Why I Love (and hate) English Roses

english rose tamara
beautiful “Tamara”

I grow English roses for their incredible fragrance as well as their beauty. Just one rose will scent the whole room. Add a bouquet of them and even Bella’s “doggy tang” will become rose-scented! But the magic of these roses is that their scent lingers in the petals long after they have dried. YEARS! I suppose some can’t be bothered making old-fashioned potpourri anymore. I am not one of those people, being a rather “waste-not, want-not” kind of girl.

english rose grahmn thomas
“Grahmn Thomas’, Austin Rose

Growing roses in my climate is not easy but rewarding. I live in a dry Mediterranean belt, zone 9-12/13, depending upon where I am gardening. I have a courtyard that is more like Hawaiian growing conditions. I fight rose mildew continually but also pick lemons. limes and mandarins year-round. It’s heaven!

Elsewhere the afternoon brings warm winds most days unless we are blessed with an onshore breeze from the coast. Unfortunately I’ve noticed that in recent years, that flow happens less often. Around midnight, we get what is known as the “Banana Belt” winds. They carry the valley floor’s warmth upwards, evaporating whatever moisture was in the plants. Morning pot waterings are a must everyday of summer!

Courtyard flowers

Grahmn {above} is supposed to be a huge plant but between his location-the “back 40” garden, the pushy Russian sage and Grahmn’s bad temper, he is about 2.6 feet tall, growing horizontally. I suppose he is one of those who want “pegs” but I’ve yet to go to that much trouble.

Pegging means taking the long rose canes and pegging them to the ground, causing lateral canes to shoot up along the pegged cane. One gets more flowers but also must do more maintenance.

english rose
“Charles Aznavour”

When we get fog, it creates a micro-climate that is a boon for every plant fungus on earth. My roses get all sorts of spots {black, brown, rust, sun}, blemishes{mildews} and other complaints{bugs}. I have to spray them occasionally or they will become nude. If lucky, one good sulphur dose in very early spring will hold most of them off.

Charles {above} is especially prone to this! Plants need their leaves and I want flowers! Spray it is….occasionally. But spray will affect their fragrance!

eglantyne english rose
“Eglantyne” Austin rose, a leggy beauty

This rose {above} is Eglantyne, my favorite for her intense fragrance. Tamara is also quite happy holding that deliciousness in her petals.

Charlotte english rose + hummingbird
“Charlotte” and friend
eglantyne english rose

Another shot of Eglantyne because she is so beautiful.

And temperamental.

As you might see in the sixth photo, Eglantyne is long and leggy, about 9′ now. She tends to “blow” {drop} petals quickly if not happy with the weather, temperature, watering too much or not enough, the dog sneezing, a slammed door… or just because. She’s like a moody woman (or man). But her benefits outweigh her temperament.

english rose bouquet
“English Rose bouquet”

When I pick roses for the house, I pick lots, put them in a large vase of fresh SPRING water (the water we use in landscaping) and set it on an even larger platter to capture the dropping petals. Heavenly fragrance wafts everywhere!

Too soon the roses will look sad but there will be a huge pile of drying petals and a few buds all over the platter {the table, floor, etc.} And some wayward, lost, forlorn bugs wandering about. When I have a paper grocery bag full of them, I don’t stop there but that is enough for a large bowl of potpourri.

bowl of potpourri

In the end~ Your potpourri

  • a big bowl~(cover in the beginning)
  • rose essential oil~*expensive but get the best you can afford. I like Mountain Herb Store, online.
  • lots of petals~ a few dozen springs of lavender
  • a large paper bag for shaking it all and keeping it dark

It will cure for up to about 6 weeks. Some add a little, the name is escaping me so ask me if you are interested-it’s a powder that helps to “set” the fragrance.

Enjoy for years.


26 thoughts on “Why I Love (and hate) English Roses

  1. Such beautiful blooms in your garden. After weeks of blistering heat, it has finally settled back down into the 90’s and the humidity is down. The result is some beautiful blooms this week. Thank you for sharing your blooms. Would love to visit the David Austin Show gardens in England one day….

    1. hello..and thank you. i do not envy that heat you’ve had down there…terrible. we are now heating up after an unseasonably cool summer. my roses are still blooming sporadically as a result. i too would love to visit the austin gardens as his work is astounding. i was reading that the austin “english” roses for the US are now all grown here. in tyler, texas of all places!!

      thank you for commenting 🙂

  2. Good evening dear Linda~


    OH. MY. GOD…..these photos of your roses are absolutely SPECTACULAR! That first shot of the roses with water drops is AMAZING!!

    Do you know that I could actually SMELL these roses from here!? I swear to god, just looking at these images triggered something in my sense memory and I could smell them as if I my nose was only a few inches from them!

    I LOVE your idea of recycling the rose petals into potpourri. I do the same thing, but I can’t image the roses that I have are anything like the ones you have, so I always add a bit of rose essential oil to the petals to freshen them up.

    Thank you for sharing about how you grow and care for these lovely blossoms, because I found it very interesting. As you know, I don’t have green but rather a black thumb when it comes to gardening. I can’t even grow an AIR fern – HA!

