Articles by Jim Gainan

As published in the Billings Gazette

Convey a special message with your rose color choice

It's hard to believe that by the middle of September I was ready to trim back the roses and mulch them. After a spring and summer of tending to them, the long break of winter was much welcomed. However, by this time of year, I'm ready to get started again with new hope for the perfect ingredients for a stellar crop of fragrant blooms. Since it's too soon to start, I'll keep planning, which includes culling the collection of colors and deciding which varieties I want to introduce.

February is a big month for Roses because of Valentine's Day. It's widely known that the rose color choice carries meaning. Here are a few of the most common:

Red - Love and Respect: Many exciting red roses are available from the very dark red Cara Mia, large flowered Madam Delbard, bright red Kardinal to the strawberry red Preference.

Orange - Fascination: Roses in brilliant orange are a delight to the eye including the brightly colored Belinda, shocking orange Lambada, stunning bi-colored orange and yellow Circus and apricot-hued Pareo.

Dark Pink - Thankfulness and Gratitude: Choose from several shades of dark pink roses from the hot pink Laser to the dark pink Privé, the medium pink variety Diplomat, and the all time favorite hot pink Milano.

Pale Pink - Grace and Joy: Among the varieties of delicate pink roses are the softly-shaded Kalinka, delicately colored Deloris, true pink Vivaldi and the favorite Bridal Pink.

Coral - esire: The coral/peach rose family has several popular varieties including the world favorite Sonia, peach washed Kyria and peach/pink bi-color Harmony.

Pale Peach - Modesty: Soft peach hues are a delightful color gaining in popularity. Choose the very popular Osiana, the palest peach Champagne or the spray rose Porcelina.

Yellow - Joy and Friendship: Many shades of yellow roses are available from the large blossomed Alsmeer Gold, medium sized Golden Emblem to the spray rose Rhumba.

White - Innocence and Secrecy: White roses are a pure and elegant symbol of caring. Try the true white Escimo, the purest white Tineke and an old favorite, Vandella.

Names vary by grower and Mother Nature. Environmental factors that affect color are primarily temperature, water and sun. Because of this, describing the color desired when ordering roses is preferable. Cloud cover over South America or Southern California could mean that a Kardinal rose today is much darker red than it was two weeks ago. A good florist can help ensure that you get the shade you are looking for.

For more information about roses visit The site is maintained by the Society of American Florists and it contains a wealth of information.

Jim Gainan is VP/Shareholder of Gainan's Flower and Garden Center in Billings.

Questions or comments? Email Jim Gainan @