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Afterglow from visit to FW Botanical Garden

16 years ago

I made a quick trip to the Fort Worth Botanical Garden this morning, before it got too hot. For those of you in other parts of the world, it is still very hot here during the days, well over 90F. It was a good visit, here's my observations on the many roses they have growing in their gardens there. These are just my opinions, this and $5 will get you a cup of Starbucks.


The most beautiful, and heat tolerant roses in the garden were surprisingly in this class.

Maggie: lots of shapely, well-formed, fully petaled blooms that'll be remembered for a long time. I've seen a lot of photos of this rose, but none of them begin to approach the true beauty of the bloom color on Maggie. You have to see it "in person" to fully appreciate how special this bloom is. Heavily thorned.

Souvenir de la Malmaison: Like a heat-seeking missile. Like Maggie, made for Texas. Very productive here, especially during this time of year. Heavily thorned.

Souvenir de St Annes: The apple didn't fall far from the tree. Just beautiful. Nice foliage, shapely short bush, lots of big semi-double blooms. Heavily thorned.


Fortunately, the management of the gardens have the good sense to have included lots of this class in the garden.

Ducher & Spice: Among the very best bush forms of the china roses. Very full, with foliage all the way to the ground, and nicely wider than tall. Beautiful garden plants. Both are very lightly thorned.

Arethusa: Hey, this china is fragrant. Very substantial plant in size and fullness. Nice and unusual bloom color. Loose bloom form, but quite a few petals. Heavily thorned.

Cramoisi Superieur & Louis Philippe: There is no confusing these two. Cramoisi has many more petals, and a more shapely bloom. It is much more beautiful that LP to me. However, the plants themselves & their leaves do look nearly identical. CS looked moderately thorned, LP lightly thorned.

Napolean: Lawdy, this is a big plant in the south. Moderately to lightly thorned.

Caldwell Pink: Looks much more like a china than a polyantha, so I'll include it here. Extremely healthy and productive, with very thick bush growth. Covered in tight pom-pom blooms. Moderately thorned.

Mutabilis: This far south, this rose is at its best grown as a small ornamental tree, slightly limbed up. Grown that way, it has a very graceful, oriental look. To say it's a big plant is an understatement. Awesome looking specimen when viewed from a distance growing among shorter, smaller plants. And blooms are interesting viewed up close as well. One of the most impressive images I saw today. Moderately thorned.

Archduke Charles: The most interesting of the china blooms (except perhaps Cramoisi Superieur). Plant habit is a little zig-zag looking. Airy plant habit. Lightly thorned.

Hermosa: These plants are always too tiny when I visit, and always look like they are trying to get established. I wanted to be blown away by this rose, but I haven't yet. I'll continue to monitor it on future visits.

Old Bush: Interesting to me mostly for its history. I do respect this plant. Lightly thorned.


Several of them, but none of them held my attention. Perhaps it is because none of them looked fully established. Blush Noisette looked kind of nice.


Two of this class clearly stood out to me. Madame Antoine Marie & Duchesse de Brabant.

Madame Antoine Marie: Lots of them, and I can see why. Everything that a true tea rose should be. By far the best plant form of all the tea roses ... short, fat, bushy, graceful plants. Perfectly beautiful, rich-looking, unique leaves. Much, much more twiggy than all the other tea roses, more like a china (a very good thing in my opinion). Of the purest, most unblemished bloom color. Lots of blooms. Bloom size is small in this heat and kind of starry on the fully opened blooms, but charming immediately upon opening from nice buds. I can't say enough about how impressed I was with this rose. If you would like to grow a tea rose in a large container, don't even think about which tea you should choose ... this is the one!

Marie Van Houtte: Always the picture of health on every visit to this garden. None were currently in bloom, but nice, large, disease-free plants. Moderately thorned.

Bon Silene: A tree. Huge. Moderately thorned.

Mrs Dudley Cross: What are they feeding these things? I've never seen so much fresh new growth in 90F+ weather. All new growth was beautifully burgundy in coloration. Not many blooms, but the ones that were there were large and more shapely than are currenlty on my own MDC. Extremely healthy foliage on their specimens. No thorns at all.

Monsieur Tillier: Big, thick, healthy. Small, but plentiful blooms of interesting color. Lots of petals, pom-pom shaped. Moderately thorny.

Duchesse de Brabant: Near perfection in a rose. Deserves to be painted by talented artist. The most exquisite blooms of all the teas in the Fort Worth garden. Also the most fragrant. Fruity. Why do they only have one specimen of this jewel? Moderately sprinkled with insignificant looking, small prickles.

Safrano: In my opinion, this tea is not praised enough. Blooms are beautiful in bud and when first opening. Interesting, soft color blend. Fading quickly when open, and maturing quickly to a loose form. Loved it. Lightly thorned.

Isabella Sprunt: Not nearly as captivating to me as the momma plant. I didn't care for this tea.

Adam: He appears to have died or been removed.

Comtesse du Cayla: I'm listing here in the tea roses, because after close inspection, there's no way this is a china rose. The thorns, foliage, and plant habit don't look at all china to me. There were a lot of these at the garden. All of the fully open blooms were fried, even in mid-morning sun. However, the buds and newly opening blooms were things of beauty, with very intriguing color. All specimens looked healthy. A light scattering of very large, thick, un-china-like thorns.


Always a rare privilege to be able to view up-close one of these roses in a Texas garden.

