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The Fairy Rose. A Small, Sweet  Polyantha Shrub Rose.

Rosa 'The Fairy' Bentall 1932 RPO

Bloom After Bloom after Bloom.

The Fairy Rose is a Polyantha which means it has many clusters of blooms. 

 It is a low growing shrub which is absolutely smothered in blooms from spring right through to autumn. It grows to about 2 or 3 feet in height and spreads up to 4 feet in width, so when you put it in, give it plenty of room. If you are using it as a hedge, leave a space of at least 3 feet between plants.

It has a slight fragrance, but its blooms make up for that. Each cluster of blossoms always has shades of rose pink, pale pink and white as each flower head goes through its birth, bridal and death phases. This may mean a lot of deadheading, depending on your taste, but I never had to deadhead mine even once, except after the flowers finished. Some pictures show up a lot of dead blooms, but I never saw that many on my bush. From memory, this rose is very prickly - its only downside. So just wear thick gloves when working with it.

The Fairy Rose.

See how many blooms you get? So Sweet. 

Did I mention that it has a climbing form? Well, it has. A sport (a genetic mutation found on the original shrub). It's a small climber and I bought it, but I was disappointed with the shape of the petals. They were double, but just too flat. The blooms lacked the beautiful shape which is characteristic of the Fairy. But that's just my personal opinion, having been rather attached to the shrub type. This is a disease resistant rose.

The Fairy Rose. Good Points.

It is resistant to rust, powdery mildew and even black spot (ideal for here in SE Queensland). Another good point, along with its disease resistance, is the fact that it can be trained, if you get in early to avoid the prickles.  It is also shade tolerant; ideal for at the base of a tree or in a corner (although it must have good air circulation around its base, like all roses). If you live in the city, it is an ideal choice. Not only is it small and hardy, but it is resistant to pollution. This rose is not going to die on a smoggy morning. 

The Fairy Rose in Full Bloom.The Birth, Bridal and Death Of The The Fairy Rose.

Mine was in a medium sized 'faux' barrel made of cement. The grey-brown colour of the container really set off the rose. It grew into a beautiful bush, surrounded with various pots of annuals and perennial companion plants in dark blue and white.

The Fairy Rose needs very little attention. It is hardy, drought and disease resistant and blooms 'as if it meant it'. Wherever you put it, it asks for only one thing: good drainage. Like all roses, they hate wet feet. It loves a good organic or compost mulch, and if you must give it fertilizer, use a slow release, occasionally. Early pruning after the flowering season will promote new growth and deadheading will extend the life of the flowers well into autumn.

Return to Disease Resistant Roses.

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"If you enjoy the fragrance of a rose, you must accept the thorns which it bears". 

Isaac Hayes