Over the past decade, I have seen an explosion of roses in suburban and commercial landscapes here in Central Texas. Yet, it is really just an explosion of one kind in particular – Knock Out®. I personally think that its popularity is a result of great marketing and not anything special about the rose. But I’m glad it exists everywhere and has changed the way people view roses as being difficult to grow. However, its claim of being easy to grow, disease resistant, drought tolerant, and well-suited in any landscape can also be said of many antique roses. If you find a rose suited to your area, it will have all of the above traits PLUS fragrance. Yes, the Knock Out® rose has no scent! Fragrance is such a trademark of a rose. Also, while Knock Out® give nice splashes of color in your landscape, they make horrible cut flowers.
So what is a good one for Central Texas? All of my Tea roses have done extremely well. They are easy to maintain, shape/trim, and they all survived last year’s extreme drought better than Knock Out® which barely survived. Mind you, I don’t have a landscaper and my Knock Out® never looks like the ones I see in commercial landscapes. Also, the Tea roses come in a rich variety of pastel colors, scent, form, and most of them make great cut flowers. Among my favorites (all scented) are:
- Mrs. B. R. Cant – beautiful crimson to pink flowers; heavy bloomer in the Spring and Fall
- Madame Joseph Schwartz (the white sport of Duchesse the Brabant) – delicate cupped flowers, very southern
- Baronne Henriette the Snoy – my all-time favorite pink rose with big, fat blooms
- Monsieur Tillier – nice upright bush with many shades of vibrant colors (for a Tea rose as most are pastels)- salmon, coral, and pink
- Mrs. Dudley Cross – nearly thornless, small bush; flowers with cream center and pink edges; excellent cut flower with longer stem than the average Tea