Ispahon: I must revisit the garden next spring to view the blooms on this rose. Photos I've seen of the blooms are incredible. The plant was doing nicely in the Texas heat. It was upright in growth pattern and looked healthy and rather happy. Not a large specimen ... it may not have been in the garden for very long. Moderately thorny.

Kazanlik: Looked to be doing fine. Not a large plant. Slim build at this point in its life. A fairly thorny little thing.

Autumn Damask: No leaves, just a lot of thorns on long canes. On this day, this was an ugly plant that probably deserved to be moved to another climate.

Madame Plantier: Not much plant there, few leaves, a new specimen. Lightly thorned.


Not a great class for Texas, and as such very few in the garden.

Marchessa Boccella: The only HP that has truly thrived over the years in this garden. It's a great plant, with nice blooms. Apparently the most frequent repeat bloomer of all the HPs in Texas. It has been in bloom no matter when I have visited this garden. Maybe it's really a Portland? Very thorny.


A delight to see first hand.

Fortuniana: Lawdy. The biggest plant I've ever seen. Downright scared as I walked under it. Very few thorns.

Chestnut rose: Didn't quite know what to think of this one. I think moderately thorny, although it didn't hold my attention long enough to really remember.

Swamp Rose: How cool is this one! Very interesting. Architectural growth habit. I'd love to have the room to grow this one, in a kind of out of the way place. I want to return in the spring to see it in bloom. Must be fantastic at that time of year, because I loved it even now. Leaves like a willow tree! No thorns seen on its canes, also could not feel any prickles under its leaf mid-ribs.

HYBRID MUSKS: Although not technically a true OGR class, they definitely qualify as "antique" due to their age. And they belong in any garden of those who love old roses.

Bishop Darlington: There were several of these. Unlike the other HM's, they were really upright and tall. Loose, almost single blooms. I didn't care for this rose. Very thorny.

Kathleen: A lot of this one too. The single blooms were much more appealing to me that the previously mentioned rose. More lateral growth too on the plant. Kind of nice. Very thorny.

Lavender Lassie: A really big plant. Unfortunately, no blooms today. Moderately thorny.

Prosperity?: I think this is the HM that they had tons of. Very spreading growth habit. Was just okay to me. Took up lots of real estate with its extremely thorny canes.

Nur Mahal: Loved it, loved it, loved it. One of the very first roses I check on every time I visit this garden. Not a large plant, yet has graceful, arching canes. I can no longer go without this one. Beautiful and unique foliage. I am going to place an order today with The Antique Rose Emporium for delivery in March. This rose is mine. No visible thorns on any canes of their specimens, and better yet ... absolutely no small prickles underneath the leaf mid-ribs either.


I'm not a huge fan of this class, but many of them are certainly well-adapted here, and prove it in this garden.

Perle d'Or: Several of them in this garden, and they are all healthy and productive. The most impressive to me of the polyanthas. Nice, moderate sized plant (not small but not huge). Charming, special blooms, none other just like it. Unique color. Good fragrance. A light scattering of very large thorns.

Marie Pavie: Looked fine. Not as big of a fan as I used to be, but nice plant.

Clotilde Soupert: Not in bloom. Been there, done that, with this plant.


About half of their large rose collection is in modern roses.

Knockout: Far too many of them. The only ones that were notable were the Rainbow Knockouts, which were not uninteresting.

David Austin English roses: They have all been removed from the garden. Hmmm ... what does that tell me about their long-term durability in our harsh climate? Nonetheless, I would be willing to baby my 'Heritage' for all of eternity if necessary (so far that hasn't been necessary to do so in my own garden).

Buck Roses: Geez, they've put in a lot of them lately. I didn't get too enthusiastic though, except for Awakening and Distant Drums. The attraction to Awakening may be because its blooms somewhat reminded me of SdlM's blooms. I'd have Distant Drums if it weren't so viciously thorned due to it heavy dose of beauty (the plant itself seems to be struggling and it is not a new planting). There were a lot of Carefree Beauty roses, and deservedly so, as they are very well adapted here.

Julia Child: Very productive plants. Very nice bloom color too. I'm not a huge yellow rose fan though, because the yellow blooms often blend in a little too well with a rose bush's yellowing leaves. Julia Child was no exception to that rule.

Gruss an Aachen: Conspicuously absent. The cluster of GaA roses that was there a couple of years ago have all either died or been removed. Perhaps they are giving more space to the tougher china roses, or the growing number of Buck roses.

Lafter: Thankfully, there are very few hybrid-tea roses in this garden. Lafter is the exception. There are several specimens of Lafter, and it so deserved to be included. Just beautiful. Very thorny.

Puerto Rico: The other hybrid-tea that thrives in this garden. Lightly thorned.

Wild Blue Yonder: One of the few modern roses that captivated me. Very, very nice. Lots of thorns.

Miniature roses: Eeew. No leaves, few blooms. Tiny sticks. Wasted space.

Belinda's Dream: Lots of them because they rock here. Moderate thorns.

Basye's Blueberry: A simple thing with great stamens. Love it. No thorns at all.

New Dawn: Really nice blooms. Really large plant. Lots of thorns in the way.

Republic of Texas: I wanted to love this one. I didn't. Looked only slightly better than Rise-N-Shine. Moderately thorny.

Sweet Pea: Probably looks good in the spring. Didn't look good today. Too tiny to notice nature of thorns.

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