To those of us who love roses, and who love the Civil War, growing a Mr. Lincoln rose is a natural. Mr. Lincoln (Rosa ‘Mr. Lincoln’) is one of the loveliest, deliciously fragrant red roses ever bred–a proud rose with a proud name.
Mr. Lincoln is a hybrid tea rose, which means that the flowers are usually borne singly, at the end of a long strong stem. This makes hybrid teas the most popular type of rose grown in the United States. Herbert C. Swim and O. L. Weeks, who combined the outstanding red tea roses Rosa ‘Chrysler Imperial’ and Rosa ‘Charles Mallerin,’ created Mr. Lincoln. Mr. L was introduced to the public by Star® Roses in 1964.
It was named an All-American selection the very next year, and is rated “good to excellent” for both its fragrance and its dependability. It continually wins Most Fragrant Rose at rose shows across the country, and at the corner of my driveway! It is deep velvet red in color, and has about 30-35 petals per bloom, making it truly regal in appearance. The average plant reaches about 3-5 feet in height, and has a comfortably compact shape.
In addition, it is easy to prune. Even the least experienced rose pruner can do a better-than-average job on Mr. Lincoln, and get a magnificent spring showing for the effort. If the lovely red color isn’t enough, the fragrance will amaze you! It has a powerful Damask smell, reminiscent of old garden roses, which seduces the senses. Any powdery mildew should be caught early, and is easily treated with a fungicidal spray.
I had not planned on sounding like a Rose magazine here, but I am justifiably proud of my Mr. Lincoln rose. If you live in rose zones 5-10, try growing this rose. If you live in a colder climate–a zone 6 or more–plant it deeper than you might normally, and give it good winter protection. Its natural hardiness should see it through, and it is a rose worth the effort. Every garden should have this rose in it–after all, it is a Mr. Lincoln rose!