Backyard Roses

I got bitten by the “rose bug” by a friend who purchased some for her backyard. My first rose, “Spellbound,” was so beautiful and fun that I gradually transformed my backyard into a rose garden, peaking at about 50 rosebushes. It’s hard to grow roses in Central Florida! The heat and humidity are very hard on backyard roses. But with a consistent fertilization and spray program, I was able to keep mine healthy and growing huge.

Interested in starting your own backyard rose garden? Browse the following links for information and advice.

Angel Face

This rose is really purple and it smells wonderful when it blooms. It reblooms quickly and the whole bush is covered in flowers. It has some issues with black spot but it’s quite controllable.

April in Paris

I wish my blooms looked as pretty as the ones in the magazine! It seems like the buds on this rose are pretty, but after a day or so, the petals seem to get splotchy. My bush is an own-root rose that took a few months to really get its feet in the ground. The jury is still out on whether or not I’ll end up liking this bush…

Bee’s Knees

The AARS rates this with Gemini as one of their favorite roses. My little plant grew quickly, and it blooms often. It’s more susceptible to fungus than the rest of my minis, but I still really like it.

Bella Roma

I read this rose described as a “worthy replacement for Peace”. Rich notices each time it blooms, so I guess it lives up to the description. But I like the Peace bloom form better. Bella Roma blooms tend to be bigger and less well-formed, and the insects almost always leave their mark on the petals. The bareroot plant grew quite quickly this summer, but now the bottom of my bush is virtually bare of leaves, while the top of the plant is covered in fresh healthy new leaves. An interesting contrast…

Black Cherry

My favorite red floribunda. It has bright green, slightly shiny, foliage, and the red flowers are grouped in clusters. I should have pruned it back farther this spring; the summer rains and the tall bushes near it caused it to have black spot issues this summer. But I cut it back a month or so ago, and it’s already covered in flowers again, and the new foliage is healthy. It’s a keeper!

Chrystler Imperial

This bush did very well in my yard for a time. The pinky-red flowers would cover the plant and it was gorgeous. It didn’t rebloom as quickly as some bushes, though, and then the roses would really only last for a day or two. Replaced by Veteran’s Honor.

Crackling Fire

The blooms on this mini are amazing. I have some really good photographs of this rose. It grew quickly when I planted it, but it has since been eclipsed–substantially–by Tropical Twist.

Don Juan

Yep, this bush certainly climbs. Unfortunately, my yard doesn’t have any picturesque fences for it to climb on! It outgrew its trellis very quickly. Furthermore, I guess it doesn’t get enough sun, because I’ve had maybe three blooms in the last two years. This one is on the transplant list as soon as I identify a better location…

Double Delight

It’s funny to remember that when my friend Wendy planted this rose, I wasn’t impressed by its colors, but it definitely grew on me! Double Delight needs some spraying to keep the leaves green and on the plant. When I had beetles in my yard this spring, they seemed to concentrate on the Double Delight flowers in particular. Another rose that has grown to be over five feet tall–and wide!

Dream Come True

After seeing pictures of this rose in Rose Annual, I had to have one…and I planted it by the mailbox for the whole neighborhood to see it! I’m impressed with the vigor of this plant. The bush I got actually had a couple of bad canes, so it was a rather lopsided rose when I first planted it bareroot. After half a year, though, it has filled in completely. The flowers simply cover the bush and it reblooms well.

First Prize

I bought this bush bare-root and it came as a tiny cutting of a rose. After half a year it stands about a foot high with just one semi-significant cane. Its flowers are gorgeous though – my favorite pink rose. Hopefully it’ll grow better next year.


Wow can this rose bloom! The foliage is disease-resistant, and even if a couple of leaves start to turn yellow from fungus, it does not immediately spread to all the surrounding leaves. The bush has grown about five feet tall in my yard. Some of my favorite photographs are of this rose.

