When I think of red roses I think of love and passion and drama and when grown in the maritime Pacific Northwest climate I also think of mildew and blackspot. Unfortunately deeply fragrant red roses have a propensity for disease. Even highly rated red roses like Mr. Lincoln do better in the hot Midwest than they do here. Mr. Lincoln will perform well planted in a very hot corner of your garden facing south.
The good news is there are plenty of beautiful red roses. However, many of them are only lightly fragrant, but have excellent disease resistance to both blackspot and mildew.
I have found that combining those lightly fragrant reds with some of the red and very disease resistant David Austin roses, which look and smell like the Old English roses, is the ticket to getting the best of both worlds. In a bouquet it won't matter if one of the reds is only lightly fragrant if the one next to it is drenched in rose aroma.
Waking up to a bouquet of red roses on my bedside table can change my state of mind immediately. Listed below are my 10 favorite red roses. Try to plant at least one heavily perfumed Austin with one of the disease resistant, but lightly fragrant red hybrids that will bloom from June until November.
CRIMSON BOUQUETTechnically a grandiflora Crimson Bouquet is full of beautiful crimson clusters. It usually stands 3 to 4 feet, shorter than most grandifloras. Lightly fragrant, the blooms have great substance and holding power.
DUBLIN BAYI included this lovely clear red climber because it has everything; superior disease resistance, fragrance and a long bloom cycle. It reaches 8-10 feet and produces long enough stems for cutting. Remember not to heavily prune your climbers until they have been in your garden 2-3 years.
INGRID BERGMANWhat a great rose. Granted it is only lightly fragrant but it is another clear red, heavily blooming and healthy 5 foot hybrid tea that is simply bred for the Pacific Northwest. I adore this rose. Freshly cut blooms easily last 7 days or more inside.
KARDINALVery few roses that are used in the floral industry are good in our gardens. Kardinal is one of those exceptions. 4 feet tall and lightly fragrant. A hybrid tea that produces buckets of blooms.
L.D. BRAITHWAITEA gorgeous fragrant, bright crimson Austin. The blooms become more fragrant the older they get. This rose grows between 4-5 feet and is hardy with very good disease resistance.
OLYMPIADThis is the best selling and highest rated bright red hybrid tea. It reaches 5 feet tall, has a slight fragrance, amazing disease resistance and with proper care is a blooming machine for months on end.
OPENING NIGHTThis is a cross between Olympiad and Ingrid Bergman. Great genes, indeed! Excellent disease resistance and tons of flowers. Not much fragrance however, even if you have the snout of a Bloodhound. It stands anywhere from 4-6 feet depending on how long you like the stems on your cut roses.
TESS OF THE D' URBERVILLESAnother luscious crimson, heavily fragrant Austin. The flower is less formal than some others, but the bush at 4 feet would be beautiful alone or surrounded by other roses and/ or perennials.
TRADESCANTa dark crimson Austin rose that reaches 5 feet. This rose loves plenty of sun. Give it at least 6 hours and preferably more. It is highly fragrant with the deep rich smells of the Old English roses. A very beautiful, romantic variety. Very good disease resistance, especially when planted in a nice hot spot.
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE 2000It is imperative that you purchase the 2000 variety of this rose as it has superior disease resistance. It has incredible deep crimson blooms with a very strong warm Old Rose fragrance. At 4 feet tall this is a must in your garden. Another Austin classic.