‘Top Ten’ September Rose Blooms

Fall can produce a spectacular rose bloom. The secret: water, fertilizer, sun. In Central Illinois this summer saw lots of rain that’s now producing a lush floriferous bloom. Due to excessive rain the blooms are big and beautiful. Enjoy the rotogravure of the first of the September bloom.

Rotogravure of Roses

‘Children’s Hope’

‘Children’s Hope’
'Childrens' Hope'

Weeks Roses donates a portion of each sale to the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation. This is an adorable prolific, floriferous bloomer.

‘Stormy Weather’

‘Stormy Weather’ Large Flowered Climber
'Stormy Weather' Against a backdrop of Blue Skies and Fluffy Clouds

‘Stormy Weather’ continues to darken as temperatures dip later in September.


‘Moondance’ Fully Open

‘Easy On The Eyes’ Hulthemia Shrub

‘Easy On The Eyes’ Truly ‘Easy On The Eyes’


‘Savannah’ winner of Biltmore Rose Trials

‘Savannah’ awarded Best In Show of the Biltmore Rose Trials in the rose garden.

‘Francis Meilland’ Lucky ‘7’ Blooms

Francis Meilland’ Lucky 7 Blooms

‘Francis Meilland’ was awarded ‘Best Hybrid Tea’ at Biltmore Rose Trials in 2015.

‘Hot Cocoa’

‘Hot Cocoa’ Warms Up Cool Evenings



‘Fragrant Cloud’

‘Fragrant Cloud’

‘South Africa’ Sunbelt by Kordes Roses

South Africa Sunbelt by Kordes Roses

Top Ten Classic Roses

Floribunda Rose Garden In Bloom | Rapid Bloom Cycle | Profusion of Showy Blooms

Rose breeders create new and better roses every year. Yet often rose sellers say gardeners seek roses they know and love. Why is that? It’s like comfort food for the soul. Roses and their fragrance can bring back memories of happy times spent with our family in their gardens. Gatherings like picnics, and cook-outs in a yard filled with roses and loved ones collecting memories that now grown gardeners want to re-create for their family and loved ones. Classic roses were a part of our childhood. This article is dedicated to the roses we cherish that are a part of the fabric of Rose Garden’s around the world. There are so many new and wonderful roses and I write about them and feature them here and on my Facebook pages but today we’re honoring the ‘Top Ten Classic Roses’.*

Surprise! I did not know 6 of my ‘Top Ten Classic Roses’ are inductees into the World Federation of Rose Society’s ‘Hall of Fame’.

#1 ‘Double Delight’

‘Seeing Double’ |’Double Delight’, taken at dusk in Gaga’s Garden.

‘Delighting Rose Lovers Since 1977

‘Double Delight was created by Swim in 1977 and is still rated 8.3 by the American Rose Society’s Handbook for Selecting Roses. ‘Double Delight’ was inducted in the World Federation of Rose Society (WFRS) ‘Hall of Fame’ in 1985. Everyone, bar none loves this rose. What is important when buying this rose is to locate a very good plant to begin with. That means to have three or more healthy canes on your rose bush when you buy it.

‘Double Delight’ at Dusk is breathtaking in this photo I captured with my macro lens.

#2 ‘Queen Elizabeth’

‘Queen Elizabeth’ Name ‘Best Established Rose’ at the Biltmore Rose Trials in 2016
Greeting Queen Elizabeth at Chelsea 2016 on her 90th birthday

‘Queen Elizabeth’ whose name sake was Queen Elizabeth herself was named the Award of Excellence ‘Best Established Rose’ at the International Biltmore Rose Trials in 2015. Bred in 1955, it was inducted into the WFRS in 1979.

#3 ‘Peace’

'Peace' The most popular rose in the world | A photo by Mr. Rich Baer
‘Peace’ The most popular rose in the world | A photo by Mr. Rich Baer |
Rich Baer's Photo of the 'Peace' Rose

‘Peace’ Forever Stamp with Rich Baer of the Portland Rose Society’s photo featured.