Gold Medal

I suspect this rose was the reason that we got our neighborhood’s Yard of the Month award. My bush is taller than I am, with big, pretty yellow blooms. (I should have spaced it farther back from the sidewalk and driveway…oh well!) Its frequent new foliage is always healthy and the blooms cluster nicely. Individual flowers start to fade after a day or two, but the overall effect of bright new yellow blooms and light yellow faded blooms is actually pretty.


This bush is planted by my front door and when it blooms, the whole front yard is scented with its perfume. The individual flowers are not as perfect as, say, Veteran’s Honor, but the overall effect of many flowers is fun. The foliage on this bush is a little different than the rest of my bushes, and seems much less disease-prone.

Honey Perfume

Not my favorite yellow rose. The blooms fade in about a day. This bush has not grown as tall as the rest of my floribundas, and it looks especially shrimpy planted next to Queen Elizabeth! Its foliage is often as yellow as its flowers. Another replacement candidate.

Hot Cocoa

This rose, like most of the roses in my front yard, probably gets the minimum sun required for good growth. In its first year, it put up a really thick and really tall main cane, while the rest of the plant wasn’t extraordinary. The next year, it kinda evened out. The individual blooms are an unusual color for a rose, and quite attractive.

Mardi Gras

Beautiful blooms…back in March when it first bloomed. Since then, this rose hasn’t grown much, bloomed much, done much of anything. I think its feet get too wet when it rains. I’m hoping it does better after I transplant it.

Melody Parfumee

Another rose that I fell in love with after seeing it at Leu Gardens. The purple color is unusual in a rose, and the fresh darker blooms are pretty against the older, slightly lighter blooms. My two bushes were a little slow to get started in my garden, but they are starting to take off. I’ve had almost no disease issues with this bush.

Memorial Day

So when the books say to plant this in the back of the garden, they mean it! This bush the tallest in my yard. It just keeps growing, and growing, and growing (it must be powered by Energizer.) My one complaint about this bush is that it seems to be prone to insect damage. I see more mis-shapen leaves on this bush than any other, and it’s rare to see a flower that does not have major insect damage. Even with frequent insecticides, which I really don’t like to do. Silly insects!

Midas Touch

None of the individual blooms of Midas Touch are all that outstanding, but the overall effect of the bush covered in yellow roses is pretty cool. I get a lot of compliments about this bush. It’s virtually disease-free, and it blooms often. A very nice garden rose.


A pleasing white rose — to the many Florida insects! If I don’t apply regular insecticide, these blooms often show insect damage. I guess that’s true of all lighter-color roses though. This is another bush that I should have pruned back harder in the spring. It got very leggy in the summertime. It grows a little wider than most of my floribundas, so I should have increased the spacing around it a bit. The bright white flowers mixing with the nearby Tuscan Sun blooms are pretty, though.


I saw so many people in the Central FL rose society raving about this rose that I had to try it in my garden. The blooms are perfect for exhibition–long, tall, long-lasting, and a beautiful pink rim to the white flower. So far the bush has been pretty disease resistant in my yard. It doesn’t rebloom quite as often as some of my other roses, but the flowers cover the bush when it does bloom, and the blooms last for weeks.

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Hmm, so maybe I have two favorite pink roses! For the first few months it was totally disease-free. After the hot summer rainy months, it is struggling with black spot, but continues to burst into bloom on a regular basis.


Rich’s favorite rose. It needs a little insecticide to keep the blooms from showing insect damage. It seems to do well against black spot until the very end of the summer.

Perfect Moment

This poor bush has struggled in my yard. When I planted it bareroot, I probably should have watered it a little more, so it was slow to start. After a few months (and some good water!), the bush has started to fill out, but almost all the flowers have been damaged by insects. That’s been disappointing.

