Rapid Results With Floribunda Roses

Floribunda Rose Garden | Before and After

There are many reasons to start over; a new job, starting a career, or to be close to family. You may have a vacation home or want to downsize but still want to garden. We moved back to Illinois because we both grew up in Illinois. Our work situations had provided us with the opportunity to travel extensively to every state in the union. During my husband’s travel he decided he loved Illinois and there’s no place on earth he would rather be. A corporate transfer for me from Chicago to New York City, then Plano, Texas resulted in building a home in Plano, Texas in 1987 and acquiring over 200 roses by 2011. In 2011 we decided at that point we had acquired the house in Central Illinois and the house in Plano, Texas and thought rather than keep working all the time to support two homes and that lifestyle we would downsize and start over in Illinois.

Geese Girls Ready For Halloween

Starting Over Offers New Opportunities

You may not go willingly, but once you set your mind to it, the change may be filled with new opportunities. We sold the Texas home and moved to Illinois from Texas in 2011 leaving behind rose gardens that I had invested heart and soul creating. The Illinois property sits on 3 1/2 acres of rolling sandy loam hills, and did not have a single rose. Leaving behind the rose gardens in Plano, Texas (the safest city in America of its size unless you’re my kidnapped lawn decorations) that took 20 years to collect, I wanted to put in a rose garden that would get the quickest results. I decided to put rose gardens in in stages and share it with you dear readers.

Dr. & Mrs. Keith Zary & me at the Biltmore Rose Trials & Dr. Zary's Rose 'Kimberlina'
Dr. & Mrs. Keith Zary Biltmore Rose Trials & Dr. Zary’s Rose ‘Kimberlina’ in the Floribunda Rose Garden | For Profusion of Bloom | Rapid Results | Plant Floribundas

Floribunda Roses Offer Quick Results

That type rose garden that gets quick results is a floribunda rose garden. Floribundas are known for their ability to bear flowers in large clusters and profusion of bloom. Another advantage floribunda roses have is their ability to bloom continually whereas hybrid teas exhibits a bloom cycle every six to seven weeks. Let me give you a little back story here, this Illinois property is located 40 miles from Starbucks and 80 miles from Home Depot. *  So to locate my new roses I thought I would just pull up the list of roses online from a large garden center like I did in the DFW area, order my roses and have them delivered. Now I have come to learn a valuable lesson the hard way, or I would have dug up quite a few roses I probably will never be able to locate again. And also a large segment of the population that want roses like I grow don’t live in large Metro areas.

Displays Everywhere of Lovely Star Roses Knock® Out Roses
Displays Everywhere of Lovely Star Roses Knock® Out Roses

From 3 minutes from a Starbucks to 40 miles

Now after living in Plano, Texas; a totally consumer centric life style driven by hopping in the car for a 3 minute drive to Starbucks for coffee, Whole Foods, and Central Market type of living to being 15 miles from Walmart I was in culture shock. A friend down the street said his son told him “Susan and Richard are in the witness protection program.” His dad asked him why would he think that? He said “Why else after all the wonderful cities that they’ve lived would they ever move to Ramsey?” Susan what’s your point? They don’t sell potted fancy rose bushes out here either. Can you imagine my shock trying to find a landscape center that sold potted hybrid teas? I called the nearest landscape center 40 miles away and asked if they carried hybrid teas and the answer to my question was “what’s that?”. You see there are trade-offs to my ‘Green Acres’, lifestyle. And I’m not saying starting over is always easy. Nothing worth doing is ever easy, but it has been worth it.

'Gene Boerner' a floribunda rose named for the man that worked his entire life for Jackson & Perkins 'aka' as 'Papa Floribunda', he hybridized more than 60 roses.
‘Gene Boerner’ a floribunda rose named for the man that worked his entire life for Jackson & Perkins ‘aka’ as ‘Papa Floribunda’, he hybridized more than 60 roses. #myjproses

Come To ‘Papa’! ‘Papa Floribunda’ ‘Gene Boerner’ That Is

So now you see why when I spotted ‘Gene Boerner’ at Rural King, in September of 2011, I was shocked and nearly shed a tear. They carry primarily  Star Roses ‘KnockOut®’ roses, which I love also but I wanted more than only ‘KnockOuts’®. They had very little selection in hybrid tea or floribunda roses, so to see one ‘Gene Boerner’ which has a stellar reputation and came out in 1968 and is still rated in the ARS* Handbook of Selecting Roses an 8.2 I grabbed it and planted it as the first floribunda in my Illinois floribunda garden.

Who Was ‘Gene Boerner’?

Once I looked up the history of ‘who is Gene Boerner’ the irony wasn’t lost on me. ‘Gene Boerner’ is known as ‘Papa Floribunda’. A jovial man he worked his entire life at Jackson & Perkins where he hybridized more than 60 roses! I’m so glad the first rose in our floribunda rose garden was and is ‘Gene Boerner.’ Known as ‘Papa Floribunda’ of Jackson & Perkins ‘Gene Boerner’ is symbolic to me for many reasons. Jackson & Perkins is a brand that is symbolic to America for roses. ‘Gene Boerner’, Floribunda you see pictured here is one of the first roses to bloom each spring. It’s disease resistant, has a fabulous shape, color, it blooms in clusters and lasts forever.