‘Peace’, was bred by Francis Meilland of Meilland International SA from 1935-1939, a family owned rose-growing business since 1850 located in Le Luc-en-Provence, France. For six generations Meilland Int., has created some of the best and most famous roses in the world selling and distributing over 8 million rose plants a year. More ‘Peace’ roses have sold than any other rose in the world. It’s estimated that by 1992 over 100 million of ‘Peace’ HT had been sold. Many think this is a low estimate.

‘Peace’ Forever Stamp by Rich Baer

April 21, 2018 the United States Postal Service issued the ‘Peace’ Rose forever stamp using Rich Baer’s photograph of the ‘Peace’ Rose.

#4 ‘Uncle Joe

'Uncle Joe' is as 'Big As The Broad Side of A Barn!

‘Uncle Joe’ Is as “Big As A Barn”

‘Uncle Joe’s claim to fame is the hybrid tea known for having the most petals. This hefty rose can have from 85-100 petals. Originally named ‘Toro’, if you see it by that name you can safely bet it’s ‘Uncle Joe’.

#5 ‘Moonstone’

‘Moonstone’ magnificent hybrid tea | Yes this is one rose bush!
Gaga's Garden Roses 2015 Calendar Cover 'Moonstone'

‘Moonstone’ was on the cover of the calendar that I created in 2015. One ‘Moonstone rose bush in the summer of 2014 had 36 full size roses blooming at one time. A hybrid tea bred by Tom Carruth of Weeks Roses in 1999 every rose that blooms is perfect form.

#6 ‘Fragrant Cloud’

‘Fragrant Cloud’ | Known To Have The Most Fragrance of Any Rose
Fragrant Cloud

‘Fragrant Cloud’ was my mother’s favorite rose. As long as I am able to have a rose garden ‘Fragrant Cloud’ will have a home in my rose garden. Did you know ‘Fragrant Cloud’ is in the parantage of ‘Dolly Parton’? After looking at her you’ll say, ‘Of Course!’ I see the family resemblance! ‘Fragrant Cloud’ was inducted in the WFRS in 1981!

#7 ‘Double KnockOut®

‘Double Knock Out® Roses

The Knock Out® Rose is the rose that changed the landscape of the world. It was a glorious change to see roses everywhere when the Knock Out® rose became part of the landscape designers option. The Will Radler’s Knock Out® rose was inducted into the World Federation of Rose Societies (WFRS) Hall of Fame in 2018. I wrote an interview of Dr. Tommy Cairns about the Knock Out Rose and it’s role in the world of roses you can read it by clicking this link. The Evolution of The Knock Out Rose, A Talk With Dr. Tommy Cairns

#8 Iceberg

Texas Front Rose Walk of Roses 'Iceberg', 'Blastoff'
Texas Front Rose Walk of Roses ‘Iceberg’, ‘Blastoff’

Iceberg‘ a Kordes Rose bred in 1958, inducted into the WFRS in 1983, makes a perfect disease resistant vigorous and floriferous landscape floribunda planting.

#9 Sunsprite

‘Sunsprite’ In Gaga’s Garden
'Sunsprite' Blooming on Labor Day Week-End

Sunsprite, a Kordes rose bred in 1977 blooming in the floribunda garden. Naturally disease resistant, floriferous, & fragrant makes it a natural on the list of ‘Top Ten Classic Roses’.

#10 ‘Mr. Lincoln’

Mr. Lincoln photo Tommy Cairns
Mr. Lincoln photo Tommy Cairns
Mr. Lincoln in Full Bloom

Mr. Lincoln‘ bred by Swim & Weeks in 1964 and introduced in the U.S by Star Roses and Plants in 1965, now owned by Ball Horticultural . The rest is history. Just about everyone wants a ‘Mr. Lincoln’, they are easy to find and fairly easy to grow.

*The roses are in no particular order, I listed them as they came to mind. ‘Peace’ by Meilland International would have probably been ranked as number one based on the ‘world’s favorite rose’ and the world’s most popular and highest selling rose. ‘Top Ten Best New Roses’ next.

‘Savanah’ Rose

'Savannah' Rose

'Savannah' Rose, Winner of 'Best Overall Rose' of the #BiltmoreRoseTrials that I bought as a container rose bush from Jackson & Perkins grows from a tiny potted rose to a beautiful full grown rose in Gaga's Garden.

