Rosa ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

Family: Rosaceae

Rosa ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ (Dictwix) is an award-winning rose that was launched in 2021.  This superb new rose was bred by Colin Dickson, from Dickson Roses, in Newtownards, Northern Ireland.

Roses UK unveiled ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ as the winner of the prestigious Rose of the Year 2022 Competition in celebrations at Stockton Bury Gardens, in Herefordshire.

Here’s my ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ rose. The flowers begin life as deep coral-coloured flower buds; the buds open to reveal dark peach-coloured flowers with golden highlights. The flowers soon age to a lovely soft apricot-colour, before aging to a gentle parchment or cream colour.

‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is a floribunda rose.  These fascinating roses produce colour-changing flowers that begin their lives as coral coloured flower buds and open up to reveal flowers that soften from a punchy tone of coral through to dark peach and pastel infused apricot; the blooms becoming ever paler until the flowers are the gentlest of parchment and creams in colour.  At every stage, the flowers are warm-toned colours, similar to those you’d be treated to during a particularly fine sunset.

Rosa ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ will grow up to around 1m (3.3ft) tall; forming a bushy, upright plant with dark green coloured foliage.

If you’d like to grow this interesting new rose, choose a sunny or partially shaded area.  ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ roses are naturally healthy and robust; they’ll grow happily in almost any moist but well-drained soil.  Avoid planting this rose in areas that tend to become waterlogged after it rains, and unless you want to saddle yourself with a lot of extra watering during spring droughts and in the summer months, steer clear of areas with exceptionally dry soils.

These ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ rose blooms have surprised me by how well they’ve held up to the weather. The stems haven’t bowed down too much under the weight of their water-laden flowers.

This is a repeat-flowering rose that will bloom in cycles from early summer until late autumn.  For maximum flower production, be prompt and proactive in dead-heading ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ flowers as they fade.  Mulch around your plants with good quality peat-free compost after planting and always remember to apply a new layer of mulch in March and again in autumn.

In experiments in my garden, I’ve discovered that ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ roses combine beautifully with lilac, purple, and blue flowers.

The first ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ roses are now available for purchase as bare root plants; these roses will be delivered in the dormant season (from October to February).  Container grown plants will also be available in the spring.  I’m a huge fan of bare root plants, this is a more environmentally friendly and cost effective method of buying plants.  I find that roses that I have planted bare root tend to form stronger plants than container grown plants.  Go for bare root roses, if you can!  Don’t forget you can order roses at any time of year, ready to be delivered in the autumn, and remember to use mycorrhizal fungi at planting time.

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