Rain and shine

There have been times when we complained that spring in New York lasts for just a few days, and cold wintry days turn into hot summer within no time. Not this year! We had a few hot days, but otherwise, it is almost a little too cool. We don’t have to worry about watering the garden right now either. There was a lot of rain last week and this Memorial Day is rained out, too. One effect of this weather is that our irises, peonies and roses are lasting a lot longer, even though they get rained on a lot.

Peonies, roses and an allium heavy with rain

Of our roses, the antique Bourbon and Damask varieties were the first to bloom. They looked perfect last weekend.

Two Damask roses on top: the perfectly white Madame Hardy and the lovely pink Baronne Prévost. On the bottom are the Bourbon roses Souvenir de la Malmaison and Kronprinzessin Viktoria. Kronprinzessin Viktoria is a sport of Souvenir de la Malmaison. That is, a branch of a the pink Souvenir de la Malmaison once showed cream-white flowers. In 1887, this branch was cultivated as a new variety and named after the oldest daughter of Queen Victoria.

Of the other roses, Don Juan, the climber on the trellis over the path, is currently also particularly pretty.

Don Juan is perhaps my favorite rose in the garden. It has these beautiful dark red flowers and a lovely fragrance. It is also pretty resistant to black spot and other diseases and does not stop blooming until late fall.

The irises are also still not done with their show. Some new flowers with unusual colors just opened. We do not know the names of our varieties. Identifying them could be a fun project for the future. For now, we are proud that we know almost all of our roses by name.

Beautiful irises


Fourth annual Rose Walk

This is the guide for our fourth annual Rose Walk:

Enter the gate and look to your left. There is a collection of roses that include Alba White Meidiland, Stanwell Perpetual—an ancient cross between a Burnet rose (Rosa spinosissima) and a Damask rose—and Charles Mallerin.

Madame Hardy

Now, continue on the path and under the arbor covered with Don Juan. Through the arbor to your right is Ploxy Baby, a 2016 winner of the American Garden Rose Selections. Directly in front of you in the border, The Fairy is planted to the right of the large Rosa laxa. Please take a look at the other roses in this area to your left, which have yet to be identified.

Heading up the path, you will see Madame Hardy in the border, a Damask rose that is considered one of the most beautiful white roses ever bred (in 1832 by Alexander Hardy who named it after his wife Félicité). Next are several specimen of the Floribunda rose Pink Simplicity. To your left is the lavender colored Paradise.

Lavender Dream

Further down the path reveals Lavender Dream. Proudland is the red rose to your left. This area also contains several unidentified roses.

Turning the corner, Dream Weaver appears and there is also Pretty Jessica.

The next corner contains Chrysler Imperial, one of our oldest roses that was planted in a brick well 35 years ago. It won a Green Thumb contest and a wheelbarrow for the garden back in the ‘80’s.

Dr. Huey

Turning the tight corner, you will come to a large grove of tall red roses, Dr. Huey, frequently used as rootstock for hybrid roses. You will also see Senior Prom and Citrus Tease, and to your right is a rose which we still need to identify.

Following in the border is White Dawn. Look back into the garden to see Orange Honey Sunny Yellow Knockout and Oso Happy Smoothie Pink. There is also Baronne Prévost, an antique Damask perpetual, and Green Ice, grown from a cutting a couple of years ago.

Livin’ Easy

Next is Livin’ Easy, and in the border, you will find French Lace, Eglantyne and Morden Blush. In the middle of the garden is one recently planted old garden rose Apple blossom, which was newly grown by the Heritage Rose Foundation and donated to a Green Thumb rose pruning event in Harlem three springs ago.

By now we are sure you are drawn to Zephirine Drouhin. This thornless beauty has been with us a long time. HapLivin’ Easypy Chappy and Peach Drift, which came to the garden from an AARS giveaway in Union Square years ago, are also here.

Souvenir de la Malmaison

Please continue down the path, past the gate, and on your way to the patio. You will pass Love and Peace, which was planted in honor of two young neighborhood NYPD auxiliary officers, Nick Pekearo & Eugene Marshalik, who were gunned down on Sullivan street in 2007. Next is Chicago Peace. Follow your nose and be enthralled by the fragrance of Souvenir de la Malmaison, one of our Bourbon roses.



