photo: rose blush noisette
2009-10-29. Rose ‘Blush Noisette’. Zanthan Gardens

October 29th, 2009
Rose ‘Blush Noisette’

Update: October 29, 2009

After our month of rain, roses all over Austin are blooming in profusion. I see ‘Knockout’ roses on every corner. I’m not a fan of their cherry red color so I don’t have any. I much prefer the baby pink of my old-fashioned ‘Blush Noisette’.

‘Blush Noisette’ has survived both the 2006 and 2008/9 droughts and seems as happy as ever. However, 2009 was the first summer that it didn’t bloom much. I kept watering it and cut back some of the old growth to the ground. When the fall rains came, it tripled in size and this week has begun blooming profusely.

It has not quite reached the size or number of flowers that it did in rainy 2007 but it’s getting there. If you live where the water is plentiful, it will thrive. If you don’t, it will survive happily, not just grudgingly.

photo: rose blush noisette
April 23, 2007. This is the biggest ‘Blush Noisette’ has ever gotten.

The best thing about the fall bloom is that dry cool weather alternates with the rains–and so the flowers haven’t succumbed to their usual tendency to ball.

Dateline: November 9, 2003

photo: rose blush noisette

‘Blush Noisette’ has a baby powder fragrance that wafts on the breeze. It’s the only rose I have which surprises me with unexpected whiffs of scent that I can smell even if I’m digging weeds 10 feet away. In my garden, it’s is in bloom more than any other rose, even in the heat of summer.

The pale pink flowers bloom in little nosegays. Unfortunately they don’t open at once. And the individual blossoms frequently ball (turn brown before opening as shown in the photo below). They don’t seem to ball in wet weather like ‘Souvenir del Malmaison’. I think they do it if I haven’t kept up with my watering. This bunch opened over a week where it which began dry in the 90s and ended drizzling in the 40s. ‘Blush Noisette opened its biggest flowers ever in the cold drizzle.

photo: rose blush noisette

I grow ‘Blush Noisette’ as a freestanding bush rose. It has formed a nice vase shape about three feet cubed.

photo: Christmas rose
2008-12-25. Roses blooming on Christmas Day in Austin, TX. ‘New Dawn’

December 25th, 2008
Week 52: Christmas Day Roses

Dateline: 2008
Two out of three of my ‘New Dawn’ roses have been flowering all December. The flower above is from a bud I didn’t see and pick before our last hard freeze. It survived and opened but you can see from the brown spots that it is frost damaged.

After the droughts of 2006 and 2008, I don’t have very many roses left in my garden. The David Austin ‘Heritage’ rose which was blooming on Christmas Day 2007 died. However, ‘Blush Noisette’ is still going strong, blooming in what passes for cold in central Texas but also doing well in Austin’s summer heat. This Christmas Day her flowers are either bud or blown.
photo: Christmas rose
‘Blush Noisette’

I’m bending the rules this year to show you my newest amaryllis, ‘Amoretta’. It opened about a week ago and has had to be protected from two hard freezes and then be immediately uncovered as temperatures soared into the 70s. As such it is a bit battered. I notice with roses that cold weather tends to intensify colors and I wonder if this is true with this amaryllis or whether this is its true color.
photo: Christmas amaryllis
Amaryllis ‘Amoretta’

Dateline: 2007
photo: Christmas roses
2007-12-25. Roses blooming on Christmas Day in Austin, TX. ‘Blush Noisette’
This has been a very good year for December roses throughout Austin. Two light freezes, last weekend and this, haven’t damaged the roses much especially those growing in a protected area along walls or privacy fences. The white flowered China rose, ‘Ducher’, is my only rose that is covered with flowers. Looking over my history below, I see that ‘Ducher’ and ‘Blush Noisette’ are my most reliable Christmas roses. Around town ‘Mutabilis’ also seems to do very well in this cooler weather.

photo: Christmas roses
2007-12-25. ‘Ducher’ is the only rose in full bloom; the snowy white against the red of the nandina berries is about as close to Christmas colors as we get in Austin.

The freezing night temperatures intensify the colors of ‘Heritage’. The flowers also opens more slowly last longer than in spring or summer.

photo: Christmas roses
2007-12-25. Another flower opened on ‘Heritage’; this one is a little smaller and more ragged than the one that opened for GBBD.

