We often choose plants for our gardens based on their visual appeal. Maybe you’re seeking a particular color of bloom, or you want something that blooms at a particular time of year. Visual aesthetics are certainly one of the most important aspects in planning landscaping projects, but they aren’t the only consideration! If you also enjoy the scents of your plants, you might be interested to know that many people choose rose bushes based on smell rather than visual appeal.

After all, every variety of rose is beautiful! But they can vary greatly in the type of scents they produce. If you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors enjoying your garden, you might as well choose roses that please your nose as well as your eyes.

Old Rose. This is the “true rose” scent that you probably associate with rose-scented perfumes. It is found most commonly in pink and red roses, such as “Harlow Carr” and “Gertrude Jekyll.”

Fruity. Many roses exude fruity notes of apple, pear, strawberry, raspberry, apricot, or even lemon. These scents are common in English roses of all colors, but noteworthy examples include “Lady Emma Hamilton” and “Jude the Obscure.”

Tea Rose. This scent is often compared to the aroma of fresh China tea. It can be so strong that it overpowers other notes, such as fruity or musk, but those become more apparent once a flower matures for a few days. The tea scent most commonly occurs in yellow or apricot-colored roses, such as “Graham Thomas” and “Port Sunlight.”

Musk. If you choose musky roses for your garden, even a small amount of this scent will linger in the air. This scent is most prevalent in rambler roses with prominent stamens, because it is the stamen which produces the scent. Examples of musky roses include “The Generous Gardener” and “Snow Goose.”

Myrrh. Roses in this category produce an aromatic, sweet scent that has a touch of licorice warmth. Many pink and apricot-colored English roses are known for producing a strong myrrh scent. Examples include “Constant Spry” and “Claire Austin.” Most people enjoy these varieties, but beware: Some people say that the strong scent reminds them of antiseptic cream or “hospital smells.” You can see why it’s important to visit a nursery and sniff a few roses before choosing a variety for your garden!

All of the examples listed above are varieties of David Austin English roses, which we carry in our nursery. These roses are well known for their unique and lovely fragrances. If you’re trying to choose a variety of roses for your garden, stop by our nursery and let your nose be your guide!

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