Posted by Gagas Garden on Friday, May 31, 2019

Savannah” Took ‘Best in Show’ at the 2015 Biltmore International Rose Trials

‘Savannah’ My Original Purchase from Jackson & Perkins

An international jury of rose experts awarded this dusky pink rose bred in Germany called “Savannah,” the George & Edith Vanderbilt Award for Most Outstanding Rose/Best in Show during the third annual Biltmore International Rose Trials competition on Saturday, May 30, 2015. I knew I wanted this rose for the garden as soon as I saw it at The Biltmore. Here are some real world garden results for you now. From buying it shipped from Jackson & Perkins in a little pot, planting it, now grown to a full size rose in the garden you can see real results and how ‘Savannah’ will perform for you as well in your garden.

‘Savannah’ Is The Rose I Wanted For My Garden | And So Will You

“Savannah” is bred by Kordes Rosen in Germany, and also captured the categories for Best Hybrid Tea and Most Fragrant.

· The Pauline Merrell Award for Best Hybrid Tea: “Savannah,” bred by Kordes Rosen in Germany

Growers, distributors and all-around rose appreciators joined the jury for the event, the culmination of two years’ growth of roses submitted by breeders in 2013 to be cared for and tested by Biltmore’s expert gardening team. Rose breed from the U.S. and several other countries made it through preliminary judging rounds for Saturday’s final contest, held at Biltmore’s 120-year-old Rose Garden. After rigorous testing ‘Savannah’ proved to be a rose that is the perfect rose.

‘Savannah’ with Michael Young Sculpture
‘Savannah’ in the Rose Garden
‘Savannah’ in the Rose Garden
‘Savannah’ Spray

‘Savannah’ Is The Rose For Every Garden

This is how ‘Savannah’ looks after two very difficult winters in zone 6b, with extreme winters of heating & cooling and this rose holds up beautifully. If you want a perfect disease free rose that requires minimal care this rose is for you.

5 Tips To Grow Peonies

Peony Arrangement at P. Allen Smith's #G2B15

Tree Peonies Bloom on Old Wood

Tree peonies are significantly different than peonies because they sprout growth on the old canes left from the year before. So do not cut down the old canes on your tree peonies like ‘Black Dragon’ tree peony that I am showing you in the video. Here’s the remarkable growth sprouting on the old canes from last year:

‘Black Dragon’ Tree Peony Growth on ‘Old Wood’ Canes from last year view 1
'Black Dragon' Tree Peony Growth on 'Old Wood'Canes from last year
‘Black Dragon’ Tree Peony Growth on ‘Old Wood’ Canes from last year View 2
'Black Dragon' Tree Peony Growth on 'Old Wood' Canes from last year
‘Black Dragon’ Tree Peony Growth on ‘Old Wood’ Canes from last year View 3

Glorious Fragrant Peonies

Pink Peonies in Illinois
Pink Peonies in Illinois

Mom’s 5 Tips On Growing Peonies

Peonies require minimal care when planted properly

  1. Plant peonies at ground level or they “will come up blind” meaning they won’t bloom. Plant tubers no deeper than 2 inches deep in northern climates with eyes pointing up.
  2. Add 2-4 cups of bone meal around each plant per year and gently work into the soil then cover with a layer of peat moss.
  3. Surround your peonies with Canadian sphagnum peat moss and work into the soil every year.
  4. Ants are attracted to and eat the sweet nectar secreted by the peony bud. This is why folks often thought ants were required for peonies to bloom by ‘eating open’ the bud. Ants do not harm the plant and aren’t required for the buds to open. They disappear after blooming.
  5. Divide the peony with a sharp pruning shovel to propagate the plant. It’s best to divide peonies when they are dormant or they may not bloom for a few years. My peonies were still dormant that were buried in bushes in the spring and they have propagated with great success.

First Things First

“Peonies bloom before roses do, so for a fantastic bloom prior to pruning your roses follow 5 simple Peony Tips for a glorious spring bloom”

White Peony Found in The Secret Garden
White Peony Found in The Secret Garden
Divided Peonies Season after Dividing In The Video View 1
Peony Results After Dividing
Peony Results After Dividing View 2
Divided Peony Results
Divided Peony Results View 3

I’m so thrilled these old peonies divided so nicely. Happy Spring! Enjoy Your Peonies!

