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
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.