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In the Garden

New and exciting selections of bare-root roses are beginning to show up at local nurseries. If you love the look and fragrance of old-fashioned roses, yet desire the increased disease resistance and repeat blooming qualities of modern varieties, you’ll want to check out the newly introduced David Austin English Roses.

“Queen Anne” is the epitome of old-rose beauty and fragrance. Upright and bushy, yet growing only to 3½-feet tall by 3-feet wide, each sublimely fragrant, pure pink flower is composed of about 45 petals.

If large open flowers with fewer petals are more to your liking, “Fighting Temeraire” produces huge 5- to 6-inch flowers containing 10 petals each. The red-tipped buds give way to apricot-centered flowers with golden stamens. As the flowers age, they fade to a softer shade of yellow apricot. The scent has been described as very fruity with a strong element of lemon zest.

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Finally, only the most fragrant of roses warrants the name “England’s Rose.” This disease-resistant, vigorous shrub will grow to 4 or 5 feet tall, and is renowned for blooming with large clusters of medium-sized, dark-pink flowers more or less continually from June into November.

If you’re in a hurry, don’t get your nose too close to any of the gorgeous, multi-petaled blossoms on this beauty. The old-rose fragrance is so warm and spicy, it’s been known to hypnotize anyone who sniffs it, thereby captivating its hostage for hours.

Trouble-free “Knock Out”

As lovely as roses are, sometimes they may not seem worth the bother due to black spot, mildew and rust. If you gave up on roses because of disease problems, give “Knock Out” roses a try.

These roses are tested and evaluated for several years in a wide variety of conditions, and only those deemed to be disease free are introduced to the public. The folks who created these roses sent me several varieties to test, and in my crowded garden, they not only remained healthy, they bloomed practically nonstop all summer.

“Knock Out” roses are drought resistant and come in a variety of colors. Plus, they keep producing even without deadheading. Most of the forms have single flowers, but there are double-flowering varieties available in pink and red.

As is true of all good things, there’s usually at least one negative. There’s basically no fragrance in any “Knock Out” rose. That’s not really a problem, however. Simply plant your “Knock Out” rose in the middle of the garden where the flowers will look spectacular. That way, few, if any, visitors will be tempted to fight their way in to give them the sniff test.

Ciscoe Morris: “Gardening With Ciscoe” airs at 10 a.m. Saturdays on KING-TV.

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