Gardening notes: Breaking in my new roses

I have just added Felicia and Veilchenblau to our rose collection. Veilchenblau is in a pot but I am pondering where best to put Felicia in the ground.

Notes about Felicia, Special Instructions: can be grown as shrub or, with support, as pillar rose Hybrid Musk.

According to BBC Gardening, Felicia is “One of the more vigorous hybrid musks, this is descended from the famous old hybrid tea rose ‘Ophelia’, and introduced in 1928. It is noted for its long flowering season, starting in June and continuing repeatedly throughout the summer, with a particularly outstanding display in autumn, often lingering into November. The blooms are very shapely, in large impressive trusses and excellent for cutting, while the upright well-branched habit of the shrubs makes them a good choice for informal hedges. As a shrub rose, it is best pruned in late summer, after flowering has finished. Prune most stems lightly. To encourage young, vigorous growth, cut back a few of the oldest stems each year. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its Award of Garden Merit (AGM).”

From Oak Leaf Gardening “Rosa Felicia“:

This is a repeat-flowering ‘hybrid musk‘ rose with a relatively long flowering season well into the autumn. Salmon pink buds open into light pink flowers with a centre of yellow stamen which have a medium fragrance. The foliage is mid green and slightly glossy.

What to use it for

This arching rose is ideal for beds and borders in cottage style gardens. Can be useful as hedging/screening

“When planting, trim the roots back to encourage new growth. Adding mycorrhizal fungi when planting can help roses establish well. Ensure roses are well watered, particularly if they are newly planted.

Hybrid musk roses respond well to feeding, which should be done in spring and again in midsummer. Feed them with a fertiliser containing nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous as well as trace elements of the more minor nutrients plants require – proprietary rose compound fertilisers are available which are tailored to roses’ specific needs.

How to prune it

No pruning is required until the plant is established. At this point, prune in the dormant season (late autumn to early spring) to remove dead, diseased and damaged growth, and between one and three stems (depending on the vigour of the plant). Cut back the remaining main stems by 1/3 and side shoots by 1/2.

Roses should be deadheaded regularly to encourage further flowering.”

From NY Times‘ “CUTTINGS; Hybrid Musk Roses: Scent Above All Else

” A mature specimen of Felicity or Penelope also has luminous blossoms, and a likable, relaxed growth habit, but for me, scent eclipses all other considerations….What really matters is that the hybrid musks are hardy, floriferous, easy on the eyes, and easy to care for…Hybrid musk roses tend to form good-sized shrubs, four to five feet tall and four feet wide. Some grow large enough to use as short climbers. Their growth habit has been described as ”relaxed,” meaning that the canes go where they please, avoiding the stiff, upright stance characteristic of the hybrid teas. Most hybrid musks produce clusters of strongly scented pink, yellow or apricot flowers, with a stupendous first flush in May or early June, and less abundant spurts of bloom thereafter until frost. I have found that hybrid musks are not impervious to black spot and powdery mildew, but recover strongly from them.”  More about the history of Pemberton roses here

From Aberdeen Roses…on pruning Felicia (note they are in Australia, so seasons are in reverse)

“Now is the time to get those Roses pruned.

Rose pruning as recommended by Cockers Roses of Aberdeen

All Hybrid Tea and Floribunda varieties should be pruned the first spring after planting, cutting them back to 3 or 4 eyes from the base, the top eyes should be pointing outwards. Pruning should be done in late February while roses planted after February should be pruned prior to planting. Climbing roses should not be pruned but simply cut back the tips about 5-7cm (2-3 in). to a bud.

Pruning in subsequent years

HYBRID TEAS In the second and subsequent years after planting, cut away all weak and unripe growths, shorten the remaining shoots to about half the length of the previous year’s growth. Keep the centre of the bush open and leave the top bud after pruning facing outwards. We strongly recommend February pruning.

FLORIBUNDAS The first pruning after planting should consist of cutting away all weak shoots and cutting healthy growth down to about 15cm (6 in) from the ground, always pruning to an outward eye. The second year prune the new 1-year old wood lightly. The 1-year wood is the main shoot from the base of the bush. Remove the flower heads and if a secondary shoot or shoots have developed just below the flower, these are shortened to 3 or 4 eyes. The older wood, which was pruned the previous year, should have made good growth and this should be shortened to about half its length. Pruning the third or succeeding years consists of cutting 1-year old wood lightly and 2-year old wood fairly hard. By pruning in this way the flowering season is prolonged and the trees maintain their natural height. This pruning should be done in February.

CLIMBING ROSES Pruning consists primarily of cutting out the dead wood and pruning to prevent over-crowding, which can be done after the plants have flowered in the summer.


On Veilchenblau, from Southern Garden:

“Veilchenblau (Rambler) This is an outstanding rose and one of my personal favorites. It is almost thornless, not as vigorous as most ramblers, fragrant, blooms well in partial shade and simply a knockout when in bloom. The only negative thing I can find to say about it is that it only blooms once a year. Needs protection in northern areas.”

This rambler makes a breathtaking sight in early spring when it is smothered with tiny violet blooms. It is truly unfortunate that the rose only blooms once each year but it is something to look forward to. I have this rose growing on an archway where it receives morning sun (about 5-6 hours) and then complete shade after 1 p.m. The long pliable canes are thornless and the flowers have a slight fruity fragrance. The name comes from the German and means “violet blue”

Veilchenblau is also known as the “Blue Rose” which is stretching the truth quite a bit. The actual color is violet with white streaks and a white center accented with bright gold stamens. Large clusters of blooms start out darker in color and slowly fade to light lilac but they remain a long time so that you see all the multi-shading effects at once.” Read more about it… 

From BBC Gardening World:

“When grown on a brick wall or archway, with a little light shade at midday, the colouring of this old rose is unique. Variously described as lilac, deep lavender, or blue-grey, the heavy clusters of dainty semi-double blooms seem to change colour as they open and mature, their white or silvery-grey flecks disappearing as the overall colour fades to a rich lavender grey. It is a polyantha rambler or climber, and may be pruned as either, introduced in 1909 as a hybrid with ‘Crimson Rambler’ as one parent. In some lights it is almost blue, and has been known as ‘Blue Rambler’ and ‘Blue Rosalie’. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM”

From the Classicroses forum:

“Veilchenblau is a beautiful rose and you are lucky to have such a well established plant. I second all the others though, Veilchenblau will manage fine with a drastic haircut. As others have also said though, you will lose a lot of flowers as it blooms on old wood, so next time you need to slow it down remember to prune right after it has finished flowering – that way it can put out new growth which will be mature enough to give you flowers the following year”

From Dirt Therapy’s “Veilchenblau, the Blue Rose”:

“This beautiful rambler is named “Veilchenblau” which means “violet-blue” in German but who would choose a blue rose over the colors this one displays? I don’t think I would. I like it just the way it is. Deep purple crimson buds open to a softer lavender and fade to light pink and white. Each flower has a white streak running along the petals.

This is a rose that always elicits ooo’s and ahhhh’s from visitors to the garden. Bred in 1909, it is a vigorous but thornless rambler that can be grown a variety of ways, covering arches like we grow it or letting it scamper along a fence. If you look at myphoto from last year, you will see that it was much larger then. I pruned it severely last year because it was getting out of control and had some die-back. This is how it looks this year –

Disease-resistant and very easy to grow, this is one of my favorites. The only sad thing about it is that it only blooms one time a year and has little fragrance.


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