I stumbled across Earth-Kind® Roses the other day, and they are perfect for Earth Day. Based on extensive research, the Texas AgriLife Extension Service awards the Earth-Kind designation to roses that demonstrate superior tolerance to pests, along with excellent landscape performance. The roses also perform well in a variety of soil types and have excellent tolerance to heat and drought. So, here are a few to consider:
This polyantha rose has been around since 1881, and yes, it's still a winner. The light pink blooms are fragrant, and they flower from spring until frost. The shrub has a nice size of about four feet high and three feet wide, with an upright, bushy form. It also tolerates some shade and has average water needs during the growing season. Zones 5-9.
This rose was hybridized in France by Joseph Pernet-Ducher ... a cross between Mignonette and the tea rose Madame de Tartas. It was named after the daughter of Swiss rosarian Ulrich Brunner.
This medium-sized shrub was introduced in China some time before 1894. An old garden rose, it has single blooms that emerge yellow, then change to pink and finally crimson. It's also known as "The Butterfly Rose" because its flowers sometimes resemble butterflies. It has great heat tolerance, and a rounded form, about six feet high and wide. It blooms in summer and fall and is hardy in Zones 6-9.
A rambling rose that can also be used as a short climber, 'Sea Foam' was hybridized in 1964 by breeder E.W. Schwartz and introduced by Conrad Pyle of Star Roses in 1963. If you visit Washington DC, you may see it in the White House Rose Garden. It grows to a height of eight feet, has creamy white flowers, and blooms in spring, summer and fall. Its parents are 'White Dawn' x 'Pinocchio'. Hardy in zones 4-9.
You'll recognize many other roses on the Earth-Kind website -- The Fairy, Carefree Beauty, Knockout and New Dawn, among others. You can see all of the roses here.
photos: Earth-Kind Roses