Why “Continuously Blooming” Isn’t Necessarily Better


We had some glorious early spring weather this weekend. I checked on my roses and realized that some came through the past winter better than others.

Some roses had very little dead or diseased wood needing to be pruned out, while with others I had to cut out almost half of the canes. Unfortunately, that happens frequently here in my Pennsylvania zone 6 garden. Extreme cold is rarely a problem for my roses, but our fluctuating temperatures (first cold, then warm, then cold again) are really hard on some of these shrubs.

Early spring pruning is always exciting though: each little pink bud is the promise of new growth and glorious flowers. If you’re thinking of planting a rose this spring, I encourage you to consider those antique or heirloom varieties that only bloom once each year.

Why do that when we could choose a repeat-blooming rose?

Because my once-blooming roses are some of the most beautiful and most abundant roses I grow. They may flower only once over a period of two or three weeks, but during those weeks the number of roses is astonishing.

These roses are worth the wait.

Consider this: we don’t fault peonies for blooming only once each year. Instead, we anticipate those special flowers all year, and we soak up their beauty while we can. Once-blooming roses are like that: something to anticipate all year, and a fulfillment of anticipation that is almost beyond imagining. I love all my roses, and I am grateful for those shrubs that offer flowers steadily through the summer or in nice flushes in spring and again in fall.

But one-time blooming roses? There’s really nothing else like them. Here are some favorites:

  • Cecile Brunner
  • Madame Hardy
  • American Beauty, Climber
  • Albertine
  • Constance Spry (not technically an antique but a beautiful once-bloomer)



Posted on

March 23, 2020

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