    Hope you had a lovely Saturday, my friend. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

    ((((( Linda )))))


    P.S. we finally got a break in the horrendous heat here. Yesterday and today it was just lovely. Cool and comfortable 🙂

    1. hi ron…thanks for stopping in. and appreciating my photos so much. i am glad you got a waft of fragrance. i am so glad you are now cooling down. we are now heating up:( ugh…. it’s in the 90’s just now and same yesterday. it’s frying everything as we have had cooler weather than usual for this time of year.

      i want to send you some potpourri when the time comes. would that be OK?

  3. the peach color is amazing
    and the water droplets make the flower even more beautiful

    1. hello dianne and thank you for your comment. i sent you a little note but wanted to thank you here as well. i love the water drops on the photo and it was an absolute miracle it was there when i uploaded the photos. i take 100’s for 10!! tamara is the one!

  4. They’re all amazing. Wow what gorgeous colours. And what a struggle for them.

    Everything’s struggling here–we’re into a drought and sadly losing crops by the hour. The bushes that were so lovely when I returned in April–gone…..no matter how much I water them, there’s no saving ’em.

    Ah well…..the hope is they’ll come back next year.

    And this is why we don’t have roses here…..not of the English variety. Wild ones grow in ditches when there’s adequate rainfall.
    The neighbor grows roses–but they’re among the casualties of the arid, hot days we’ve experienced seemingly forever.
    I’m hopeful they’ll bounce back……but who knows.
    Enjoy what you have while you have ’em, huh?
    Rain wouldn’t bother any of us around here–so feel free to go do your raindance!! 🙂

    1. hi Mel,
      I am so happy to see you over here again…i have been such a remiss blogger but continue to have these dumb, infuriating health issues/body confinements that prevent me from having any fun!

      i know of the farmers’ plight in the midwest as we too are farmers and such is the life of one.. we are at the mercy of everything, most especially Mother Nature. but such a mass mess is generally not called for, ms. nature?

      yes, roses don’t like excessive anything, including the heat. we are now in our heat wave and it’s been so cool, they don’t know what to do but burn and fall over…i am sad but what to do but hope in the fall when i cut them back, fertilize more, water more… etc.

      and i am doing my raindance and continue til it rains… really! 😉

      1. Well, pooh on the stuff that interferes with FUN!

        Including the 102 degree heat.
        That’s actual……..who knows what the heat index will top off at.

        <– sits outside anyway cuz I'm a doofus LOL Besides, the little hummers would miss me!

        Feel better….FUN is required, dontchaknow. 😉

  5. I am so glad I found your site! My favorite picture is the first one. I’ll be back because I definitely want to follow your posts. ~ Wendy

    1. Hi Wendy,
      I am happy you found my little new blog. AND left a comment… 🙂


  6. They truly are gorgeous – each and every one of them. The Tamara and the Grahmn Thomas, as well as the English bouquet all look good enough to eat. I’m imagining you’re sometimes tempted to do exactly that because I certainly would be. Rolling in the petals would be nice too.

    The rose gardens in Portland were the most amazing I’ve ever seen outside of England and happily, I had a long time to enjoy them. Other people’s that is. My own attempts at doing so were thwarted by having only eastern light. I may try one or two again next year when we have our new place. Meanwhile, I always love seeing the ones in your care whenever you post some pictures. A delight, my dear!

    1. good eve, my dear… this will be short as i have a migraine and am mourning i suppose..feeling sorry for myself? perhaps…. i am surprised at that but so be it. it is in regards my therapist, i might have mentioned she quit? again…

      thank you for stopping in and saying such sweet things… i wish you could have roses where you are and will pray to rose goddesses that when you get your new place, there will be a place for at least 3. i agree. rolling in rose petals would be nice. 🙂

      i vaguely remember the Portland rose gardens from years ago when we passed thru with 3 kids in an RV,,, needless to say, a quick stop over on our way home to CA, we were young and crazy then. now i am old and crazy..hmmm…xoxoxoxx

  7. Marcella Rousseau July 25, 2012 — 2:10 pm

    How are you? – I’ve nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blog Award. Check out my post at http://www.marcellarousseau.wordpress.com.

    1. Hi Marcella and thank you. I popped over to your link and didn’t see my blog listed. Perhaps you have mixed me up with another on your list?


      1. Marcella Rousseau July 25, 2012 — 2:49 pm

        Gosh, I hope not! I will check and get back to you.

      2. Marcella Rousseau July 25, 2012 — 2:56 pm

        No, you are the blogger I want ; – D I won two awards recently. You are probably looking at the Sunshine Award. You are listed under the Very Inspiring Blogger Award list. Click on the photo on the right for Very Inspiring Blogger. It will take you to the correct page.

  8. Your roses are beautiful, Linda. I have grown many of the David Austin roses you have pictured in the southeast with mixed results. Looking at your beautiful pictures has inspired me to pull out the Immunox and get serious about the blackspot!

  9. Wonderful photographs of my favourite flower; and informative text to accompany them. Many years ago I worked for a specialist rose grower (in England), so being amongst these incredible plants – as apparently you are – is something dear and familiar to me. They regenerate from cuttings remarkably easily as I’m sure you know; we used to use a moist, soft sand – that was all they required initially.

    With gratitude and respect, Hariod Brawn.

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