If someone asked me what my favorite rose is, while I might pause for a brief moment to consider, I undoubtedly would come up with ‘Double Delight.’ Not that I am particularly partial to hybrid teas, but this rose has so much going for it that it remains one of the most popular roses in commerce. Now, why is that? Clearly – color and fragrance. The color of each bloom is different, depending on the weather, the exposure to sun and the age or the bloom. The flower begins as a creamy vanilla white with edges of strawberry red. The intensity and amount of red is continuously changing, so that no two blooms are alike. Now, get close to the flower and inhale – a heady, fruity perfume that is good enough to eat! Add to this combination the pointed urn-shaped buds borne singly on long stems, a strong, bushy plant that in our climate grows 4 – 5 feet tall and about three feet wide and is never out of bloom. ‘Double Delight’ is generally one of the first roses to bloom in the spring with a very short repeat cycle (only about six weeks). If you cut the rose in bud form, it can last as a cut flower for a week or more.
Developed by Swim and Ellis and introduced by Armstrong Nurseries in 1977, it has won just about every prize that can be awarded to a rose. The AARS in 1977, World Federation of Roses in 1985, the James Alexander Gamble award for fragrance in 1986 and more. It is a cross between ‘Granada’ and ‘Garden Party.’
As there are no perfect roses out there, ‘Double Delight’ is prone to powdery mildew in cooler climates and can often have double centers. But these are pretty minor issues considered all this wonderful rose has to offer. I am so hooked on this rose, I now have ten plants, and generally have a least one vase of blooms in the house from April to November. A few blooms can perfume a whole room, and you can be mesmerized by the constantly changing beauty of the bloom.
By Nanette Londeree, Master Rosarian
Edited for the website by N Londeree, October 2021