Ask gardeners and landscape architects about growing roses in New Orleans and you’ll get extreme responses of either love or exasperation. One favorite among them is Peggy Martin, or the “Hurricane Katrina Rose,” that survived saltwater flooding. Landscape architect Marianne Mumford of Landscape Images says they have the most success with Peggy Martin as it is hardy and disease resistant, and she also likes drift roses for the same reasons.
Madeleine Perino at Perino’s Home and Garden Center says her personal favorite is hybrid tea “Grande Dame” with blooms that can reach six inches in diameter and for novices, floribunda Belinda’s Dream. She advises raised, south-facing (or west-facing) garden beds with six to eight hours of sun with good, fertile, amended soil adding Happy Frog potting soil, black cow manure or cotton burr.
Andrea Bland — a rosarian with 120 David Austin hybrid teas grown from bare root — suggests using an acid level detector (6.7 is best), liquid lime for pH control to sweeten the soil and Rosetone or David Austin fertilizer. As getting the foliage too wet can cause black spot, she uses drip tubes to water the roots only. Her favorites are Scepter’d Isle, Abraham Darby, Princess Alexandra of Kent, Crocus Rose, Darcey Bussell, Munstead Wood and Lady of Shalott.