It will be spring in a few days. The roses are green, leafy, budding, and will open soon. Armando and his crew are getting the rose field ready to open at the end of the month.
Every year we get asked the same questions: what is your favorite rose? What is the best rose? What is the most fragrant rose? What is the most disease resistant rose? I decided to ask some opinions and compile a list.
I asked Hilton Sumida (owner of La Sumida Nursery) Armando Herrera (our rose grower) Dan Bifano (well known Santa Barbara Rosarian) and Judi Smith (horticulturist) to pick their favorites on last years rose list. I also obtained great information from Rose Society websites, particularly the local Santa Barbara and Ventura chapters.
Some of our favorites may not be available this year. There have been difficulties in the wholesale rose industry. Long time supplier Jackson Perkins filed for bankruptcy in 2010. Other companies are trying to fill in the gap but bare-root roses were still in limited supply this year.
We did not receive some of my favorites this year. I will particularly miss Pillow Fight, which I like much better than Iceberg, and Radiant Perfume, which is a fragrant strong-stemmed yellow. We were also unable to obtain another all time favorite Ingrid Bergman that I was hoping to add to my cutting garden. Also missing is the white Pope John Paul that both Dan and Judi have on their lists. Hopefully we will have these roses next year.
It was a lot of fun to look at the lists and see what the majority of us agreed on. In alphabetical order are: Aroma Therapy, Bewitched, Cinco de Mayo, Distant Drum, Falling in Love, Climbing Flutterbye, Fame, Ingrid Bergman, Julia Child, Lasting Love, Marilyn Monroe, Neptune, Pope John Paul, Pat Austin, Sunset Celebration, Spellbound, Yves Piaget, and White Licorice.
We all seem to agree that Julia Child is one of the all time best, cleanest landscape roses, and that Fame last longest as a cut flower.
We hope to see you when the rose field opens. I can’t wait to see some of the new roses in bloom.
What are your top rose picks for Santa Barbara? Send me an email at email@example.com to include your list.