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Though some old roses have many of these characteristics, it's mostly modern roses (defined as those introduced after 1867) that consistently provide maximum blooms with a minimum of care. Following are the three basic categories of landscape roses, with suggested varieties that have proven reliable across the United States. Continue your research on the Web and in rose catalogs or books to find additional information on a variety's size, shape, proper spacing, and exact flower color and character. Keep in mind that plant size will vary depending on your climate. In areas with mild winters and long growing seasons, roses often grow much larger than the sizes given in catalogs. Roses can be riotously colorful, too, so choose carefully to make sure the ones you select blend well with the overall colors of your home and landscape (for guidance, check out Help Me Find Roses.)

True shrubs. This is a catchall class of roses that groups together plants varying considerably in size and shape. Shrub roses can be used as informal hedges and work well in flower borders. Many are sold as part of a branded series of varieties, differing in flower color and sometimes plant habit. At the head of this bunch are the Knock Out roses, which in a matter of just a few years have become some of the most popular roses grown. Other excellent series include Carefree and Flower Carpet roses. Meidiland roses also include many excellent shrub roses, but most are quite vigorous and best for large areas where they can spread. For the coldest regions, select very hardy cultivars such as the Buck roses, the Explorer series (named after famous explorers), and the Morden (or Parkland) series, many of which have survived temperatures below minus 30 degrees F.

Among individual varieties, look for the exceptional 'Home Run' (red) and 'Sally Holmes' (white). Also consider 'Belinda's Dream' (pink), one of the first roses to receive Texas A&M University's "Earth Kind" designation for its excellent disease resistance (more information is available at Earth Kind Roses).

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