Sometimes Back To Basics Is Best

Soon I realized the remaining roses I wanted were available online. Many folks don’t realize that their garden centers order their roses from growers bare root and get them early in the season and pot them in containers so they leaf out by the time the weather is lovely and spring like when we are ready to shop in the garden centers for our potted roses. Years ago when I first started growing roses all the roses I planted were barefoot that I got from my local Northeast Rose Society. If you haven’t checked out your local rose society please do folks because most members are willing to help you and share their knowledge. When I was new to growing roses, rose society senior members would stop by my house and make sure I had all my questions answered and that was way back when I was in my twenties living along the North Shore of Lake Michigan north of Chicago. What’s important in the roses you get is the grade and how many healthy canes are on the rose bush. Be sure you have at least three healthy canes.

Floribunda Rose Garden | Before and After
Floribunda Rose Garden | Before and After

The Illinois Floribunda Rose Garden

So here are the stages of the first rose garden in Illinois, beginning with Jackson & Perkins ‘Gene Boerner’ then I found their exclusive ‘Kimberlina’, ‘Iceberg’, I planted bare root, ‘Betty Boop’, ‘Playboy’, ‘Sunsprite’ and ‘Rainbow Sorbet’,

Garden Legends Live On By Designs & Impressions They Leave on The Earth | Our Hearts and Minds

‘Iceberg’ Floribunda Rose next to ‘Kimberlina’ Floribunda Rose

Garden Legends, please check out my page on Facebook, are stories about people, plants, & companies and how their passion for creating better, more beautiful, easy to grow plants will live on as a tribute to them by rooting and grounding beautiful plants across the land in the hearts and gardens of people everywhere. Along with Gene Boerner, two of the most notable American Rose Breeders; Bill Warriner often called “the No.1 rose breeder in the United States and Dr. Keith Zary have created the most famous roses today while at Jackson & Perkins. 

Sunsprite' One of the First Floribunda Roses Planted | Quick Results | Happy Color
‘Sunsprite’ One of the First Floribunda Roses Planted | Quick Results | Happy Color

Rose Legends: ‘Papa Floribunda’, Bill Warriner, & Dr. Keith Zary created 100’s & 100’s of the World’s Best Roses of Today while at Jackson & Perkins

While working with Jackson & Perkins Roses,  – at the time a nearly 80-year-old rose propagation company in Newark known for its award-winning roses named for famous people, Warriner introduced the prize-winning hybrids ‘Gay Princess’, ‘Gene Boerner’ and ‘First Prize’.

He later won 19 All-America awards for his rose introductions still while working on Jackson & Perkins hybrids.

His hybridizing accomplishments were outstanding. In his job as overseer of some 100,000 seedlings in the Jackson & Perkins research facility in Irvine, CA where he developed new rose strains, he became the only rose hybridizer in the 40-year-old All-American Rose Society to win All-American honors for three new breeds, Love, Honor and Cherish, in one year, 1980. I planted all three in my Plano, Texas garden.

'First Prize' Grows the size of salad plates in the Texas Garden
‘First Prize’ Grows the size of salad plates in the Texas Garden

Trust Roses That Have Won Multiple Awards by the World’s Best Rose Breeders

Bill Warriner retired as director of Jackson & Perkins research after working with the company for 25 years and developing 150 varieties of roses! His creations have continued to gain prestige since his retirement. Bill Warriner passed away at the age of 69 in 1991.

Dr. Zary is only the second US rose breeder to win the President’s International Trophy (PIT) and Gold Medal Award of the Royal National Rose Society. The rose that won is called ‘Greetings’, a white centered, purple shrub/landscape-type rose that is currently not available in the US, but is sold in England.

Another one of the first roses I planted in the Illinois floribunda garden is a rose exclusive to Jackson & Perkins called ‘Kimberlina’ bred by Dr. Keith Zary. Why is this important to you? Because we want you to be successful with the roses you buy and plant. The American Rose Society requested we review some roses in our garden. Here are some of the the roses of the season that are the first to bloom: with a video of ‘Kimberlina’ to show hundreds if not a thousand buds ready to burst into bloom. http://If you want lush candelabras of roses, rapid bloom cycles, and a rose garden to enjoy for color and the joy of being in your own rose garden you want floribundas.

