A rose garden in New England is a long-standing tradition, from the fine historical homes that line our coasts, to the inland country estates. Today, planting a rose garden can be as simple or as extravagant as you like, even in suburban or urban environments.
There are a few keys to keeping healthy roses: species, space, soil and care. Once established, most modern roses are easy care, requiring modest annual maintenance.
Begin by planning for the space you have available. Most roses require a good amount of air flow to thrive, and will need at least 6 hours of sun per day. Choose a well-ventilated space with adequate sun to plant your roses.
Next, choose rose bushes that are ideal for our New England zones. There are some lovely hybrids out there that can be temptingly exotic, but will not perform well in this climate, nor survive our harsh winters.
Here are our favorite picks for your New England rose garden. There’s one for every space and taste!
Coral Drift® Rose
A cross between a ground cover and miniature rose, this fast grower that will spread to about 24″ wide and tall. It features green glossy leaves and stunning coral-red blooms that will repeat vigorously and all season. Makes for an excellent cut flower and is pest and disease resistant.
Sunrise Sunset Rose
This Easy Elegance rose is bathed in stunning hot pink flowers with peach overtones and yellow streaks at the ends of the branches from late spring to late summer. This shrub rose has a mounded form and will grow to be about 30 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 4 feet.
Yellow Brick Road Rose
Covered with lemon yellow, lightly scented blooms from late spring to late fall. Low care and makes a stunning splash of color in a low hedge, ground cover or border application.
Above and Beyond Rose
A hardy and dreamy climber with showy clusters of lightly spice-scented peach flowers, with buttery yellow eyes along the branches from mid spring to late summer, which emerge from distinctive orange flower buds.
No rose garden is complete without Rosa Rugosa. One of the finest specimens, with showy and fragrant violet flowers, featuring cherry red overtones and yellow eyes at the ends of the branches from late spring to late summer. Super fragrant and attractive to bees.
Caring For A Rose Garden
Whether planting a single rose bush or several specimens, be sure your soil mix is high in organic material. Adding some compost material will help to sweeten the soil. The aim here is well-drained soil, and not too wet. For planting, dig a hole about twice the size of the pot diameter, and as deep as where the soil sits at the plant stem in the pot. After planting, cover the base with compost or mulch to protect the roots, and water in well from the bottom. Continue to water newly planted roses daily, unless there is adequate rain.
Once your roses are established, they should return with more vigor and growth each year, requiring some pruning in fall or spring, to control and shape by trimming inactive growth. This is best done before buds form in spring or late in the season, and when not in blossom. Check out these tips from the UNH Cooperative Extension for winter protection.
Use our free Plant Finder Tool to view our rose inventory and save your favorites. Bring your wishlist to us in store and get personal assistance from our Garden Center staff in making the right selections for your garden space. Don’t want to DIY? Our professional Landscape Team will design, install and maintain the rose garden of your dreams!
My Pro Tip
Short on space? If you have a small area to work with, but want to grow multiple roses, you can pair different growth habits for maximum impact. Choose a carpet or drift rose to create interest as a ground cover. Plant this with a shrub rose that will take up the most real estate, for breadth of show. Then, add a climber or rambling rose on a trellis backdrop to create vertical interest.
Many roses can also be grown in containers for additional color in the garden, on the patio, or the porch. Choose a repeat bloomer and place your container on a wheeled platform for portability as the season changes.
Only have room for one? Choose something like the Double Knock Out® Rose – it never fails to make a big statement!