There are few flowers that stir emotions like the rose. And there are few blooms that thrill our senses like it as well. Here in Colorado, my favorite season is spring – and that’s largely due to my rose garden. Of all the flowers in our garden, the blooms that always catch my eye and tug at my heart are those on my beautiful rosebushes.

Some of my favorites are what I call my garden “eye-catchers.” Their rich colors set against their beautiful, shiny, green foliage are truly a sight to behold. Now, as a rose lover for more than 40 years, I have to admit that my list of favorites is long and varying (after all, each variety is unique in its own way). But here’s a list of my top five eye-catchers, as well as a few extra-special delights. While I treasure each of these beauties in my own garden in the Rockies, many will do well in other parts of the country, too. So be sure to check with your local garden center or Cooperative Extension office to see if these gorgeous bloomers are candidates for a special spot in your garden as well.

The Eye-Catchers

Tuscan Sun (floribunda)

Tuscan Sun
(floribunda)

Featuring orange- to peach-toned blooms, this very hardy rose grabs your attention with her bright rich flower color and form set against rich, medium-green foliage. And you’ll find she’s got a very light citrus fragrance. In my Colorado climate, I allow about a 2-foot-square space for this beauty.

Photo Credit: Stan V. Griep

Betty Boop™ (floribunda)

Betty Boop™
(floribunda)

This gorgeous girl features white blooms with a pretty red trim. Just one glance and you’ll be hooked! Not only that, Betty Boop is a very hardy beauty that loves to bloom for a long period. She grows to about 3 feet tall and wide in my neck of the woods. I don’t get a lot of fragrance from her, but Betty Boop makes me smile every time I see her!

Photo Credit: Stan V. Griep

Fragrant Cloud (hybrid tea)

Fragrant Cloud
(hybrid tea)

This amazing rose has rich, almost neon-orange blooms and a deep fragrance. She’ll not only catch your eye, she’ll tease your sense of smell with her sweet scent. (In fact, it reminds me of the rose-scented powders my grandmother used to have, only stronger. Others describe it as having strong hints of tangerine and Mandarin oranges.) My Fragrant Cloud grows about 3-4 feet tall and 2 feet wide.

Photo Credit: Stan V. Griep

Rio Samba (hybrid tea)

Rio Samba
(hybrid tea)

If you want golden yellow blooms with a kiss of red, this unique beauty is for you! Her blooms increasingly turn to a pretty shade of soft red to deep pink as they age, and the fragrance just floats on the air about her! The scent reminds me of a sweet perfume with a hint of citrus added in for good measure. Rio Samba is about the same size as Fragrant Cloud.

Photo Credit: Stan V. Griep

Rainbow Sunblaze® (miniature rose)

Rainbow Sunblaze®
(miniature rose)

There’s no way I could speak of eye-catching roses without mentioning this beauty! When the sunlight hits her bright-yellow blooms with rich red edging, this rose is absolutely radiant in the garden (kind of like a lighthouse beacon shining through the fog). Her plentiful, rich blooms absolutely demand your attention, and she’s hardy and healthy to boot! Rainbow Sunblaze has a very light, sweet, rosy fragrance and only needs about 18 inches of space to grow into a true treat for the eyes.

Photo Credit: Stan V. Griep

The Extra-Special Delights

Arcanum (miniature rose)

Arcanum
(miniature rose)

This rosebush has stolen my heart over the years with her awesome displays of white blooms with red edges. She never ceases to amaze me with her beauty and hardiness. I simply can’t visit this plant in the garden without my camera in hand to capture an image. Her beauty overrides the fact there’s no detectable fragrance, and she only needs about 2 feet of sunny garden space to grow.

Photo Credit: Stan V. Griep

Gemini™ (hybrid tea)

Gemini™
(hybrid tea)

Another stunning beauty with red-edged white blooms, Gemini reminds me a lot of Arcanum – with the exception that she’s a larger bush (2 feet wide and 4 feet tall) with larger flowers. And like Arcanum, Gemini also has a very pleasing, soft, fruity fragrance to my nose – kind of like papaya. Both roses easily stir the passion of romance deep within the heart. But Gemini is special to me in another way: She brought home my first Queen of Show trophy from the rose shows I enter.

Photo Credit: Stan V. Griep

Winter Magic (miniature rose)

Winter Magic & Sweet Arlene
(miniature roses)

Both of these beauties have soft lavender blooms with a fragrance that’ll surprise you! The scent is that of a strong, sweet perfume far better than what you’ll find at any cosmetic counters. Sweet Arlene (below) is perhaps a bit more fragrant, but both are a beautiful change of color in rose gardens. In my garden, Winter Magic needs a spot a little over 2 feet wide and 3 feet tall because she loves to bush out and load up with blooms. Sweet Arlene is a bit more compact for me and only needs about 2 feet of garden space.

Sweet Arlene (miniature rose)

Photo Credit: Stan V. Griep

Stainless Steel (hybrid tea)

Stainless Steel
(hybrid tea)

This plant’s light mauve blooms resemble those of her miniature rose look-alikes, Winter Magic and Sweet Arlene, but Stainless Steel grows tall – as high as 4-5 feet – and loves to bloom. She, too, is a beautiful color to mix in with the larger roses of your garden, and her fragrance is a soft sweet kiss on the breeze – not heavy or faint, more of a medium teasing fragrance.

Photo Credit: Stan V. Griep

I’d better stop here with my favorites or I’ll go on and on. The plain truth is that every rose in my rose garden is special to me in one way or another, just as each of my children and grandchildren are special to me in their own ways. Maybe one of my favorites will find a home in your garden, too, and stir some passionate feelings within your own gardening soul.