Devil's Dictionary of Rose Words
Useful rose language re-examined by a skeptic.
AbeDarbyTrim Phot

Hips - Unsightly lumps at the ends of rose canes that draw wildlife to eat rose plants.

Hybrid - Posessing all the weak traits of both parents, revealing hidden ones.

Hybrid Musk - A modern rose that doesn't bear properly shaped rose blossoms.

Hybrid Perpetual - A hybrid rose. See above.

Large-Flowered - Roses that bear a single flower at the end of a spindly disease-laden cane. It only looks good for the three hours prior to dawn on the day it is to open and expire.

Mildew - The natural state of most Hybrid Roses wherein the leaves are discolored and/or falling from the plant.

Number 1 - Sometimes used to repel nibbling animals.

Own-Root - A cutting that survived the normal abuses of propagation long enough to produce a single leaf.

Polyantha - Roses too short to notice, really.

Portland -1) A place to avoid during the rose festival. All the other days of the year it rains. For precisely these reasons it is loved by those who choose it.

Prune - The task to which Sisyphus was put - sticking his hands among sharp-thorned plants to remove wood, only to have it grow back stronger and sharper than ever.

Rambler - A rose that starts by occupying too much of a garden and proceeds to take up more.

Rosa foetida - 1)The best host for blackspot. 2) An ancestor that defies all laws of genetics by being able to pass its susceptibility to disease across an infinite number of generations regardless of all intervening steps.

Remontant - A rose that produces two or possibly three flowers in a season but not at the same time.

Rust - Inevitable disintegration by time and moisture of iron and roses.

Species - A rose whose natural disadvantages have been unaugmented by human interference.

Sport - A good one is anyone who's read this far in the dictionary.

Sucker - One who buys a second rose.

Tea Rose - A variety that grows only where it is too hot to go outside and enjoy them.

Vegetative Propagation - Reproduction without the fun.

Virus - a cold in the rose.



Alba - Whitest flowers among the roses that flower least often. Frequently pink.

Bare Root - Roses that have been stripped of soil and all their feeding roots so as to reveal that the miserable plant has been pot bound for most of its short, unhappy life and has been abandoned to dessicate and die some number of weeks ago.

Black Spot -Interesting black spots decorate rose leaflets eventually turning them yellow with black spots. Roses that get this will drop their leaves, and do so all the faster if they are getting insufficient water. This decoration, therefore, saves the plant from dying of thirst . In places where mildew reliably kills roses before blackspot can, this iproves a lesser concern.

Bed - A special place in the garden for culivating weeds, usually providing them especially favorable conditions.

Border -1)A special place in the garden for cultivating weeds where most competition has been eliminated. 2) A repository for expensive materials such as coconut hulls which, otherwise the producer would have to pay a to landfill.

Bourbon - 1)The whiskey of choice among Old Rose lovers. 2) The bell that tolled signifying the death of vigor, good healt, and diesease resistance in roses.

Budding - See Vegetative Propagation.

China Roses - Roses that only grow well in China. Or where it is invariably too hot to venture outdoors when the roses are in bloom.

Climber - Roses that hold their flowers too high in the air to be seen or smelled properly.

Cluster-Flowered - A longer, fancier, and less suggestive name for Floribunda. (see also Floribunda)

Container Plants - Plants that require daily watering but manage to die of drought or famine regardless of attentions paid.

Continuity of Bloom - Glaciers on Waikiki Beach.

Cross - 1.)What one becomes when deer discover your roses are in bloom and eat them. 2. )What you must bear after deciding to grow many of the largest-flowering of roses - daily checks for pests and disease, weekly sprayings with toxic chemicals, regular watering and mulching.

Cutting - A bit of rose stem stripped of leaves, stuck in some loose soil, and tended patiently until good and dead. See also Own Root Rose.

Damask - 1) A thin, almost transparent textile.

Deadhead - 1) The act of mingling ones own limbs with thorned rose cane until they are bleeding freely from multiple scratches. This reputedly gladdens the hearts of the rose goddess producing bigger flowers. 2) A person who listens to music of the late Jerry Garcia while tending roses.

Diploid - A twining plant that grows up the canes of the rose, eventually choking and devouring it.

Floribunda - Roses of neither stature nor fragrance, usually in garish colors.

Gallica - Roses with highly artificial blossoms in hard-to-bear blackish-purple colors.

Graft- 1)The point on a rose where it was first contaminated with the mosaic viruses. 2) To purposely infect a perfectly good cutting with a virus by attaching it to infected rootstock. 


Roses for Every Garden