Rose Variety Irish Eyes

By David Marks
Although this rose variety dates back to 1999 it is still a classic which stands head and shoulders above most new varieties.

Growing to a height of only 75cm / 2ft 6in it is equally suited to growing in aborder or in containers.

The flowers are a mix of yellow and orange, no two are the same and the colours change as the flower ages. It is one of our favourites.

Quite why this rose is called Irish Eyes is a mystery. Yes, the company hasits roots in Northern Ireland but why the “Eyes”? 

Irish Eyes is an upright Floribunda rose whose distinguishing features are its flowers. No two flowers are the same, they are a mix of orange and yellow, changing as they age. Flowers are produced earlier and for longer than the majority of floribunda roses. Expect a show from mid June lasting well into autumn with individual blooms being small at around 5cm / 2in wide.

The light weight flowers are held very upright on the stems with no signs of drooping.

Being a Floribunda, roses are produced in clusters. Scent is medium strength.


Rose Irish Eyes

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Rose Irish Eyes

It is worthwhile clicking on the picture above to see a larger version of it.Many pictures of rose Irish Eyes don’t really highlight the mixed colour of theblooms.

Leaves start off as a burgundy colour quickly turning to a glossy deep green. This is a strong growing and uprightrose bush which reaches a height of 75cm / 2ft 6in and a similar or slightly larger spread. IrishEyes won the Rose of the Year award in 2000 and also has an Award of GardenMerit (AGM) from the RHS.

HOW TO PRUNE AN IRISH EYES ROSE

Prune an Irish Eyes rose as follows:

  • Remove all stems which show any signs of disease or damage. Cut them back to ground level or back to a main stem.
     
  • Remaining stems should then be pruned back to 30cm / 1 ft from ground level. This will allow you to get a good view of the structure of the rose bush.
     
  • Now prune the rose bush so that it has five or six stems arranged equally apart roughly in a circle from the centre of the plant. These stems should ideally be growing out from the centre of the bush.
     
  • Compromise may be required but the idea is to keep the centre of the rose bush open and have the branches growing outwards. This is to allow air circulation to the centre of the plant and avoid infections.
     
  • When selecting stems, make sure that you remove stems which are touching or nearly touching another stem. Where stems are touching, they will rub off the outer bark and allow infections to enter.
     
  • Green stems are healthier than browner stems so remove the browner stems and leave the green stems.
     
  • When selecting the stems to remain, don’t leave spindly stems. You are looking to have five or six stems which are at least the thickness of a pencil, hopefully thicker.

Floribunda rose before pruning
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Floribunda rose before pruning

Floribunda rose after pruning
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Floribunda rose after pruning

PESTS AND DISEASES

Irish Eyes is a very healthy, disease resistant and quick growing variety of rose. We still suggest however that you follow our instructions on controlling black spot which can be found here.

IRISH EYES CULTIVATION RECORD

PURCHASE
Bought online from Jacksons Nurserieson 24 January 2020 with another rose at a total cost of £29.97 including posting costs (so £14.99 perrose).

It was delivered with the other rose on 30 January 2020, extremely quick delivery time. The rose was supplied in a 4 litre pot as a containerised rose.

See our page on comparing
online rose suppliers here.

Containerised Irish Eyes rose from Jacksons Nurseries
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Containerised Irish Eyes rose from Jacksons Nurseries

CULTIVATION
The rose was planted in our rose bedon 3rd February 2020. We will update you below throughout the life of this rose.

2020

4th April 2020
Sprayed with Roseclear on 4th April 2020. Looks to be establishing well.Surrounding ground covered in cardboard and mulched with very well compostedwood chip. Watered twice after planting because of the unusually dry weather.

1st June 2020
Sprayed with Roseclear.

19th June 2020
First full flower produced.

12th July 2020
First flush of roses finished. Lots of new buds are appearing.

2nd August 2020
The second flush of roses appeared remarkably quickly and  is in full bloom now. The multi-coloured flowers are a sheer delight in their variety of colours, they are also held fully upright on strong stems. No signs of any disease.

21st August 2020
A third flush has appeared, again with the flowers held high on very strong stems. A small amount of black spot on a few of the lower leaves but nothing concerning. A truly delightful small rose with a huge amount flowers in ever changing colours as they age.

Unusual for a floribunda rose, Irish Eyes makes a truly beautiful cut flower which lasts for five or six days with the colours changing as the flowers age. See the picture below, four days after the blooms were cut.


Rose Irish Eyes cut flower

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Rose Irish Eyes – click picture to enlarge

VERDICT 2020

A delightful rose for the small garden. Continually changing flowercolour, and lots of them, combine with very good disease resistance.

2021

We will only comment for 2021 where there is a significantly result.

SUMMARY OF ROSE IRISH EYES

HEIGHT: 75cm (2ft 6in)

SPREAD: 75cm (2ft 6in)

ROSE TYPE: Floribunda, repeat flowers in clusters and singlyover the summer

FLOWER COLOUR: Multi-coloured from deep orange to yellow

FRAGRANCE: Medium

LEAVES: Deep green, glossy

THORNS: Average

UK HARDINESS: -20C

USDA ZONES: 8b to 4b

DISEASE RESISTANCE: Very good.

GROWING CONDITIONS: Full or partial sunlight (four hours ormore sun in summer)

SOIL CONDITIONS: Almost all soil conditions except dry or water-logged soils

CONTAINER GROWING: Well suited to container growing

BREEDER: Patrick Dickson, 1999

AWARDS: Rose of the Year 2000, RHS AGM

MORE IN DEPTH ROSE REVIEWS

Click here for more in depth reviews of our recommended rose varieties.