Pope John Paul II

My favorite white rose, but unfortunately, this plant does not seem to appreciate FL’s hot weather. My first bush grew quickly in a summer (see top picture on this page) – it seemed to always be putting on healthy new growth. But the old leaves fell from fungus as quickly as the new ones grew. My replacement bush has not grown as much, and has produced perhaps 10 flowers. Try this bush farther north. It doesn’t seem to appreciate humidity. :-p

Purple Tiger

Goldy’s rose…unfortunately it’s not the most vigorous or healthy. The flowers are quite unusual, and I’ve noticed that they tend to self-deadhead, which makes the maintenance a little easier. Each spring the bush puts out new canes and tries to be a happy, healthy plant…and after a few months, I end up cutting it back. I will be replacing this rose in the spring (don’t tell Goldy.)

Queen Elizabeth

Notice the dark lines on the rose petals in the picture – that’s what happens when 3 days of tropical storm winds and rain pound on a poor bloom! Queen Elizabeth is one of the tallest roses in my garden. This bush doesn’t rebloom as quickly as some of my others, but when it does bloom, particularly in the cooler spring and fall weather, the pink flowers simply cover the plant.

Sheer Magic

Either I got a bush infected with some leaf disease, or this bush doesn’t really like Florida. I bought it as a “rose in bloom” (not bareroot) last fall. It didn’t really put on new growth until spring (unlike my Tahitian Sunset rose, planted at the same time, that was four feet tall by spring!) The leaves tend to get crumbly and fall off periodically. A year after I planted it, the bush is only about a foot high. I’m sticking to bareroot roses from now on!

Simply Marvelous!

I love this pinkish-purple rose when it’s healthy. The healthy plant is often covered in blooms. I’ve actually had two of these bushes, one in more shade, and another in full sun. Both have tended to have many fungus issues. As much as I like this bush, it’s also a replacement candidate.


My first rose! Its beautiful perfect blooms attracted me during my first trip to Lukas, and started my rose-growing obsession (sorry, Rich). I ended up transplanting this bush when we built our screen room, which was shading it too much. Now it is about five feet tall and has filled out nicely. Warning – the description on the tag says Spellbound is a “small, compact bush”. I agree with the compact part–the bush has probably half the spread of my Double Delight bush–but I wouldn’t call five feet tall “small”! Spellbound doesn’t tend to have disease issues.

St. Patrick

I first saw this rose at Leu Gardens and knew that I had to have one. It’s one of the healthiest bushes in my yard, and the flowers truly do have a greenish tinge to them. It’s another tall bush well-suited to the back of the bed. My bush has had very few problems with fungus, but when it does, the yellow leaves blend in with the yellow flowers!

Sun Flare

I was excited to find this rose at Lukas, since one of my rose books talks about how it reblooms so well. It does bloom nicely, but in my yard it had so many black spot issues that I ended up cutting it back almost to the ground after a year (there were several times that it had more flowers on it than leaves!!) It’s growing back now. I think this is a rose that really demands full sun.

Tahitian Sunset

Beautiful tie-die colors on a bush that blooms often. It seems like the insects like this bush in particular, as the blooms often show bug damage. My bush probably ought to get a bit more sun, and yet it doesn’t often have fungus problems.

Touch of Class

One of the classic roses that I had read about and decided to try. The stems tend to be very long, typically with one flower per stem, making it a nice cutting rose (except at my house, where Squirt knows that all the world is a toy!). I need to learn to more aggressively prune this rose after each bloom spurt…the highest stem is now taller than I am, and this was a bareroot rose planted eight months ago!

Tropical Twist

This rose took a bit longer than usual to establish, but it is by far my biggest mini now. It reblooms quickly. The foliage is shiny green and quite attractive.

Tuscan Sun

The first Tuscan Sun bush that I planted died randomly about three weeks after I planted it. I planted four other floribundas at the same time, in the same place, and they all received the same care. But my replacement bush has done much better. It quickly grew to be my tallest floribunda, putting out good strong canes regularly. In the cooler springtime it was covered in flowers, and the bright coral new blooms contrast nicely with the peachy-pink older blooms. It doesn’t bloom as well in summer though.

Veteran’s Honor

Picture-perfect flowers and pretty green foliage. This is one of my best roses for quickly putting on new growth, and it blooms often. The flowers last for weeks, too. Despite my spraying, though, this is one of my most susceptible plants to black spot.