All roses are not created equal. I know that now, after years of gardening, but I didn't know it when I planted two very vigorous specimens 17 years ago. 


We'd just moved into our current home, and I was happily putting my personal stamp on the already established landscape.

My previous garden, on a postage-stamp city lot, was heavily shaded, so I had no experience with sun-loving plants. Suddenly in suburbia, I had sun galore. The possibilities were intoxicating. I could plant tomatoes! And peppers! And roses! 

My grandfather, an Englishman who loved his roses, had died 15 years earlier, but I still had vivid memories of his beautiful garden. I wanted a rose-covered arbor, just like Grandpa used to have.

So I bought two hot-pink climbing roses and planted them in a sunny spot. They thrived, and I was soon rewarded with an explosion of blooms. But that bloom cycle was short.

The rest of the summer, I'm left with bare, wild, scraggly canes with vicious thorns that stab me through the toughest gloves every time I try to tame them.

My roses look absolutely glorious for about 10 days in late spring. After that, they're basically ugly weeds.

Now that I know better -- that there are many beautiful hardy roses that bloom all summer long -- I kick myself for planting ones that don't.

I'm reluctant to kill perfectly healthy roses, but every year, I'm tempted. What do you think, fellow gardeners -- should these roses be saved? Or replaced with something better? Anyone have a favorite rose to suggest?