Ouchless Roses

I love roses – who doesn’t. I can’t say though that I love their thorns – who would? But since they come hand-in-hand, I guess we all accept it and make the best of the deal. But do we have to? (Warning, I’m about to hop up onto a semi-promotional soap box.)

Rose blooms and thorns have been a package deal – even before biblical times, as any rose breeding boffin will tell you. Popular culture backs this up; just look at Beauty and the Beast. A rose picked from the Beast’s garden starts off the chain of events. Beauty herself is a reference to the loveliness of a rose bloom and I’m guessing the Beast represents the thorns. Sleeping Beauty is another classic folk tale (and by classic I mean well before Disney released its version). Here we have a beautiful princess (again, obviously the rose) surrounded and protected by the thorny rose brambles. Yup, roses and thorns are pretty much a given combo.

So imagine what it must have been like for Californian rose breeder Harvey Davidson (no, that’s not a typo) to stumble upon a creamy apricot rose 45 years ago that had…. drum roll…. no thorns. He may have been a back-yard hobbyist back then, but he – and everyone else – quickly saw that the option of a rose without thorns was a wonderful thing. Decades of best practice breeding and continued selections have followed with brilliant results. Scroll down through the following images of loveliness and you’d have to agree.

thornless roses

Smooth Prince

thornless rose

Smooth Buttercup

Beauty aside, where there are no thorns, there are advantages. Cutting back a rose bush is as easy as cutting back a daisy bush. And when you’re done, you don’t have to think about putting the thorny prunings somewhere smart to avoid being stuck by the thorns later on. Oh, and when you cut the flowers to take indoors, it’s nice to know that there are no thorns to tear the foliage as you stack the stems into your trug. And if you’ve dreamed of growing roses smack up against a path, a patio or your front door (but were worried you’d be ripped to shreds), then these roses are the solution.

thornless rose

Smooth Satin

thornless rose

Smooth Angel

Apart from the thorns these roses are pretty much the same as any other well-bred rose: they like the sun, they’re happy to grow in containers or the soil, they need to be kept watered until established and a bit of fertilizing and mulching is a good idea. And they are lovely.

I say all this because more people need to know that these gorgeous roses are out there – without the spikey bits.

Thornless rose

Smooth Moonlight

thornless rose

Smooth Ballerina









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