Rosa 'Renae' Steals The Show

“Be true to yourself. Make each day a masterpiece. Help others. Drink deeply from good books. Make friendship a fine art. Build a shelter against a rainy day.”
--John Wooden, 1910-2010

Rosa 'Renae'

I entered my garden in a local garden contest that is designed to encourage less use of water.  I've been planting Aloes, Agaves, and other plants with low water requirements on the dry front slope, and abandoning more sprinklers in favor of water-saving irrigation techniques to further reduce our use of water.  I've been working hard on maximum irrigation efficiency and eliminating every drop of waste.  We cut our water use by about 50% since 2008.


I was surprised to make the semi-finals of the contest, since my plantings are not yet mature enough to display significant beauty, because the competition was tough, very tough, and to be honest, because my planting design could be much better.  The judging comittee arrived, walked quickly past my carefully tended Aloes and my beautiful Agaves without a glance, and maked straight for 'Renae', where they all lined up and Just Stared. One of them wrote something down on a clipboard. I imagine it was something like: "Well grown rose, but about as drought-tolerant as a Blue Fin Tuna."

Rosa 'Renae'

'Renae' honey, I love you but you blew it for me, big time.  Those judges were supposed to be entranced by my enormous and beautiful Agave desmetiana variegatas,  sprinkled with purple splashes of Limonium perezii; the hulking, silvery, water-who-needs-water Mariana sedifolia, the prospering Aloe striata, the carefully placed dripper tubes.  Fat chance. 'Laguna' spilling over the wall in a torrent of hot pink probably didn't help, either. 

Rosa 'Laguna'

'Renae' (Moore, patent 1949, commercial introduction 1954) is a climbing polyantha with a strong  and sweet fragrance.  It's almost completely thornless. The canes are flexible and easy to work with.  Mine is in the form of a 60" (1.5 meter) weeping standard.

This year 'Renae' was the last rose to bloom in the garden.   Two weeks before the judges made their ill-timed appearance, there wasn't a bud on it. It was an unobtrusive green thing emerging from a circle of highly drought-tolerant Helichrysum 'Silver Icicles'.   All of a sudden, pink explosion, and last place...

Rosa 'Renae'


  1. Well, I for one love your mix of plants. And Renae is one tough rose. I condemned her to the hell strip at the base of a jacaranda, no supplemental water, and that little rose struggled with all her might. She makes an amazing standard for you. I say you win!

  2. I dunno...seems to me they were probably jotting down the name of that rose so they could grow it themselves. I know I would! ;)


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