Cover image for Reliable roses
Reliable roses
Harkness, Philip.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Toronto : Firefly Books, [2004]

Physical Description:
144 pages : illustrations, map ; 27 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Subject Term:

Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
SB411 .H295 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



A no-fuss guide to growing roses written by a rose expert.

Too often gardeners are intimidated by the many practical requirements of growing roses. This book shows how to grow a garden of roses successfully with surprisingly little effort.

Even the newest gardeners can enjoy the natural beauty, fragrance and exquisite colors of roses.

Here, the objective is enjoyment more than labor. This easy-care guide provides all the critical steps that ensure perfect roses every time:

Planning and designing a rose garden Selecting the roses that are right for your garden Planting, the growing cycle and pruning Maintenance and how best to enjoy your roses

Helpful sections cover how to identify key rose-growing locations in a garden, deciding between old and modern bush or climber varieties and the best places to buy roses. Seventy-five varieties are identified from Alberic Barbier to Warm Wishes including shrub and climbing, long-flowering, versatile, fragrant and easy-to-grow roses.

Another useful section identifies the varieties of roses that give the best results with a minimum of fuss. Quick reference pictograms indicate a rose's growing zone, ease to succeed and relative performance for the space the plant will take.

Reliable Roses is the perfect handbook for gardeners of all levels who want to add the beauty of roses to their gardens.

Author Notes

Philip Harkness has designed and overseen the construction and display of more than 20 Gold Medal winning exhibits at the Chelsea Flower Show and is the former Chairman of the British Rose Growers Association. He is the author of The Rose .

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Though roses may be among the most intimidating residents of any garden, Harkness reassuringly examines the most forgiving floribunda, hybrid tea, shrub, and climbing roses for use by amateur and accomplished gardeners alike in Reliable Roses0 . --Carol Haggas Copyright 2004 Booklist

