance, fragrance, and great flower-power, this is hardly a shortcoming. The variety 'Yves Piaget' is one of the more fragrant (and makes an excellent addition to any fence), and the newest addition 'Pretty in Pink Eden' will be an exciting showcase for any garden retailer this season.

‘Bokrammi' (left and right)

Rose Miracle ('Bokrammi')

The age of DIYers, Pinterest-ers, hipsters, (and everything but "gardeners" it seems), has lent itself to a trend of nostalgia for the simple things of nature that are so effortlessly pretty and pure. (For example, look at packaging for many food and cosmetic brands and you'll find botanical imagery.) Rose 'Bokrammi' capitalizes on this opportunity with elegant (thornless) rose hips that follow a fanciful show of bright blooms.

'Bokrammi' was specifically bred for cut-flower quality rosehips. Combine this achievement with disease resistance comparable to the best on the market, and any budding plant enthusiast will find this a unique and craft-inspiring addition to their garden. Bubblegum pink petals and a bright white center steal the show without taking over — at only 3 feet high and wide, this rose is content in its identity as both flower and function.

'Veranda Brilliant'

Veranda Series

For the plant enthusiast who has the desire but not the space, the Veranda series from Greenheart Farms is the answer. Vintage-looking blooms atop a compact plant make it the ideal solution for limited landscapes and container gardens. For the contemporary plant purchaser who is more likely to have a patio or balcony than a 5-acre yard, the addition of Veranda brings a classic charm to even the most modern of homes. Disease resistance and repeat blooms all season long are the standard here, as is a wide selection of color for any palette.

Bred to be compact, this is the first floribunda rose collection that is easily combined in a mixed container. Veranda was bred by Kordes in Germany and then trialed for seven years before being brought to the United States, where they were trialed for an additional three to seven years, making Veranda a tried-and-true series.

For great examples on how to talk to customers about roses, check out, a website created by Greenheart Farms for the consumer. Not only is it a great example on how to categorize roses based on function and need, but the language is direct and the images are inspiring.

'Oso Easy Lemon Zest' ‘Oso Easy Paprika'

OSO Easy Rose Series

The gateway rose for a modern plant purchaser's affinity for the plant, one can hardly knock Proven Winners' OSO Easy Rose series for its disease resistance, happy flowering cycle and effortless success in the garden. Good in containers and good in the garden, their self-cleaning habit makes them an all-star utility player. Little to no pruning is required, and tidy, mounded habits ensure that they stay manageable. Candy-colored flowers can play well off of other landscape elements. A plant purchaser's success with the OSO Easy Rose Series can inspire curiosity and the confidence to explore other rose varieties that offer more in the way of form, scent, flower and function.

Roses, it seems, represent the marriage between horticultural art and science. They are a wonderful introduction for novice plant purchasers and budding plant enthusiasts into the world of cultivating plants because of their appeal from color to scent to meaning. Some of my youngest (and fondest) memories of gardens include one of a neighbor's fence covered in roses, and some of my worst gardening experiences include weeding a rose garden. Truly the "flower and the thorns" experience!

Beyond representing a whole host of emotions, events and life meaning, roses also offer a new generation of plant purchasers, who are faced with a host of modern-day dilemmas, a response to their need for simple beauty and elegance. What more could one want from a rose?

Not Your Grandmother's Roses

Lauren Tuski

Lauren Tuski is an enthusiastic horticulturalist and works as an independent writing and marketing professional. Her work can be found at, and she can be reached at