There is a special breed of landscapers who love to use roses. They are always willing to try out new roses, especially if a client is adventurous, and over the years have developed their personal favourites that are super-performers.
Some roses have become their signature, like the three ‘Granny’ roses (‘My Granny’, ‘Granny’s Delight’ and ‘Granny Dearest’) in various shades of pink that are always found in gardens created by Karen Gardelli of Creative Containers.
She pots up huge, beautiful mixed containers, using all three ‘Granny Roses’ planted around an Antico Moderno rose like ‘Roberta Capucci’ or ‘Linda Anne’ as well as raised plant boxes that allow the Grannies to spill over the edges.
With properties getting smaller and boundary walls getting higher, Karen uses window boxes and raised built beds for height.
The showiness of the ‘Grannies’ is just what is needed, with their profusion of flowers and vigorous, cascading growth.
“If Ludwig could produce a white-flowering Granny rose, my cup would run over,’ laughs Karen.
Another rose that she uses because it is such a strong grower, ‘never gets sick’ and flowers profusely is the soft porcelain pink ‘Linda Anne’, which has large, old fashioned quartered blooms and a soft perfume.
The rose was named after Linda Anne MacAllister who has filled her large Bryanston garden with some 2000 roses in various pastel shades. ‘Linda Anne’ roses are planted close to the house and around the pool area so that they can be enjoyed.
In a section of the garden dedicated to the grandchildren’s play area Karen has filled a container with ‘Linda Anne’ in the centre surrounded by six shrublets of ‘The Fairy’, which also has old fashioned semi-double pink blooms that arch over the edge of the pot. The knee-high plants are disease resistant with glossy green leaves.
‘Garden Queen’ is the favourite rose of landscaper Shirley Wallington. “The name is very apt. It is such a voluptuous rose; the perfume is divine, and it is an incredible performer,’ says Shirley.
Shirley has a penchant for roses with an old-fashioned look, like ‘Spiced Coffee’. Its strongly fragrant blooms are a blend of pale amber flushed with lavender and pink. What intrigues Shirley is how the blooms change in colour as they age, giving it that antique quality.
It is a good picking rose, which is another feature she looks for in roses, adding ‘Addo Heritage’, ‘Duet’ and ‘Oyster Pearl’ to her list of favourites.
‘Addo Heritage’ is an Antico Moderno rose, with huge long-stemmed, full-petalled flowers in a soft coral colour. It outlasts all other cut flowers and grows into a powerful shrub that holds its own in the flowering mixed borders that are a feature of Shirley’s gardens.
A rose that is often used to edge a bed or fill a border is the soft buff yellow floribunda ‘Tawny Profusion’. It is a compact, neat bush, that is always covered with clusters of long-lasting flowers that have a light perfume.
Despite having her favourites, Shirley makes a point of letting her client’s chose their own roses. Clients make their initial choice from Ludwig’s Roses catalogue, then view the actual roses to see if they work together before making the final selection.
“Fashion plays a big part and Ludwig brings out new roses every year which they like to try out.’
Liz Steyn is another celebrated Johannesburg landscaper. She was mentored by the inimitable Anne Lorentz, landscaper and television personality, driving force behind the Johannesburg Garden Club and creator of Roedean School’s magnificent gardens.
Not surprisingly, the rose ‘Anne Lorentz’ is one of her favourites and she plants it whenever she can as a tribute to that exceptional woman. It is also an exceptional rose: a hybrid tea with large, perfectly symmetrical blooms of exhibition quality that change from champagne to soft pink as the flowers open. The hip-high bush is easy to grow and holds its own in any mixed bed.
Other pink roses that Liz favours are the Antico Moderno ‘Roberto Capucci’ (soft pink and salmon) and tall growing hybrid tea ‘Duet’ (deep pink). Both are exceptional garden performers that produce pickable blooms for the home.
When introducing warm shades of yellow into the garden, Liz uses ‘Just Joey’ for its glowing copper-apricot blooms and to lighten an area the white Antico Moderno rose ‘Free and Loyal’.
‘Free and Loyal’ is a white bush rose with strongly scented old-fashioned ‘cabbage’ blooms. When fully open the centre has a soft apricot tint. The sturdy bush grows to shoulder height and carries the individual blooms on strong, long stems.