Monday, September 11, 2006

Rosa "Julia Childs" Review

When I started gardening, roses scared me silly. They have a reputation as needy prima donnas. It was with great trepidation that I pruned the roses that first year. However, as I continued to care for the existing roses, my confidence grew. After viewing enough outrageously gorgeous rose photos on the Cottage Garden Forum, I gathered the courage to plan my own small rose garden.

I selected the Julia Child rose, a 2006 introduction. The rose’s description (from www.rose.org):
Julia Child is a floribunda destined to be as famous as her namesake. Personally chosen by the award-winning chef herself, this rose combines old-fashioned style with delicious fragrance rarely found in a free-flowering plant. This rose has a rounded habit and excellent disease resistance, raising the bar for any English-style rose. Julia Child also features a sweet licorice perfume that exudes from each fully-petaled flower, as well as a butter-gold color that's perfectly suited to any landscape.
“Disease resistance” and “sweet licorice perfume” were the selling points for me.

I planted my three bare-root roses in April. Over the course of the summer, the canes have developed into the promised medium sized, rounded, bushy plants. The foliage is neat, green, and glossy. I have had absolutely no problem with disease or pests. Except for working manure into the planting soil, I did not fertilize the roses. I’ve given them consistent water over the season.

The first blooms appeared in June and the bushes have been blooming non-stop ever since. The blooms begin as a fairly bright, almost lemony, yellow and gradually mellow to the described “butter-gold color” before fading to almost cream. Also consistent with the description, the color blends well with my other plants. Suspended over a carpet of white sweet alyssum and backed by the blue mist of caryopteris, the roses contribute to a dreamy color scheme.

The scent has been variable. At times, I detect the strong, licorice fragrance. Sometimes I think that the blooms smell more like citrus. Other flowers seem to have no scent at all. I’ve been so pleased with the rose’s easy care and appearance that I don’t mind the general lack of scent. I have catmint, sweet alyssum, and scented lilies planted in the bed for fragrance.

I’m impressed with the Julia Child rose and am gradually getting over my misconception of roses as difficult to grow. For those not willing to spray or live with defoliation, I believe that disease-resistant roses are key. This fall, I’ll be expanding my rose collection with two Livin’ Easy roses. I hope to post a similarly glowing review next year.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Hanna in Cleveland said...

I am scared silly of roses myself. I had some old, old ones that came with my house and I finally gave them away. The wer constantly bereft of leaves due to black spot.

Maybe one of these days I will try them again, but I think Cleveland is working against that. Even the botanical gardens here ripped out their traditional roses and replaced them with tea roses because the traditional ones are just so prone to black spot here.

4:59 PM  
Blogger Annie in Austin said...

The yellow 'Graham Thomas', one of the David Austin English group, was my most beloved rose bush in Illinois - it was one of the hardest things to leave behind when we came to TX. Like you, I placed it among blue and white flowers.

Now I'm wondering if 'Julia Child' would be happy here - what a lovely color.

Thanks for the review, Kasmira!

7:31 PM  
Blogger Blackswamp_Girl said...

Wow... that's absolutely gorgeous. It's been a long time since I've seen such healthy rose foliage, and the flowers are beautiful too.

8:40 PM  

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