Pink roses run the gamut from palest blush though the deepest cerise. I have never seen one that I didn't like. So when I was choosing them to order last winter to be planted in my new rose garden in the spring, I had to find the ones I loved. The first consideration was hardiness because I live in zone 6 with some pretty brutal winds. I am exploring all of the different types, so no limitations there. The big, fluffy blooms always draw me, but I was determined to push my boundaries. Here is the end result.
'Moonstone' (1998, Carruth)* is a fragrant hybrid tea that is blushed pink at the outside of the petals. It is hardy to zone 4, unlike many hybrid teas that are iffy, even in zone 6. This one is very special to me because it was a gift from a DG friend who obviously knows what I love.
A hybrid rugosa that will rebloom, 'Polareis' (1963, Rieksta, aka 'Ritausma') will get very large, as much as 7' by 7'. It was planted with plenty of room to grow. I can't wait to see it get huge. It has absolutely gorgeous blossoms in clusters. I was sold on this one the first time I saw a photo of it posted by a fellow DG member on the Rose forum.
Dating from 1797, 'Maiden's Blush' (1797, Kew) is an Alba that should reach about 5'. There is also a 'Great Maiden's Blush' that is very similar but somewhat larger. This rose is a summer once-bloomer and just planted last spring, so it hasn't had a chance to bloom yet in my garden. The gorgeous photo is courtesy of my DG friend hortensia, and one of the reasons I purchased this rose. It is hardy to zone 4 and very fragrant.
'Freckles' (1976, Buck) is a shrub rose from Dr. Griffith Buck who is responsible for so many hardy and disease resistant cultivars. The very cute name comes from the little speckles on the petals that you may be able to see in this picture. With large blooms on a smallish bush (about 3' x 3'), 'Freckles' was in constant bloom for me all season and is hardy to zone 4.
A sweet little shrub, 'Happy Memories' (2002, Amanda Beales) was purchased on sale late in the season and planted in September last year. Consequently it only had a few blooms. So I am looking forward to clusters of these light pink, cupped, smaller blooms on a 2-foot by 2-foot bush this year.
One of my very favorite roses of any color, 'Miami Moon' (2000, Carruth) is just amazing to me. It's very first season it was extremely floriferous, with huge blooms that change color as they age. At any given time there were 20 blossoms on this floribunda in shades of pink and coral fading to cream. I expect a mature height of 4 feet to 5 feet. It is hardy only to zone 6, but I am willing to baby it and give it a little extra winter protection to be sure it makes it through the winter in my garden. This one rates two photos.
Oh, here's a good one! 'Sweet Sunblaze' (1987, Meilland) is a miniature with 1½ inch blooms on a bush that gets close to 3' by 3'. The blossoms are like a mini hybrid tea but grow in clusters. It has no scent to speak of (very mild), but blooms all summer with very little care. With excellent disease resistance and beautiful clear pink color that deepens with cooler weather, what's not to like? You will also enjoy the orange hips that develop in autumn.
In my Peace Garden there are currently two pinks, 'Pink Peace' (1959, Meilland) and 'Chicago Peace' (1962, Johnson), a pink/yellow blend. Both of these hybrid teas feature the huge, 5 to 6" blooms and lovely fragrance of their parent, the well-known 'Peace' rose. They are somewhat susceptible to black spot. 'Pink Peace' is listed as hardy to zone 5, while 'Chicago Peace' will only tough it out to zone 6.
Who wouldn't buy a rose of a type called Romantica? 'Yves Piaget' (1985, Meilland) is a typical Romantica with 80 petals to a bloom in a deep, clear pink. Hardy to zone 5, I expect it to mature at about 3' in height. It was close to that last summer, in almost constant bloom and sweetly fragrant.
'My Wild Irish Rose' (2004, McCann) is a climber (to 7') that is one of the roses I bought to break out of my "floofy rose" habit. "Floofy" is a technical term I picked up on the Rose Forum meaning a large, fluffy, many-petaled rose. This is a lovely single with between four and eleven petals on it's pink blooms with yellow eyes. Planted late in the season, it was still small, but I optimistically bought an obelisk for it to climb. I'm quite taken with it. It's hardy to zone 5. I try to stick with those that will take zone 5 or lower winters when I can. I want them to have a better chance of survival if I neglect to give them the winter protection I know they should have.