*If you haven’t checked out the American Rose Society, current President of the American Rose Society, Pat Shanley believes in sustainable rose gardening and is dedicated to every aspect to growing better roses. She also oversees the magazine the “American Rose” magazine, along with Executive Director, Laura Seabaugh. This magazine is completely dedicated to promoting gardening, education, preservation and appreciation of the rose. The American Rose Society is one of the few societies left that continues to publish a print publication 6 times a year along with several newsletters/bulletins and provides each member with a “Handbook for Selecting Roses” and “Creating a Beautiful Rose Garden” booklet. 
Former president & rose education advocate Jolene Adams believes that the only way to dispel the myth that roses are difficult to grow is rose growing education. The American Rose Society is dedicated to providing you the gardener with education on how to grow better roses. If you haven’t check them out. Rosarians are standing by to answer your questions. Rose.org 




















The Boys of Summer Roses

Neil Diamond, new from Weeks Roses 2015 Cataolog

“I can tell you my love for you will still be strong, after the boys of summer have gone” ~ Don Henley

The days are getting cooler. The colors of the ‘Boys of Summer’ roses intensify with the kisses of gentle dewdrops at night. Rain creates a wild jungle look and feel to the garden. I love the untamed look of the garden this time of year. ‘Neil Diamond’, new from Weeks Roses in 2015 is a star of the Rose boys club of Summer.
Neil Diamond, new from Weeks Roses 2015 Cataolog
Neil Diamond, new from Weeks Roses 2015 Catalog

Be still my heart. ‘Moonstone’ is a rose I am in love with always and forever.

This master of the garden commands and holds the attention of every head that goes by and will play the role of “King of Show” and happily be “Queen of Show” just as easily. Its a must have for every gardener.
'Moonstone' as at home in the garden as "King of Show"
‘Moonstone’ as at home in the garden as “King of Show”

Uncle Joe’ is the stud in my garden.

He is the biggest, sexiest rose one can find in a bed of roses. He has the most petals by count of any hybrid tea. No pansy is he! If you like a rose with some girth, a real power house then you will love ‘Uncle Joe’. If  ‘Uncle Joe’ were a vehicle he would be Big Daddy’s Dodge Ram. Of course that can be put up for debate. Smiley face.
If 'Uncle Joe' was a vehicle it would be a 'Dodge Ram'
Let me introduce you to Uncle Joe’s alter ego, a Dodge Ram, or If ‘Uncle Joe’ was a vehicle it would be a ‘Dodge Ram’ | ‘

Did you know ‘Sexy Rexy’ was named for movie star Rex Harrison?

Born Reginald Carey Harrison known for his philandering ways and magnetic charm? Still sexy and a charmer in my book. Here it is covered in rain drops.
'Sexy Rexy' named for  movie star Rex Harrison
‘Sexy Rexy’ named for movie star Rex Harrison

One of the most influential, unforgettable men in American history: ‘Mr. Lincoln’

An Illinoisan, no rose garden especially in Illinois is complete without him. He is an American hero, a symbol of strength and freedom and a man of his word that all American Presidents quote and seem to do their best to emulate even today and I imagine God willing even into the future.  Each of you will fill the days of winter with dreams of what the new “Boys of Summer” will come our way next year.
Mr. Lincoln in the Rain
Mr. Lincoln in the Rain

“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

'Gene Boerner'
‘Gene Boerner’ The first rose I planted in Illinois to begin my floribunda rose garden | See you next spring

Known as ‘Papa Floribunda’, ‘Gene Boerner’ was the first rose I planted in Illinois

Gene Boerner served as a pilot in WWI, and is the first rose I planted to start over my rose gardens in Illinois. Eugene S. Boerner was born of German parents in Wisconsin, in 1893. He was hired by Jackson & Perkins in 1920, and spent his entire career with them.  “He was  jovial, and had a good sense of humor.” Having grown up in cold Wisconsin, he wanted to create cold hardy roses, like Buck. No wonder this rose does so well in Illinois. This bloom picture was taken after the 3rd coldest winter in Illinois history. Gene Boerner hybridized more than 60 roses during his career at Jackson & Perkins and eleven  were given the All-America Rose Selections (AARS) award. Many rosarians feel it was Eugene Boerner who developed the floribunda into what it is today. I feel it is absolutely fitting that its ‘Eugene Boerner’ that is the first rose I planted for my floribunda rose garden. I shall miss you this winter ‘Eugene Boerner’, but I can count on you for the most magnificent display next spring, God willing.Thank-you Rhode Island Rose Society for some of the information I learned about ‘Gene Boerner’

No story of the ‘Boys of Summer’ can be complete without ‘Playboy’

Keep Warm. Its 41 degrees today. Here is ‘Playboy’, well, actually doing what he is supposed to do, being a ‘Playboy.’
Playboy Being a Playboy
Playboy Being a Playboy

‘Dick Clark’s song plays on long after the “Boys of Summer” are gone

After the ‘Boys of Summer’ are gone for a season their songs play on in our hearts and the roses named after them evoke strong and beautiful memories in our gardens especially for one of the the most famous of them all, ‘Dick Clark’.
Dick Clark Candelabra
Dick Clark Candelabra | His Song Plays on

Nobody on the road, Nobody on the beach, I feel it in the air, The Summer’s out of reach ~ Don Henley


VOTE and/or Add Your Favorite “Boys of Summer Roses”

[listly id=”RU1″ layout=”magazine” show_header=”true” show_author=”true” show_sharing=”true” show_tools=”true” per_page=”25″]