Brian “Norman” Andrews, head of the trees and shrubs department at the Florida IGC, says the first thing customers notice about the Brindabella Rose is its fragrance, which sets it apart from competitors.
“Its fragrance is definitely a more extravagant aspect about this particular series of roses,” he says. “But it’s also very hardy, very disease-resistant and it has big blooms and a high petal count.”
It’s also available year-round, which is a plus, considering that other roses are only grown during specific seasons, he says.
Andrews points out that it takes about 60 days to produce a 1-gallon liner and 90 days to produce a 3-gallon liner, which is relatively quick.
“So generally, when a lot of the rose nurseries start their roses, it takes a certain number of days for the graft to take. It usually comes in around January or February, and that’s when their stock is ready to go out. Now, the Brindabella Roses — those don’t need to be grafted, so they essentially have them ready whenever,” he says.
The tough shrub roses are also disease-resistant, making them an excellent choice for new gardeners. The fragrant doubled flowers are low maintenance and very vigorous.
“I usually recommend the Brindbellas because you’re still getting the fragrance and pretty blooms, but at the same time, you’re getting a great beginner rose,” Andrews says. “It’s a very easy rose. It doesn’t need deadheading or anything like that even though you could do it and it’ll benefit from that.”
Many customers are grateful for his expertise, and they come back with satisfactory results. While any rose in Florida can fall victim to powdery mildew and black spots spurred by the wet climate, Andrews says the Brindabellas don’t experience as many issues as often as other roses.
“Customers usually come back and say, ‘Hey, this was a great rose, thank you so much.’ They’re usually appreciative of the foresight as far as which roses are going to do better,” he says. “You always want to instill confidence in the customer. And what better way to do that with something that they could easily do at the beginning and then work toward?”
He often encourages customers to start with the Brindabellas and work toward other varieties, such as climbing roses.
“It’s a great garden rose; it’s a great shrub rose. It gets around 4 feet tall, so when customers see this rose and see that it’s easy to take care of, it pretty much sells itself at that point,” he says.