Library Journal Review

For rosarians, here are two new handbooks. In Reliable Roses, Harkness, the designer of more than 20 Gold Medal exhibits at the Chelsea Flower Show in London, selects 75 rose varieties that are supposedly easy to grow and, per the title, reliable. In introductory chapters, he explains how the elements affect the lives of roses and how to choose and buy roses. Bush roses (floribunda), shrub roses, and climbing roses are then profiled in terms of flowering, plant, and foliage properties, as well as a star rating and an overall assessment rating; symbols depict height, spread, and fragrance characteristics. Strong photos illustrate planting and pruning techniques. Unfortunately, the guide falls short of its major goal-recommending low-maintenance varieties. Many featured roses are described along the lines of "not healthy enough to survive without attention and work" or "a bit fussy and [performs] much better in its ideal conditions." The author does not discuss which climates are "ideal," and since the book is written from a British perspective, many readers may be frustrated by this oversight. The price tag is also hefty for such a slim volume. A U.S. hardiness zone map and an international list of suppliers are included. An optional purchase for public libraries. [A Garden Book Club selection.] Every year more gardeners are discovering the joy of old-fashioned roses, which are not only beautiful and fragrant but also easier to grow and more disease-resistant than most modern roses. Hybridizer David Austin broke new ground when he introduced his "English" roses, which display the characteristics of old-fashioned roses but also have the ability to rebloom like modern roses. In Old-Fashioned and David Austin Roses, Taylor, author of three previous rose books, discusses the history of old and Austin roses, covering each class with a basic introduction and profiles of the most popular varieties available to gardeners. A chapter on cultivation offers practical horticultural advice for growing these roses, and a brief chapter on landscaping discusses how these roses can be used in the garden. Beautiful photographs and an attractive layout render this book appealing to beginners. A hardiness zone map and a list of suppliers are also included. Recommended for public libraries.-Phillip Oliver, Univ. of North Alabama Lib., Florence (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Introduction Roses are wonderful plants that nature has adorned with many beautiful features. In this book I aim to explore ways of enjoying roses and to investigate the best way of achieving good results without spending too much time in the garden. My approach is based on the fact that there are two important aspects to growing and enjoying roses. Firstly, roses are planted in the garden for recreation, fun and pleasure. We should not be ashamed that our pursuit is hedonistic. Secondly, to make our rose growing successful we should, wherever possible, try to work with nature and never against it. In practical terms, this book is designed to make growing roses easier and more fun. The book will help you to use the strengths that nature provides to reduce problems in the cultivation of plants. It will not be a technical "tour de force" laden with history, science, genetics or botanical classification. There will not be in-depth discussion on the pathological makeup of the plant or the implications of applying chemicals. We are here for enjoyment at its most basic level, which we recognize as that which nature bestowed on the rose family and, with nature's help, we will enhance and tailor that beauty for your own gratification. In this book, there is a selection of varieties that you may wish to try in your garden. The selection of a good rose is subjective. If it provides the features that you deem to be important in a way that gives you pleasure, then it is a good rose for you, and that is all that is important. There are a mixture of types, some old and some new. Very few have no faults, but all have good qualities. I hope that this selection will introduce you to the vast variety of different shapes and forms available in the modern marketplace. Our introduction to this adventure is to look at the diversity of the rose family. What nature began, man has improved, developing the rose's beautiful features further. Today we are able to enjoy the rose in myriad forms. The rose family includes plants that grow happily as miniatures, never more than 12 to 15 in (30 to 38 cm) tall; neat compact plants, miniature in leaf, flower and form. At the other extreme there are rampant climbing and rambling roses. It is not unusual to find plants capable of extending to more than 30 ft (9 m). In between, there are roses that make perfect garden plants -- something suitable for every garden and every taste. With such an overwhelming choice of size, style and type, it is hard to know where to start. There is a niche in every garden for the climbing and rambling roses. Watch them cover a fence, building or pergola. Enjoy the spectacular effect of a rose flowering high in a deciduous or evergreen tree. Equally, roses categorized as ground covers are easy to place in the garden, to prevent an influx of weeds, provide color and, most of all, be easy to maintain. There are patio and border varieties. Growing taller than miniatures, but smaller than bush roses, they are always worth a try in tubs, planters and in borders. Bush roses are subdivided in hybrid tea (large flowers), floribunda (cluster flowers) and grandiflora (taller, usually with clusters of flowers). All are great garden plants. They flower for a long timr, repeat flowering throughout summer to early winter. As plants they can range from 3 ft (1 m) tall to at least 6 ft (1.8 m). There are only two important aspects to remember when buying: do I like them? And where will they go in my garden? Beyond that there is no logical reason to have a prejudice. If you answer the first question with a yes, then it is irrelevant whether it is classifies as a hybrid tea or florbunda. It is only blinkered dogma that allows you to say, "Yes, I like it," only to discover it is a floribunda and then say, "I don't like it, as I don't like floribundas." Have an open mind and do not let irrelevant classifications and labels cloud your judgement. The final grouping of roses is shrub roses. This term covers all that is left. Many are modern varieties, other old and some ancient, the species that all modern roses have evolved from. As a generalization they will grow bigger and wider than bush roses, between 6 and 12 ft (1.8 and 3.7 m) tall by up to 8 ft (2.5 m) wide in some examples. Needless to say there are many varieties of shrub roses that are smaller than these dimension -- always check mature height information carefully before purchasing. The second generalization is that the older shrub roses will flower only once in summer, while most of the modern ones will repeat bloom. These outlines, in the most basic form, only tough the surface of how the plant may grow. Within each range of roses there will be flowers of all different shapes and sizes. A rose can produce a flower with a minimum of five petals, known as a single flower; or 10 to 15 petals, a semi-double flower. At the other extreme there may be up to a hundred petals in one flower. To fall in with convention, but not to be very helpful, those with 20 petals upwards are referred to as double flowers, so one term covers a wide range of blooms. Flowers can range from less than 1 in (2.5 cm) across to more than 5 in (13 cm) across. There are so many permutations that there is always a rose somewhere to appeal to every individual. But this in only touching on the look of the flower. There is the magic chemistry cannot copy: the range of satisfying rose perfumes. Our noses can have as much pleasure as our eyes. Perfumes range from light to heady, sweet to spicy; there may be hints of apply, honey or citronella to name a few. As we get to know the rose, we will understand that it is a hardy and resilient garden plant. Roses withstand a vast range of ambient and climatic conditions. Some thrive in shady sites, other prefer sunlight; but all will enjoy positions with moderate or above average sunlight. Some roses are winter hardy to temperatures of 14°F (-10°C), others will suffer. All withstand lower winter temperatures if they are protected from cold winds. In this book, zones are used to indicate hardiness, referring to regions in North America. This book is written with the hope that it will encourage love and appreciation of the rose. It will act as a guide to help dispel myths, to understand intricacies but, most o fall, to show how easy it is to grow and enjoy roses. Excerpted from Reliable Roses: Easy-to-Grow Roses That Won't Let You Down by Philip Harkness All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Easy Road to Perfect Roses
Nature's Elements
Planning and Design
How to Choose
How to Buy
The Growing Cycle
Plant Directory
Bush Roses: Floribunda
Bush Roses: Hybrid Tea
Shrub Roses
Climbing Roses
List of Suppliers
Zone Map of U.S. and Canada