Some tough-breed roses can survive in Natchez

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 30, 2007

Does it seem impossible that some roses actually perform well in the hot, humid summer here? My garden contains a number of varieties that did indeed grow and bloom, despite dreadful humidity and high temperatures this past August.

While I was wilting while tending them, these roses thrived, despite attempts by blackspot to disfigure leaves.

Hot Cocoa — this arresting color is sometimes brick, sometimes cocoa, and sometimes a sort-of smoky chocolate orange. No two fascinating flowers are alike. The plant is tall and upright, vigorous and very free flowering. Although there is a tendency towards some blackspot, it’s moderate enough that this remains my favorite rose in the garden.

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Home Run — I prefer this Knock Out offspring (created by talented hybridizer Tom Carruth with Weeks Roses) because it has the same great blackspot resistance as its parent and I think the flowers are prettier. Flowers are vibrant Chinese lacquer red with vivid yellow stamens. It really stands out in the landscape and reblooms very well.

Knock Out—this lovely shrub is especially prized in humid climates because of its exceptional resistance to black spot. In my garden, I prefer the newer variety, Double Knock Out because there are more petals on each flower. The shrub grows tall, reblooms quickly and makes a stunning show.

Yellow Submarine — it’s rare to find a yellow rose that isn’t afflicted by blackspot, but this is certainly one that meets the challenge. Created by Ping Lim, a rising star in the world of rose breeding for Bailey Nurseries, this free-flowering, disease free plant is seldom without masses of colorful flowers. Don’t expect much fragrance, though.

Pretty Lady — demure pink blossoms in large clusters accent this spreading rose with amazing blackspot resistance. It didn’t do as well the first year in the garden, which goes to show that patience is one of the secret ingredients for successful gardening, be it with roses or anything else. This is a lovely addition, especially if you want a rose with old-fashioned charm.

Crimson Meidiland — a great ground cover with superb blackspot resistance. I’m growing the red version and it’s also available in other hues, including white and pink.

Rainbow Sorbet — mixed colors of red and yellow softly fade as flowers mature. Very good blackspot resistance the entire year.

If you grow roses that are not inherently resistant to blackspot, you still may be able to enjoy them if you protect the leaves. A simple method is to spray weekly during summer, then decrease to twice a month now until temperature and humidity drop considerably.

I prefer non-toxic methods and use neem oil, available from various places, including

Karen Dardick writes a monthly gardening column for The Democrat She can be reached for gardening questions at