Rose Classifications | Know Before You Grow

'Pretty Lady Rose' hybrid tea rose

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Roses are the ‘Diva’ of the flower world. Statistics say you want roses is your garden. One of the most often searched plant on the Web is the rose. Before you head out to garden centers to buy roses here’s an easy guide to rose classifications.

‘Rainbow Sorbet’ bred by Ping Lim is a Gorgeous Floribunda Rose | First of The Floribunda Rose Garden Roses Planted

Roses are a big investment, educate yourself on rose classifications and varieties available before you make an investment.

Rose Education Leads To Successful Rose Growing

Here are photos of each classification of rose so that you can familiarize yourself with what you may be looking for in the type rose you want to grow. Learn to recognize the differences and what to look for in the rose classification you want, then identify a color you like and you’re in business. You can read the tag on the rose all about the rose ‘variety Rose bushes are a big investment. Decide what you want to achieve with roses before you buy.

'Good As Gold' Hybrid Tea Rose. Bold, beautiful, double-dipped yellow burnished with a touch of golden red, its a heart stopper!
‘Good As Gold’ Hybrid Tea Rose. Bold, beautiful, double-dipped yellow burnished with a touch of golden red, its a heart stopper!

An Easy To Love |  Easy To Grow | Rose Garden

85% of folks say roses are their favorite flower. They want easy-to-grow roses. Rose breeders have listened to YOU! Each year there are better, minimal care roses available that you will have great success growing.

World Class Rose Growers

Weeks Roses, Meilland Roses, Kordes Roses, and Conard Pyle Star Roses are world class rose growers that I can vouch for. Some roses I list below have won at the Biltmore Rose Trials. You can also see videos on my Gaga’s Garden Facebook page. where I rate the roses growing in my garden. The rose included are for their:

Minimal Care Roses Rated On

  • disease resistance
  • ease of care
  • beauty
  • fragrance

Modern Rose Classifications

Hybrid Tea | America’s Favorite Rose

Pretty Lady Rose | Hybrid Tea
Pretty Lady Rose Hybrid Tea | bred by Christian Bedard
  • Hybrid tea roses are ideal for cut flowers and creating your own bouquets
  • A hybrid tea is easily identifiable by its large, shapely 30-50 petal blooms on long stems
  • Identifiable by a large bloom grown on a single stem

Weeks Roses 2nd in their The Downton Abbey Series | ‘Pretty Lady Rose’ New 2016 Description:

  • Dark even rose pink almost fuchsia
  • 4-5 “ Large old fashioned ruffled petals
  • The smell of peonies with a hint of spices  
'Francis Meilland' the Best Hybrid Tea named at the Biltmore International Rose Trials 2015
‘Francis Meilland’ hybrid tea rose, winner of Biltmore International Rose Trials ‘Pauline Merrell Award for Best Hybrid Tea Rose 2015’

‘Francis Meilland’ 1996 Description:

  • Color: Very large shell pink flowers
  • Winter hardy disease resistant
  • Winner of Biltmore International Rose Trials ‘Best Hybrid Tea’
  • Videoed and rated by me for the American Rose Society Web site
  • Strong fruity and citrusy fragrance

Grandiflora Roses

Queen Elizabeth In The Garden
Queen Elizabeth In The Garden

‘Queen Elizabeth’ First Grandiflora 1954 Description:

  • Pink 4” with large petals, and pointed buds
  • Moderate rose fragrance
  • ‘Best Established’ Rose at The 2015 Biltmore International Rose Trials, I was a rose judge 

Floribundas | Polyantha

  • Floribundas are known for large clusters of flowered trusses & rapid bloom cycles
  • They bear flowers in large clusters and trusses in a profusion of bloom 
  • This class is unrivaled for providing massive colorful lasting garden displays 
  • Floribundas are hardier, more easy care & reliable in wet weather than their HT counterparts
  • Polyanthas are smaller but very sturdy plants with large clusters of small masses of blooms
'Bolero' In The Heat of Summer In Illinois
‘Bolero’ In The Heat of Summer In Illinois

