Chinas, Teas and Noisettes. Chinas, Teas and Noisettes. If you're a warm-climate rose gardener, those rose classes are meant for your garden. Did you know that Shanghai, China and Jacksonville, Florida are almost on the same parallel - latitudinally speaking, within a few minutes of each other? Explorers and merchants of the late 1700's brought Chinese roses (R. chinensis) back to Europe. They were the first repeating roses ever seen by Europeans and are responsible for the genetics of reblooming roses. The one I am fondest of and the first OGR in my garden is Louis Philippe, also known as...drum roll, please. The Florida Rose! It seems to be impervious to the nematodes in our sandy ground that cut short the life of most other roses. Its smallish globular flowers are deliciously scented. They remind me of Cherry candy and never fail to make my mouth water. The outer petals are red, but the petals toward the center are pink with a touch of white. All my roses are favorites, but he really is my favorite, I think. Louis Philippe is such a cheerful rose, never giving me a moment's trouble. I just love him.
|About a year and a half old, maybe 3' tall x 4' wide|
|Two years old in March, 2009 preparing the first spring flush|
The shocker is that this bush is now as tall as the 6' fence and about as wide. (It's too cold to take his picture now!!) You can see his foliage is beautiful and healthy with no spraying. Chinas have a very twiggy structure, shooting out thin canes at all angles. They really only need to be pruned for size since they cycle through flush after flush even without deadheading, typically dropping old leaves after a bloom followed by a burst of new red growth which turns a fresh green and then on with the next flowering cycle. It was a little scary the first few times he dropped leaves. I thought he was dying. As Louis Philippe has gotten older, he doesn't defoliate nearly as much between blooms but stays nice and bushy.
Every week with these roses has been something new. Looking through my photos, I am amazed at how different they looked a year ago and two years ago and even from spring to summer. I have another favorite China, but that's tomorrow's post. Oh, did I say 'another' favorite? Told ya.