I bought the shrub rose 'Royal Bonica' (1994, Meilland) for my cottage garden, mainly because it is supposed to have outstanding disease resistance. It also sets hips which are winter food for the birds. The fact that it has pretty, double blooms that repeat all season is a huge bonus. This plant is hardy to zone 4 and will grow to be about 5' by 5'.
Another hybrid tea... I had planned on only a few because they are extra work; generally not as hardy or disease resistant as some of the other groups. 'Touch of Class' (1984, Kriloff) was one that I couldn't resist. It's a pink that looks like it is frosted with silver on the reverse of the petals, just like it looks in the ads. With large blooms on long stems that are perfect for cutting, the bush should get to be 6' to 7' tall. It was close to 5' last fall. The fragrance is very mild and it is susceptible to mildew, but with the stunning color and form this rose can be forgiven almost anything.
'Just For You' (1990, Moore) is a beautiful deep pink mini from Ralph Moore, the father of the miniature rose. No question that Mr. Moore knows what he is doing. This rose is described as having "perfect exhibition form." It is disease resistant, hardy to zone 5, mildly fragrant and has 35 petals packed into it's 1½" blooms. A very enjoyable rose altogether at the front of the bed at about 15" to 18" tall.
One of the OGR's (Old Garden Roses), 'Joasine Hanet' (1847, Vibert) is a Portland with heavy, quartered, 3" blooms on a 4', spreading plant. It reblooms throughout the season and is very fragrant.
Mini 'Doris Bennett' (2001, Moore) is another creation of hybridizer Ralph Moore. This one is very full, about 41 petals, with a completely different look than 'Just For You' mentioned above. It is flatter with an almost carnation-like appearance, born in clusters on a spreading, one foot bush throughout the season. The stems are almost thornless.
'Yolande d'Aragon' (1843, Vibert) is a hybrid perpetual, also an OGR. Known as "perpetual" because it reblooms, this one has a lot going for it; disease resistant, hardiness (zone 4!), fragrance, fully double 3" blooms. It will be a good-sized plant, 4' to 5' tall by 3' or more wide.
The next two are "remembrance" roses for me. 'Mother's Rose' (2001, Zary), a lovely hybrid tea, was planted in memory of my mother. A floribunda named 'Rosemary Rose' (1954, De Ruiter) was included to honor my mother-in-law.
It goes without saying that you can never have enough roses, particularly pink ones. So with that in mind, I have ordered several for spring delivery. I don't have photographs of my own to share yet, so I'm borrowing some wonderful photos from PlantFiles (please note credits to individual DG members).
'Chapeau du Napoleon' (1827, Vibert)'Gertrude Jekyll' (1986, Austin) 'Heritage' (1984, Austin) Photo credit: 12344 Photo credit: Calif_Sue Photo credit: tristebella
I promised you two dozen and I'm one short. See what you think about this one. 'Champagne Cocktail' (1983, Horner) is a loosely double floribunda that is listed as a yellow blend. At some times it looks as if a yellow rose has had deep pink lipstick blotted on the edges of all the petals. But at other times the flush of lipstick pink covers about 90% of the petal. It is hardy to zone 6, blooms in flushes all season, has a mature height of about 5' and a strong fragrance. To me this is a pink rose.
So that's it. I am so looking forward to spring in my rose garden. Hope you enjoyed them as much as I do.
 For an explanation of the different types of roses, please read this excellent article by Paul Rodman (paulgrow).
 This is a quote from 'The Uncommon Rose' web site where I purchased this rose. They are no longer in business.
* (Year of introduction, Hybridizer)
** The rose in the thumbnail is another favorite, 'Sexy Rexy' (1984, McGredy), a floribunda.
All photographs not otherwise identified were taken by the author in her garden.