This next section, next to the patio, is the most concentrated rose garden. Within this area, you will find two other Bourbon roses, Kronprinzessin Viktoria and Captaine Dyel de Graville. There are also a rare Canary Island Damask rose next to Munstead Wood and the hybrid Tea rose Leonie’s Appoline. Near the back fence is Pat Austin.

On the other side of the patio, there is small hybrid tea rose called Heirloom. You will also find the Rosa rugosa cultivar Henry Hudson and the hybrid Musk rose The Ballerina. The Ballerina appears again with Dames de Chenonceau and a Pink Meidiland. The very last plot has The Fairy, Tropicana and Dan Poncet.

After leaving the garden, please also take a look at our small North Garden which contains a pink double Rosa rugosa variety and Pink Simplicity. You will also find The Prince behind a red rose, which we still need to identify. Finally, there are the European wild rose Rosa rubifolia and Maigold.

Thank you for coming! We hope this has been enjoyable and informative. We appreciate your ideas and input. If you think you can identify any of our mystery roses, please inform the guardian on duty or send us an e-mail: lgcgardens@gmail.com.

Pat Austin (Photo: Hubert Steed)


It is May and time for our annual Rose Walk!

LaGuardia Corner Gardens is a proud owner of more than 50 different rose varieties. There are species roses, old garden roses, classic hybrid tea roses and some new varieties that were released just recently. We have miniature roses, small and large shrub roses, English roses, climbing roses and more.

At this time of the year, we mark our roses with colorful labels so that everybody can learn their names. We also composed a guide that leads visitors on a tour around the garden to view the roses.

At the moment, some roses are still in bud, but the earlier varieties are already open. Things will change daily now, especially since we are having a mid-May heat wave with temperatures around 90ºF. This should be over on the weekend, though. We will get a few perfect days for a stroll through the garden.


Here are the some pictures of the roses that are currently in bloom:

Stanwell Perpetual and Zephirine Drouhin

Pink Meidiland and the double Rosa rugosa

Oso Happy Smoothy Pink and our Canary Island Damask

Plant profile: Stanwell Perpetual

Our first roses are blooming. One that has never been prettier is Stanwell Perpetual.

Stanwell Perpetual in full bloom

Stanwell Perpetual is an unusual rose. It was supposedly discovered in 1838 as a seedling that resulted from a cross of a Scot Rose with an Autumn Damask Rose.

Scot Roses are cultivars of the dune or burnet rose Rosa spinosissima (syn. Rosa pimpinellifolia), a wild rose that grows on sandy soil in Asia and Europe, including Scotland. Burnet roses are characterized by very prickly stems (this is what “spinosissima” means). They also have leaves with 7 or more leaflets that resemble those of burnet (Sanguisorba species) or Pimpinella, the plant genus that brings us anise. This is what the famous taxonomist Linné had in mind, when he gave the Scot Rose its two scientific names (he initially thought that there were two species).

Stanwell Perpetual inherited these features from its Scotch parent. Count the leaflets on the picture below, there are often 9 of them. Also, the twigs are wickedly spiny.


There are at least seven leaflets. Photo: Hubert Steed)

A lot of thorns are typical for this rose

From its Damask parent, it got the ability to flower “perpetually”, not just once in spring. The old rosarians liked this feature and selected for it. Modern roses are almost all repeat-blooming, although the biggest bloom is still in May and June.

Look near the gate for Stanwell perpetual’s small light pink flowers that fade to white. Also, smell their delicious scent.

Stanwell Perpetual’s flowers are often light pink

Some other roses are blooming now, too, which means that our annual Rose Walk is coming up. We already placed labels on all roses and are updating the guide. 


Mid May: ready, steady, bloom!

May is our most spectacular month. In fast succession, irises, peonies and roses are opening their buds. We had some nice rain and it will get warm, so be ready for the show! Some migratory birds are stopping by, too. I saw a common yellowthroat this morning.

Here are some impressions from the last days:

Iris buds have opened

Irises for all tastes: simple in shape and color or frilly and opulent or “unusual”.

Look in the smaller North Garden for this gorgeous Rhododendron, and all over the garden for the last of the bluebells.

The peony buds are ready to pop open. Something on the outside of these buds must be irresistible to insects. There are almost always ants on them, sometimes flies, and here a large wasp that was probably on a hunting trip.

Every day, something new is coming up now. Who can should visit this month!
The best time to be in the garden, by the way, is in the evening and on weekends. There is a rather noisy construction site right next door, lest we forget that our little oasis is in the middle of New York City.