‘Bolero’ Description:

  • White, large blooms with 100 petals
  • Old rose and spicy fragrance
  • Bushy and about 3 feet tall
'Julia Child' by Weeks Roses featured this shot of 'Julia Child' in The American Rose Society 2014 Calendar
‘Julia Child’ by Weeks Roses featured this shot of ‘Julia Child’ in The American Rose Society 2014 Calendar

‘Julia Child’ Description:

  • One of the top selling roses in the world
  • Butter/gold yellow in color, medium very full 3-4” blooms
  • Strong licorice fragrance
'Easy Does It' In The Illinois Garden
‘Easy Does It’ In The Illinois Garden

‘Easy Does It’ Description:

  • Gorgeous Mango Peach
  • Ever blooming with a moderate fragrance
  • Disease resistant, one of my all time favorites! 

For Hedge and Borders | Shrub Rose| English Roses

  • Shrub roses grow  in a sprawling direction from 5 to 15 feet in every direction based on your climate and growing condition
  • The unique group of English roses hybridized by David Austin Roses belong to this class of shrub roses.
  • Recurrent bloomers, often have wonderful fragrance of Old Garden Roses
Close-Up of 'Watercolors Home Run' Shrub Rose
Close-Up of ‘Watercolors Home Run’ Shrub Rose

‘Water Colors Home Run’ by Weeks Roses Description:

  • 3 colors showy flame red | yellow gold pink blush | Hot Pink
  • Medium height and bloom size
  • Winter hardy and disease resistant

‘Bonica’ Beautiful prolific ever blooming shrub Description:

Bonica, Shrub rose always the first to bloom in the spring in my Texas rose garden
Bonica, Shrub rose always the first to bloom in the spring in my Texas rose garden
  • ‘Bonica’ Inducted into the World Federation of Rose Societies Rose Hall of Fame in 2003
  • Prolific, blooms in flushes throughout the season.
  • Prolific, flush, medium to large, cluster-flowered (26-40 petals) stems of blooms cluster-flowered shrub
'Drift® Chamboeuf'
‘Drift® Chamboeuf’

‘Drift®’ Groundcover Roses by Star Roses and Plants

  • 8 colors from White Drift Rose to Red Drift Rose
  • Blooms 1 ½” -3” bushes about 2 feet tall spreading
  • Winter hardy, disease resistant, and easy to grow’
Named for the founding figure of the Industrial Revolution
‘Abraham Darby’ a David Austin Rose amed for the founding figure of the Industrial Revolution

‘Abraham Darby’ Description: David Austin Shrub

  • David Austin Shrub rose
  • Very large, rounded, cup-shaped flower with up to 70 petals
  • Vigorous and hardy in all areas
  • Fruity fragrance

Large Flowered Climbers | Climbing Roses

  • Dominated by their growth habit with long arching canes
  • Ability to climb over fences, walls, trellises arbors and pergolas
  • Climbers offer a wide range of flower colors, forms, & shapes with canes from 10-14 feet tall.
'Above and Beyond' Roses in Bloom in the Rose Garden
‘Above and Beyond’ Roses in Bloom

‘Above and Beyond’ Description:

  • The old classic ‘Westerland’ raised modernized with 21st century ‘best-off-best’ qualities!
  • Salmon-orange blend, repeat blooming, 10-14 feet
  • Old fashioned, 3 ½”-4” blooms, fruity fragrance
Bee on Fourth of July Climbing Rose Bush
Bee on Fourth of July Climbing Rose Bush
  • ‘4th of July’ Description:
    • Gorgeous Red striped and bright white
    • 10-14 feet canes
    • Fresh cut apple and & sweet rose fragrance

Miniature or miniflora roses

  • Ideal for containers and small space gardens, hardy due to being grown on own root
  • Great for edging, rockeries, indoor gardens
  • Minifloras are a new class introduced by ARS in 1999 for the size between miniature roses & floribundas
'All a Twitter'
‘All a Twitter’

‘All a’ Twitter’ Description:

  • Twinkling brilliant orange
  • Tall, medium size blooms
  • Winter hardy

*Roses require 6-8 hours of full sun. They will bloom with 4 hours of full sun but they have more foliage and less blooms.