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Milberger's Nursery and Landscaping
3920 North Loop 1604 E.
San Antonio, TX 78247

Open 9 to 6 Mon. through Sat.
and 10 to 5 on Sun.

Three exits east of 281, inside of 1604
Next to the Diamond Shamrock station
Please click map for more detailed map and driving directions.

Click here

Weekly Express-News Article

By Calvin R. Finch, PhD, SAWS Water Resources Director, and Horticulturist

Saturday, February 16, 2008

 “Tough Plants for Valentine Quality Roses” 


As you admire the roses from the florist that you received for Valentine’s Day do you wish you could grow such roses and have cut roses for the house more than just a week at Valentine’s Day?  Do you then discard the idea because you know cut flower quality roses are just too difficult to grow?  Most florist quality roses are difficult to grow, but there are some modern and old-fashioned “tough roses” that make wonderful cut flowers.


If you are looking for a rose that produces good buds and florist type blooms for cutting, but also is a good xeriscape plant, consider Belinda’s Dream.  This “tough rose” reaches five – six feet tall and four feet wide.  It has pale pink blooms that are available for cutting or admiring approximately eight months out of the year.  Belinda’s Dream makes a good specimen shrub or can be planted in the shrub border if there is full sun.


As good as Belinda’s Dream is, I like Katy Road/Carefree Beauty even better.  It is equally tough being able to go through black spot and blooming eight months of the year without a pesticide spray program.  I like it better because the pink blooms have more red in them.  Katy Road/Carefree Beauty also produces rose hips that are good wildlife food and are decorative.  Although the buds are as attractive, the Katy Road/Carefree Beauty blooms are flatter with fewer petals than Belinda’s Dream so if you prefer a florist type bloom, Belinda’s Dream makes a better cut flower in that regard.  Both Belinda’s Dream and Katy Road have a pleasant light fragrance. 


            The reason Katy Road is also called Carefree Beauty, is that it was revealed that the recently discovered old-fashioned rose, Katy Road, had the same genetic make-up as the modern Carefree Beauty rose.  The newly rediscovered old-fashioned rose was probably really just the modern rose that was rediscovered.  Modern or old-fashioned,  the Katy Road/Carefree Beauty is a great plant for south Texas landscapes. 


Another “tough rose” suitable for cut flowers is Mrs. Dudley Cross.  It is a thorn-less fragrant-less old-fashioned rose, but has full formed buds and multiple petaled blooms in the league with Belinda’s Dream.  The flowers are a yellow peach color.  A while back, author Grey Grant, identified Mrs. Dudley Rose as the San Antonio Rose because of its superior characteristics and widespread planting in this area.  Mrs. Dudley Cross makes a slightly smaller plant than Katy Road or Belinda’s Dream.  It reaches about five feet tall and three feet in diameter.  Mrs. Dudley Cross has blooms about six months of the year. 



            If it is a true yellow rose that you long for for your bouquet, consider Grandma’s Yellow rose.  Grandma’s is a modern rose selected by Jerry Parsons and his Texas Super Star team as a plant worthy of promotion state-wide.  The small yellow buds and florist type blooms are its main assets.  In my experience, it is tough enough to be part of a xeriscape landscape, but is more affected by black spot and drought than the other roses in this article.  The plant is about the same size as Belinda’s Dream but is less robust. 


The tough roses are good xeriscape plants.  They can survive in our area without supplemental irrigation or pesticide sprays.  They do, however, perform better if they receive a deep watering every two weeks during droughty summer weather.  A leaky hose works very well for a bed of “tough roses.”  Prune the “tough roses” when it is convenient.  It is easier to access the blooms for cutting if dead and scraggly branches are removed, but unlike modern roses they do not need to be pruned every year.  The tough roses can be planted in raised beds or native soils.  They require full sun to perform well.