The downside to winter roses is that the buds are vulnerable.
photo: Christmas roses
2007-12-25. Freeze-dried buds on ‘Blush Noisette’.

The ‘New Dawn’ rose that I started from a cutting has a bud.

photo: Christmas roses
2007-12-25. A cane of ‘New Dawn’ has sprawled across the pinks; this bud didn’t quite make it open for Christmas Day…but we have 12 days left of Christmas.

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photo: rose Souvenir de la Malmaison
‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ March 31, 2008, in a light mist…coming down with a case of powdery mildew.

March 31st, 2008
Rose ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’

I love the cyclical nature of gardening. I’m amused to find myself taking photos of ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ as I did exactly one year ago. I wish I could put her on pause because today all her flowers are in full bloom and by tomorrow the petals will be scattered on the paths. And I really wanted Carol to see her. Ephemeral beauty. She’s bloomed non-stop all through March but she won’t make it to April. Fortunately ‘Blush Noisette’ is waiting in the wings to take the spotlight. Thus I am consoled.

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Souvenir de la Malmaison buds
2008–02-10. A couple of weeks after stripping off the old leaves, new buds form.

February 10th, 2008
Stripping Roses

In Austin winters are sometimes so mild that we can have roses blooming all year long. December is often a very good month for roses. January less so. By February the roses are gearing up for a big spring show. I always try to have my roses pruned, fed and mulched before Valentine’s day, especially during a particularly mild winter as this one has been.

The problem in Austin is that it doesn’t get cold enough for many of the roses to drop their leaves and go dormant.
Souvenir de la Malmaison leaves
Last year’s leaves are ratty and prone to disease.
Souvenir de la Malmaison leaves
The new buds are forming but the old leaves haven’t fallen off.

Therefore, I follow a process suggested by rosarian Ray Reddell (I can’t find the link online anymore). I strip last year’s leaves off the roses, wait a couple of weeks to see where the new buds are forming, and then prune accordingly.

Souvenir de la Malmaison new growth
Stripping off the old leaves forces growth on the new leaves into overdrive.

As usual, I’m behind. For example, ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ is already putting out new buds. I spent part of this weekend stripping off the old leaves, pruning, and to re-tying the new canes to the trellis. I also did ‘Madame Alfred Carriere’, and ‘Heritage’. The ‘New Dawn’ and ‘Red Cascade’ roses lost their leaves naturally but still require pruning. ‘Ducher’ is always bushy and full this time of year and doesn’t need stripping.

Of course, the biggest gamble is timing. A hard freeze is still possible for another month in Austin. Is winter really over for 2008 or is worse yet to come? And will it come just as the roses are putting out their tender new growth? Although I’m sure we’ll have a few more freezes, I’m betting that the we’ve seen the worst of winter this year.

photo: rose 'Madame Alfred Carriere'
2010-04-10. Rose ‘Madame Alfred Carriere’ blooms pretty consistently this week every year.

April 13th, 2004
Rose ‘Madame Alfred Carriere’

Dateline: 2004


2004-04-13. Noisette rose ‘Madame Alfred Carriere’.

The cold snap that came last weekend has dropped nighttime temperatures into the 40s and ‘Madame Alfred Carriere’ is loving it. Her flowers hold their shape better in cool weather. Under normal April conditions they open and fade in an afternoon and looking, sadly, like crumpled tissues. The flowers are larger than ‘Madame Joseph Schwartz’ and more of a peachy pink than ‘Souvenir del Malmaison’.

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photo: rose Heritage
David Austin‘s ‘Heritage’ rose. Austin, Texas. 2003-10-26.

October 26th, 2003
Rose ‘Heritage’

In The Rose Bible, Rayford Clayton Reddell names the English Rose ‘Heritage’ in his list of fifty immortal roses. Delicately colored and intensely scented, the cupped flowers have all the charm of old-fashioned roses. Reddell says that ‘Heritage’ is “reasonably disease-resistant”. However, it is the only rose bush in my garden that has repeated problems with black spot.

The only other complaint I have about ‘Heritage’ is that each flower loses its petal very quicky, before they fade or brown, when they are still glossy and fresh.

However, it is a very beautiful rose and one of the most strongly scented roses I have.

photo: rose Heritage