Growing Gorgeous Roses

December 18, 2014

Here we are, at the year’s end, sitting back and thinking a little about the last twelve months. We probably should be taking stock of our personal and/or working lives, but it’s a lot more fun to focus on the garden. What grew fabulously well? What didn’t work out as planned and why? And what plans do we have for the fresh year that’s just around the corner?

Easy care landscape roses

This massed bed of Flower Carpet Red roses held its own through this last year of drought.

Looking back, 2014 must go down as being the year of the roses. Despite the drought that hammered most states, roses – especially the likes of Flower Carpet – did remarkably well. We’ve heard from many home gardeners that despite hot dry condition, their Flower Carpets continue to thrive. Becky D. from Ignacio, CO says “I still cannot believe that the Flower Carpet Roses live much less thrive in our growing conditions.” Sandi P. from Pensecola Florida commented “It was a very hot summer but the Flower Carpets seemed to like it. They bloomed all summer and into the  fall.”  And  Debra B. from Oklahoma writes: “My Flower Carpets were  the only ones that survived the drought we’ve  had the last 3 years!”


But this shouldn’t be a surprise, if we shake off the assumption that high rainfall is essential to producing anything like the rosey show found in Great Britain’s famous rose gardens. Instead we should remember that roses grow across the northern hemisphere in an astonishing range of climates; some rose ancestors hail from places as dry and hot as Damascus, a city not noted for frequent, heavy rainfall.

drought-tolerant roses

The hills tell the real story about how much rain has fallen – yet the professionals still get the result they want by using plants like Flower Carpet Red.

It’s always demoralizing to be in the midst of drought, and perhaps more so for farmers and gardeners, for these are the people who are aware of the losses moment by moment, plant by plant. So it’s wonderful to note the success of roses during this past year. Clearly the mental note-to-self for any gardener or landscaper would be to plant more roses: these are plants that can be relied upon to thrive and look lovely, even when water is a slim resource.


They are a solid choice in the garden where you want in-fill, structure or a feature plant. Professionals use them where they want bullet-proof repetition like a strip planting alongside a drive or a massed floral foundation planting for a house. But you don’t have to plant them in the ground. Look around and you’ll start to notice how many roses are planted out in super-sized containers. They flank front entrances, they’re dotted over pool-side patios, and they grace roof terraces in some of the driest and windiest of cities. Wherever they’re being grown, as long as they get some regular irrigation when they’re settling in and beginning to mature, they’ll cope with much less water later on.

landscape plants

Flower Carpet Pink makes a colorful yet easy-care poolside planting option.

drought-tolerant roses

Even in dry settings container-grown roses hold their own, beautifully.

And when you’re thinking about what to plant in your containers in 2015 keep a look out for the new Sweet Spot roses. These decorator roses are very pretty and their flower contrast is amazing!

Decorator Roses

Sweet Spot Calypso, one of the four new Sweet Spot roses.

Decorator rose

decorator roses

Sweet Spot Yellow adds interest to any garden 

Using Roses in Dry Gardens  . . .

  • plant on a cooler day, or in the evening
  • mulch around your plants to help keep the soil cool
  • mulch is also good for roses growing in containers
  • mass plant roses to squeeze out the thirsty weeds
  • water regularly to help establish new plants, less later when mature
  • water containers more frequently as they will dry out faster.


For high res images to accompany this Story Starter, contact Judie Brower at


Downloadable images:

Flower Carpet roses and other plants that hold up to extreme weather

Drought tolerant plants

Shrub roses for tough places

Landscape Plantings

Sweet Spot Roses

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