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Roses: The Sweetest Summer Blooms

Around the Gardens Blog

BY Cassia Kesler

A centerpiece of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, the Dunn Formal Rose Garden is a glorious marvel throughout the warmer months and into fall. The profusion of color; the lovely, ethereal scents floating on the breeze; and the symmetry of the garden design all transport the senses into the sublime. This past spring, thanks to generous donors, in collaboration with the Birmingham Rose Society, the Friends planted 466 new roses in the garden. Here are a few of the different varieties, including some award-winning roses to look out for, as you stroll the garden paths.

HYBRID TEA: ‘Veteran’s Honor’

Rosa ‘Veteran’s Honor’ (Rose Hall of Fame 1981) 

One of the most popular varieties of roses, hybrid tea roses feature a single bloom for every long stem, with an upright growing habit—ideal for cutting. The large, ornate blooms with 25 to 30 petals create a dazzling display in any garden. ‘Veteran’s Honor’ flourishes a deep, velvety red and has a light raspberry scent.


Rosa ‘Love’ (AARS Winner 1980) All American Rose Selections

Grandifloras present elegant showy blooms in cycles of six to seven weeks at a time. Their shrubs are larger and stand taller than hybrid teas, but the flowers are slightly smaller and produce a spray of blooms on each stem. Hardy and vigorous, grandifloras are popular for filling a landscape with color. Rosa ‘Love’ is a cultivar developed by William Warriner and was named an All-America Rose Selections winner in 1980. A medium-tall shrub, the blooms are a scarlet red with a silvery reverse, and carry a mild fragrance.

FLORIBUNDA: ‘Rosie the Riveter’

Rosa ‘Rosie the Riveter’ (AARS Winner 1996) All-American Rose Selections

Floribunda roses have large clusters of medium-size blooms that cover the bush continuously all season long. This cultivar sports lavish blooms in a distinctive shade of deep orange suffused with pink, and a medium fruity, almost spicy fragrance. 

SHRUB: ‘Lady of Shalott’

Rosa ‘Lady of Shalott’ (AGRS Winner 2017) American Garden Rose Selections 

Shrub roses tend to sprawl wide and large, up to 15 feet every direction. Able to withstand harsh winters, shrub roses are notable for their hardiness. Their blooms are produced in bountiful clusters, opening to apricot-orange flowers with a golden-yellow reverse. Rosa ‘Lady of Shalott’ is an apricot-orange cultivar bred by British rosarian David C. H. Austin. It was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit in 2012 and the American Garden Rose Selections award in 2017. A medium-sized shrub with medium size blooms, it has a strong, fruity, clove fragrance. 

MINIATURE: ‘Sunblaze Lemon’

Rosa ‘Sunblaze Lemon’

A form of the hybrid tea or grandiflora rose, miniature and miniflora roses feature much smaller blooms, under two inches wide, but are still showy and fragrant. While the flowers and leaves remain proportionally smaller, miniature rose shrubs can grow 2 to 3 feet tall. They bloom profusely throughout the season and have a mild, citrusy, damask fragrance.