Friday, February 24, 2012

Paul Barden Roses I Grow

In recent years I have begun growing a number of roses created by the rose hybridizer, Paul Barden.  Paul studied horticulture in college and further studies in photography.  I think one gives him the science and understanding, the other the artistic eye for his work as a breeder.  Paul has drawn upon a wide range of influences and roses to produce the roses he has released to the public and even more so for the breeding stock he has been working with.  Undoubtedly, his relationship with Ralph Moore stands as one of his most significant influences and that is nothing but good in my book.  Paul has also made a significant contribution to rose growers and hybridizers through his website, and his blog link above.  If you haven't before, do yourself a favor and visit his sight and click on some of the rose classes listed on the left.  You will be amazed by the photos and descriptions and don't be surprised if you look up to find that a couple of hours have passed by. 

Here are some of my observations about the roses Paul has produced and this is particularly true for the roses of his I grow.  First, their blooms tend toward the old fashion forms, being cupped or opening flat and quartered, much like the English Roses which stand a generation or two behind many of them.  Second, vivid color and fragrance are important and are almost always present.  Take for example a rose like Treasure Trail which, unusual for his roses, has little floral fragrance.  It certainly has the vivid color and while the typical fragrance is missing, it is made up for with the added balsam fragrance that the mossing on the outside of the sepals produces.  This fragrance is strongly released when the mossing is stroked.  Third, the bushes form and growth habit are that of a garden bush or shrub and not the stiff upright growth of a hybrid tea.  Fourth, the plants are healthy in my climate.  I have learned to be more conditional about this because different regions of the country have very different disease pressures on roses.  (An example would be that in the summer, I spray my roses down several times a week.  I believe this practice keeps my roses happy and healthy but in many areas people would be scandalized at the thought of intentionally wetting the leaves on their bushes.  That is because humidity can be a prime driver of black spot.)  These are my observations regarding some of the common themes that hold Paul's roses together.

So here are the Barden Roses I grow in the order I acquired them:

Unconditional Love 
Unconditional Love is a mini moss with cupped old fashion blooms scarlet to crimson in color.  The flowers have good fragrance from the petals along with scent of the mossing.  Unconditional Love is one of those roses that never disappoints because it is always in bloom and always healthy.   Mine is 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide.

Golden Buddha  
Golden Buddha is a Hybrid Bracteata which has intensely pumpkin colored blooms in the spring and fall and a lighter yellow in the summer. It is always in bloom, almost to a fault. In my garden the plant is only about a foot and a half tall and two feet wide. I wish it would get bigger and then produce the blooms it does. It may be because this past summer was the hottest on record in Oklahoma and that Golden Buddha had a hard time with the heat. Spring and Fall it shined in this its second year in my garden.

Jeri Jennings 
Jeri Jennings is a beautiful Hybrid Musk with buttery yellow blooms, wonderful tea fragrance and a nice spreading habit. Mine is grown in partial shade and has been very healthy.  This ability to perform well with partial shade is a trait that Jeri Jennings shares with other Hybrid Musk roses.  Some report dealing with black spot on this rose but this has been very minor for me. After two years it is four feet tall by six feet wide.

Treasure Trail 
Treasure Trail is also a moss rose that grows much like a floribunda. Its blooms are quite unique opening to shades of pink, yellow, and salmon with old fashion form and a button eye.  The flowers last a very long time either on the bush or in a vase.  Besides being the most heavily mossed rose I grow, Treasure Trail has the most leathery dark green shiny leaves and grows as healthy and clean as anything in my garden. In two seasons it has grown to about two feet tall and three feet wide.

Siren's Keep 
Siren's Keep is finishing its first year in our garden.  It has sent a couple of strong canes up to two and a half or three feet tall.  As I mentioned earlier, last summer was very hot and while the flowers held up well in the sun, I think the color was a bit washed out by it.  The color is described as fuchsia to magenta which is a couple of shades deeper than the attractive pink ruffled petals that I have seen this first year.  I have often noticed that bloom color will deepen after the first year or two.  I fully expect to see the deeper colors this coming year.  Its good sized flowers (four-five inches across) bloom in small clusters and have a strong old roses fragrance.  I expect to have many more photos and updates this coming year. 

Dragon's Blood   
I added Dragon's Blood last Fall and do not have any pictures other than when it came as a young band with Carlin's Rhythm.  Its flowers can be a smoldering fire orange/red but I have yet to see it bloom and will look forward to its growth this coming year along with the next two.

Pam's Choice
This may be the rose I am most looking forward to this year. I have always loved the flowers of Angel Face but it performs so poorly that I haven't grown it for years. In fact it is my wife, Angie's favorite and I am hoping the blossom of Pam's Choice might be used to get me out of the dog house some day. Here's hoping she will be a suitable replacement to Angel Face.

Mel Hulse 
I added Mel Hulse on an impulse to my order of Pam's Choice.  It is not that I hadn't thought about ordering Mel Hulse before, I just hadn't pulled the trigger.  Mel Hulse is a Moss rose which like Unconditional Love and Treasure Trail is the progeny of Ralph Moore's Scarlet Moss.  On the other side of its family tree is the English Rose The Prince. 

Here is to dreaming of spring's blossoms.


  1. I love Paul Barden roses. I've followed him on his blog until he stopped blogging. His roses are beautiful he definitely spend time and effort to study and follow up on his creations. I also like his descriptions of all rose types in his website. Great pictures.

  2. I had to leave many things out or else the entry would have been too long. You are right, his writing has made a significant contribution to so many roses growers and I imagine more than a few breeders. I hope his current break is just that and not an end to his rose breeding efforts.

  3. Thanks for featuring your Paul Barden roses here! I don't grow any of his roses so far, but I am interested to get to know more about them. 'Unconditional Love' looks fabulous and I really would love to see some pics of 'Pam's Choice' and 'Mel Hulse' from your garden in the future. Hope all the new ones will be doing well for you! For me disease resistance, followed by beautiful flowers with fragrance are the main criteria for choosing a new rose and overall Paul Barden roses seem to do pretty well on all three accounts.

  4. Hi Scott,
    I saw your thread on GW about my roses (thanks for that) and I just wanted to let you know that I no longer have a GW login, since Houzz took over the site. (My attempts to restore my login after the takeover failed, so I just gave up and moved on) So - unfortunately - I am currently unable to add comments to the discussion, just in case you were wondering.

    Thanks for your kind comments, and best of luck with your roses.

    PS: I have handed over the last few roses selected from my breeding efforts to Janet Inada at RVR, and it remains to be seen when (or if) any of them will be released to the public.

  5. Hi Paul,
    Thanks for writing. Thinking about this latest change in the "Rose Forum" made me think back to the rec.roses list we were on back in 94-95. That is were I first remember you getting deeply involved with roses. I've enjoyed your creative contributions to the various lists over the years and certainly in the garden. It seemed to me that your work going back to many of the earliest roses was both a very large undertaking and potentially a breakthrough move. With the turn in the market and difficulty making a living with roses I know it must have seemed overwhelming.
    We recently moved a good bit of our garden to our new home. It looks like all of your roses except for Mel Hulse, survived the move and this year I added Won Fang Yon and am on the wait list for Mel's Heritage. I suspect in the next few years we will add the rest of your roses.
    Thanks again for your contribution and the best of luck to you.