Some people want a rose that has great fragrance. Others want a rose that is rare and unusual. But many people want a rose that not only offers great colour but blooms and blooms non-stop all summer and is never bothered by pests and diseases. They can live without fragrance but they can't live with blackspot and aphids and no flowers.
For those people, there is no better rose than Flower Carpet ground-cover rose, which over the last 20 years has become one of the world's most popular and reliable series.
There are nine varieties in the collection - pink, white, red, coral, appleblossom, yellow, scarlet, pink supreme and amber.
They are called "carpet" roses for a reason - they stay quite low, growing less than 60 cm tall, but are capable of spreading 1.2 to 1.8 metres. They are all very hardy, although yellow is said to be the least hardy of the bunch, as well as the most mounding.
Pink was the first to be introduced in 1992. It was an immediate hit around the world and very quickly became the biggest selling new rose brand here in Canada as well as in Australia, Holland, New Zealand, South Africa, the U.S. and the U.K.
It all started with Werner Noack, a little-known German rose hybridizer, who in 1965 started to try to breed roses that had beautiful blooms, were easy to maintain, were highly resistant to black spot and mildew, and flowered prolifically. His goal was also to create a rose that could be used in the home garden or urban landscape as well as grown either in a pot or trained into a patio-tree form.
Flower Carpet Pink was quickly put to work in highway and street beautification systems as well as commercial projects and in parks and some prestigious public gardens. Park and Tilford Garden in North Vancouver, B.C., was one of the first to recognize the value and beauty of the rose and used it extensively in its formal rose garden.
It wasn't long before home gardeners got the message about the rose in the pink pot and Flower Carpet Pink ended up being casually mixed with perennials or planted in containers or even trained to scramble up the sides of small arches and arbours.
Today, the Flower Carpet series is pretty much a household name and is a top seller with more than 50 million pots sold worldwide. Improved forms of the red and pink cultivars have since been introduced as part of a "new generation" - Pink Supreme and Scarlet are considered more reliable, vigorous cultivars.
This year, Amber, the newest member of the family, is being introduced. Its burnt-orange buds open into amber-apricot flowers that mature to a soft peachy-pink. Amber also has some fragrance - a light, sweet, rosy scent that is thought to go very well with its fashionable colour.