top 10 roses

Our Top 10 Roses

There are over 150 rose species and thousands of hybrids, so compiling our Top 10 Roses is something of a challenge.

Here we have chosen some of our favourites for this list of our top 10 roses which we feel are essential for any good rose garden. Just like making fine wine, developing a new hybrid takes an in-depth knowledge of roses in order to choose the right parents and artificially pollinate a variety with pollen from a different variety. These beauties have stood the test of time and become good specimens with great stories behind them.

‘South Africa’ Rose

A disease-resistant rose that grows well and flowers prolifically, bearing up to 25 large golden-yellow double blooms. This is a floribunda-type rose (‘floribunda’ is derived from the Latin ‘flowering in abundance’) so you know it’s a good performer all over South Africa. It doesn’t need much grooming to keep it neat and forms a dense hedge to around shoulder height. This rose was introduced by Ludwig’s Roses for their 30th anniversary in 2001 and is on our list of top 10 roses.

‘Flower Carpet’ Rose

With over 25 international awards, ‘Flower Carpet’ roses are ones to look out for. As the name suggests, these are groundcover roses that ramble over the ground, potentially producing an amazing 2000 flowers from spring to autumn. Back in the 1980’s, Australian nurseryman Anthony Tesselaar launched ‘Flower Carpet’ roses to the world, and our own Keith Kirsten made them famous in South Africa. Once established, the roses are drought-resistant and low maintenance, requiring just garden shears to prune them back if necessary. They are disease resistant as well.

‘Just Joey’ Rose

Every three years the members of the World Federation of Rose Societies vote on which of the world’s favourite roses deserve to be inducted into the Rose Hall of Fame. ‘Just Joey’ made the list in 1994. This very popular rose was introduced in 1972 by UK breeder Roger Pawsey, and named after his wife. It produces large dramatic apricot blooms with a rich fragrance on a strong and healthy bush. An elegant rose to add to the list.

‘My Granny’

One of the most popular roses in the country, ‘My Granny’ is a spreading shrub rose with the prettiest rosette-shaped flowers in a delicate pink and white. It’s very versatile in the garden, doing well in flower beds, as a groundcover, in containers and in hanging baskets. Its cascading branches and long flowering season make this rose a winner.

‘Garden Princess’ Rose

Ludwig Taschner predicts that ‘Garden Princess’ will become even more popular than its magnificent ‘mother’, ‘Garden Queen’. A classic hybrid tea rose that produces huge soft pink blooms that have a strong fragrance, it has already won awards for its performance and fragrance in European rose trials. Group together for maximum effect.

‘Double Delight’ Rose

Ludwig Taschner says that this rose is, “One of the most brilliant roses ever produced.” Since it has been one of the top-selling varieties in South Africa over the last decade, we have to agree. It is a very healthy, vigorous and prolific hybrid tea rose with creamy double blooms with scarlet on the margins. It has long stems and firm petals, making it ideal for cutting for the vase, and a strong fragrance adds to the joy. Another award-winning rose that had to go on the list.

‘Blue Moon’ Rose

Because blue roses don’t appear in nature, breeders see it as a challenge to create one, and I am sure they will one day succeed. In the meantime we have the ‘Blue Moon’ hybrid tea rose, which is more a beautiful lilac than blue, has a strong fragrance and pretty blooms. This rose is a strong grower and very popular even after all this time – it was first bred in Germany in 1964. It makes beautiful cut flowers and is disease-resistant.

‘Nelson Mandela’ Rose

It takes time to find the perfect rose to be named after an icon, and Keith Kirsten looked for years before finding the perfect floribunda rose to name after his friend Madiba. It was chosen for its brilliance and striking orange colour, and was launched in 2018 to mark the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela. Several of The Gardener team were fortunate enough to attend this special event, so it must be on our list as a rose for everyone’s garden.

‘Burgundy Iceberg’

Known for winter-hardiness, ‘Iceberg’ roses are popular as bush floribunda and particularly as standards. The white ‘Iceberg’ rose was inducted into the Rose Hall of Fame in 1983. Since then a lovely pink colour and then the eye-catching burgundy were bred, and subsequently introduced to our local market by Keith Kirsten. These fragrant roses bloom most of the year and will grow equally well in cold winter gardens and in temperate climates. A mass of ‘Burgundy Icebergs’ standing in a nursery is hard to resist.

‘Knock Out’ Rose

This rose is on our top 10 roses list because it is a rose that is disease-free, drought resistant, extremely hardy and produces abundant blooms every 5 – 6 weeks in season and deserves the title of ‘Knock Out’. These roses are easy to grow and don’t require much – they are even self-cleaning. A shrub rose, it grows to around 1.5m tall and does well with other annuals and perennials in mixed borders or planted in large groups to create a colourful hedge. ‘Knock Out’ was inducted into the Rose Hall of Fame in 2018.

For more information on these and other roses, see the contacts below: • Ludwig’s Roses – www.ludwigsroses.co.za • Malanseuns Pleasure Plants (A wholesaler: ask your local nursery to order for you.) – www.malanseuns.co.za • Keith Kirsten Horticulture International (These roses are grown by various growers, and you will find them at selected nurseries countrywide.) – www.keithkirsten.com

The Gardener