Category: Shrub

Distant Drums

Griffith Buck bred this rose as part of his program to create a class of roses that had large flowers like the hybrid tea or grandiflora roses, but were more resistant to disease. While he may have made progress towards that goal, this rose is notable for one reason: the colour. Depending on the weather, the huge flowers can open in various depths of pink with an unusual russet or tan glow to the inner petals. It then fades out through pink, lavender and towards white.

The depth of this and complexity of this colour never fails to draw comment from visitors to my garden. The shrub itself is tidy and compact, to 3 or 4 feet in height, with the flowers held in clusters above a dense mass of leaves. Clear away spent flowers and hips, and Distant Drums will bloom again reliably. I planted this one with a cool looking ninebark shrub (Physocarpus) called “Mahogany Magic” to give some immediate interest to the front garden bed.

Complicata

The simplicity of this rose makes me think that it’s close to a species rose, but nobody knows for sure. It’s classed as a gallica, maybe for lack of better information. While most near-species roses are nicest grown as a free standing shrub, I think you’ll find it rewarding to give ‘Complicata’ something to climb. You’ll find nicer pictures out there, but here’s one I snapped in the garden (aphids and all!):Rosa 'Complicata'

The blooms are dark pink at the edges, white nearer the center, with prominent yellow stamens. What you can’t see here is how large they are! The only other single I know to compete on bloom size is ‘Altissimo‘. The large size of the flowers, their simple form, wonderful scent, and the fact that it blooms in one main flush of flowers makes this a stunning shrub (or better, a climber) in early Summer.

‘Complicata’ can grow to 10 feet with some support, or to a lax shrub of 6 feet or so. It also sets hips after blooming, for fall/winter interest. We sell ‘Complicata’ for $10 in a 2 gallon pot.

Bonica

You know this rose, even if you don’t know that you know this rose. ‘Bonica’ is so widely planted by landscapers that you’ll see a light pink rose at a strip mall or gas station, my first bet would be ‘Bonica’. I grow it because it’s a great garden rose, but I did pause in propagating it. Why should I offer it, I wondered, when it’s already out there in great numbers? Am I really adding to the diversity of roses available to local customers. No, not really. But I go back to my previous point: I grow it because it’s a great garden rose. If someone comes to me looking for a reliable pink landscape rose, I might offer them ‘Ballerina‘ or ‘Belinda’ first, but if they like ‘Bonica’ better, they’ve picked a winner nonetheless.

Bonica‘Bonica’ will bloom softer or deeper pink depending on the weather. Every bit the landscape shrub, this rose is adaptable to any situation. Leave to grow freely, and you’ll get a wide graceful shrub to about 4 feet tall and wide. If you want it for a smaller garden, you can control it with pruning, and it won’t harm the performance of the shrub.

Disease resistant, vigorous, free blooming, well-behaved – no wonder the landscapers like it. We sell it in 1 gallon pots for $10 and 2 gallon pots for $15.