You Live & Learn

You Live & Learn
(A few things I learned from the 2011 rose growing season)

   1. Location. Location. Location.  What may be bright sun in the spring
      could be cool shade once the trees leaf out! Be sure to plant roses
      in a location that receives at least 5 hours of sunlight per day.
      Anything less will hurt your feelings.  Trust me.

   2. Hydration. Hydration. Hydration.  Roses love water; they just don’t
      like to swim in it! At least one inch of water per week administered
      at the base of the plant will keep them blooming. Good drainage is
      the key. Roses hate wet feet!

   3. Chemical fertilizers are not the only way to grow. I began to use
      mainly organic fertilizers this year. Composted cow manure has worked
      wonders in our garden. We use Haven Brand Soil Conditioner. I started
      on my miniature roses and had such success; I now use it all
      throughout my garden.  Not to say that I will never indulge in a
      chemical based fertilizer again, but suffice it to say that the
      organics are fast winning me over.

   4. Don’t be afraid to let your roses GROW! –  In my garden, most (not
      all) roses needs about 3 years to really take off.  You want to
      establish a good root system. It is from this system that many years
      of blooms will be produced. Many people have the notion that you have
      to prune and primp and shape repeat blooming roses after every flush
      of bloom. Not true. Deadhead the blooms if you like, but don’t prune
      after each flush – let it grow! You’ll end up with more blooms and a
      stronger plant.

   5. Cleanliness is next to Godliness. At least that’s what my mama taught
      me. She told me that during the dark ages people discovered if they
      kept clean, they could avoid all manner of diseases. I have found it
      to be true in the garden as well. I have far less disease in the
      garden by removing diseased leaves and debris from my garden beds and
      applying a good covering of mulch, as this will keep down weeds and
      allow for the aforementioned hydration to work best at the roots.

   6. Variety truly is the Spice of life! – I made a concerted effort this
      year to plant different varieties in my garden. It is interesting to
      me to see how the hybrid tea blooms vs. a floribunda and how the
      English rose blooms vs. their old garden ancestors. By planting
      different varieties, I now have color, fragrance, interest and blooms from
      late March to November. To those who visit my garden, I have found
      that having different varieties opens up opportunities to educate
      them on rose care and nudge them toward a rose purchase themselves.
      I am a firm believer that everyone should have at least one rose
      growing on their property.

About Chris VanCleave - America's Favorite Rose Gardener

Christopher R. VanCleave – America’s Favorite Rose Gardener Nicknamed "The Redneck Rosarian”, Chris VanCleave is passionate about gardening and growing roses. He is an active member of the Birmingham chapter of the American Rose Society, serving two terms as President. In 2007, he created the Rose Chat Podcast which has reached over a half a million listeners with news and information on growing on growing the world’s most beloved flower, the rose. He was a contributor to the 2015 Southern Living Gardening Book, has appeared on P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home television show and was featured in the June 2015 issue of Southern Living Magazine. Locally, Chris serves as Chairman of the Helena Alabama Beautification Board where he has spearheaded efforts to create a sustainable landscape in one of the top one hundred places to live in the United States. His writing is seen at and on his popular website;, where he chronicles his gardening adventures and explores an intrinsic mix of life, faith and gardening. An agent of change with over 20 years’ experience in process innovation, Mr. VanCleave is leading the charge to reinvigorate horticultural societies and helping them to reach their full potential in the social media age.
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9 Responses to You Live & Learn

  1. Beautiful roses Chris I am honored to be growing in the garden with you. Happy New Year 2012! I am excited to be growing with you again this coming year!


  2. Holleygarden says:

    Great lessons! Your last sentence is the best – everyone should have at least one rose!


  3. Susan Hemann says:

    I have learned so much from you this past year Chris. I am beginning to loose my fear of roses.
    I just never felt confident about growing them. Thank you for all your help.


  4. Christina says:

    Great post, Chris! I am very happy to read that you are using organic fertilizers now and that they work well for you. In my garden I also planted a wide variety of roses from different rose classes and I think it makes rose growing just more interesting and fun. Couldn’t agree more with you on the last sentence. It would be so nice if everyone would grow at least one rose bush in their gardens :-)!


  5. Dear Chris, Excellent advice from you as always. You inspire me to keep trying, although I find rose growing rather difficult here. But I wouldn’t have a true English garden without them. Thanks for your support. Pamela


  6. Greggo says:

    I now have two roses in my garden. Looks like your prodding is working!


  7. Lara says:

    Great post! My roses were spoiled on the Haven compost tea, too! That stuff is wonderful!


  8. Pingback: You Live & Learn | The Redneck Rosarian | Garden Roses |

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