New Bed: Stop And Smell The Roses

Plans are in the works for Coppertop to receive its very own large bed of English roses! I’ve been drooling over these lush, romantic roses with their delicate petals and amazing structure for years. Coppertop’s current roses are all unidentified since they were planted before we moved here: four hot pink climbers, our fragrant white Rugosa, one coral hybrid tea, and a couple of shrubs with miniature blooms. The one identifiable exception is a blush/ivory David Austin shrub rose I bought myself years ago of the variety Claire Austin. These full blooms are my favorite, and they were my introduction to the wonderful world of English roses.


Location, location, location! We have just the right spot for the new rose bed, where maple and sweet gum trees were downed in storms in the last few years. This will be a full-sun bed just past the pond on the way to the shed and veggie garden, and it’s currently outlined by long extension cords for planning purposes. The northwest end of the bed features a lovely maple tree and a young bridalwreath spiraea, but those are the only plants; the remaining bed is lawn we’ll lift with a turf cutter. We will indeed stop and smell the roses as we head downhill. Included in our planning is a path through the center of the bed along our established walking route, a drip irrigation setup, and many loads of mulch.

The roses are ordered! Fifteen David Austin shrub rose bushes will be arriving this fall and spring, some potted and others bare root. I focused on selecting 1. the most fragrant blooms with 2. the best form and 3. disease resistance in 4. (mainly) vibrant tones that 5. will thrive in the Pacific Northwest. A giant bed of soft pastels would look washed out in this bright location. For gorgeous impact, I’ll be planting three bushes each of five varieties for grand blocks of color. Oh, the choices! The David Austin varieties (photos from destined for Coppertop:

Munstead Woodmunstead_wood_7munstead_wood

Lady Emma Hamiltonlady_emma_hamilton_6lady_emma_hamilton_3

Gertrude Jekyllgertrude_jekyll_1_1gertrude_jekyll_7

Golden Celebrationgolden_celebration_4_3golden_celebration_3_3

and Princess Anneprincess_anne_1_22princess_anne_5

In addition to planning the layout based on eventual height and width of rose bushes, I’ve begun collecting companion plants, mainly hardy geraniums, phlox, and salvia. Alongside these perennials I hope to tuck in some easy annuals like sweet alyssum, and I’ve begun ordering seed for those.

Perhaps you can feel my excitement?!



16 thoughts on “New Bed: Stop And Smell The Roses

  1. Your excitement is bouncing out of the post. What a lovely project to have ahead of you. I look forward to seeing photos of the roses when they are blooming.


  2. Yes! So exciting – and very good choices. I don’t grow the last two (should maybe try?!!!) but the first 3 are excellent, reliable plants. And the colour of Emma Hamilton is as good as the photographs. I’m sure you’ll enjoy smelling the roses!


  3. You bet I can feel your excitement. It reads like a dream garden. I can’t wait to see it evolve into the fragrant colorful garden of your dreams. Just reading about it makes me want to start tearing up turf. I love the Lady Emma Hamilton, all of them really but the Lady is my favorite of the group you have chosen.


      • There are a few cheap carpet roses at work that I really dislike because of what they are, but they really do exactly what they are supposed to do. They look great. I grow only two hybrid tea roses presently. They are not very useful at work, where roses must be adaptable to landscape applications. I think that the English roses are a good compromise, because they happen to work well in landscapes, but are not cheap and common like carpet roses. They still are not my favorite though.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. So excited for you and a wee bit jealous too. You have a climate similar to England, so they should do well there. The last few years, my roses have declined and barely hold on, not giving me much hope that I could ever grow the beautiful David Austin roses. I did have one once and it started dying the minute I put it in the ground. So sad.


    • Hi Cindy! This is my first serious venture into rose keeping. I will report the results, even if less than stellar, but yes, our climate is suited to these particular roses. Perhaps there are other varieties of roses that would do better in your state?


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