TOP 10 ROSES OF 2017

by Lisa Lain, Arizona’s Garden Gal

The mountains of Arizona are famous for our easy-care roses.  Because of the dry air and alkaline soils, we just grow a better, brighter, more fragrant rose without the disease and insect issues that plague gardens in California and humid states. Every yard and garden deserves at least one rosebush whether in the ground, in raised beds, or in containers.

This year’s list of top roses seems to focus more on fragrance than unique colors, although there are a couple of new colors that make the list as well as some traditional favorites.  The roses described below are by no means the only roses you will find at Watters Garden Center this year.  Listed are the most consistently popular selections and new varieties on everyone’s radar. Reviews are from national rose breeders, local growers and what we witness here at the nursery in Prescott.

  1. Sedona – The warm colors reminiscent of the craggy red bluffs and high desert sunsets in the American Southwest inspired the name for this unique rose. Pointed, sculptured buds spiral open, revealing layers of colors in reds, corals and orange tones in stunning 5-inch blossoms.  It’s no wonder this Arizona favorite tops this year’s list!

  2. Chris Evert – It’s a ‘grand slam’ as far as gardeners are concerned. Some call it orange-yellow, but the scarlet blush ‘served’ at the finish of the flower is ‘game point.’ The ‘match’ is completed by a well-behaved clean plant for the showy, well- formed blossoms. New foliage of a deep red maturing to large green leaves puts the ‘top-spin’ on this winner.

  3. Octoberfest – Here’s a tall drink of a grandiflora, whose intoxicating blend of autumn colors captures the spirit of the fall festival year-round. Gorgeous, glossy green leaves and dark red new shoots join the celebration of ever-changing yellows, oranges and reds. Elegant pointed buds and large flowers develop in lovely clusters for an instant bouquet. Add to all this a glorious fragrance and you’ll raise your glass to say, “Prosit!”

  4. Drop Dead Red – This killer color is truly a stop-‘em-dead-in-their-tracks kind of red that’s certain to lure you to linger. Happily, it retains that red to the very finish of the flower, making this bushy, shiny, showy rose a desirable addition to most landscapes.

  5. Scent-imental – You might think stripes are new-fangled things, but it’s the old rose heritage that brings the genetic striping to this spicy-scented newcomer. Each petal is as unique as a snowflake – some more burgundy-splashed-white, some more cream-swirled-red – and all on the same vigorous plant. The continuous quilted blossoms rise atop distinctive clean foliage – perfect for fragrant potpourris.

  6. Josph’s Coat – This ever-popular climber makes the list again this year. Bounteous clusters with double flowers of ever-changing colorful hues grace the glossy apple-green leaves. Blooming on new and old wood, this is a popular, well-loved Arizona performer.

  7. White Dawn – Loads of bright white ruffled flowers come on this vigorous climbing rose. Many flowers develop on this vine with buds forming on new and old wood at the same time. If you like big, bold and white, this rose is bound to please.

  8. Shockwave – There’s no rose that’s any yellower, and no foliage that’s any greener. The combo makes your eyes blink and your head spin in disbelief! Better yet, the flowers hold on to their searing yellow tones to the very end, dropping away from this well-behaved plant just in time to welcome the next round of blooms. This plant is tidy enough to tuck into a landscape, lend an accent to a container or top a rose tree.

  9. Vavoom Tree Rose – Have you ever seen a rose stand up and say, “Howdy?”  The tones of its glowing orange blooms might make your eyes pucker!  Put that juicy orange against its deep mahogany foliage that matures to a glossy green and you have a lollapalooza for the landscape. Caution: Sunglasses may be required!

  10. Anna’s Promise – This is the first in a series of garden roses inspired by the award-winning British television series “Downton Abbey.”  This introduction praises the true heart and integrity of Anna, lady’s maid to Lady Mary Crawley in the popular program. The unique color combination of golden petals with a pink blush and glowing bronze reverse is a fitting representation of Anna’s character. Elegant blossoms surrounded by glossy, green foliage exude a spicy, fruity fragrance. This graceful plant includes strong stems, perfect for bouquets in the parlor.

These are the roses gardeners are talking about for 2017.  With more than 700 roses showing at Watters Garden Center this summer, the variety of fragrances and colors are bound to provide the right rose for every garden.

Feeding roses with Watters’ Flower Power 54 water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks produces HUGE blooms!  Twice-per-week watering will keep your roses fully plumped and thriving.

Learn how to plant and care for roses with my two-page care sheet on roses – free when you visit me here at the garden center.

Until next issue, I’ll see you among the roses here at Watters Garden Center.

Lisa Watters-Lain can be found throughout the week at Watters Garden Center, 1815 W. Iron Springs Road in Prescott, or contacted through her website at or

Lisa Watters-Lain
Lisa graduated from Prescott High School and went on to obtain her master’s degree from Northern Arizona University.  She married her college sweetheart, Ken, and has four children. Her garden advice can be heard each week on the “Mountain Garden” radio hour broadcast through KQNA 1130am & 99.9fm, also heard on NPR signals KJAZZ 89.5fm, KJZP 90.1fm. Throughout the week Lisa can be found at Watters Garden Center located at 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd, Prescott, or contacted through her website at