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Gardening Encyclopedia
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Herb Gardening

GARDENING WITH ROSES by Carole McCray

The rose is considered the queen of garden flowers, Revered from Roman times to the present, the rose is symbolic of love and romance.; Supposedly Nero was to have spent the equivalent of $150,000 to provide one banquet with fresh rose petals.

Roses are excellent cut flowers, and their petals are used in potpourri and perfumes; even their rose hips flavor sweets and syrups. Roses are excellent cut flowers, and their petals are used in potpourri and perfumes; even their rose hips flavor sweets and syrups.

TYPES OF ROSES

Hybrid Teas - This is the rose most people associate with a "rose". It typically has a large flower with many petals and a high center opening from long, pointed buds. Flowers are held on long single stems, making them excellent as a cut flower. Height ranges from 3 to 7 feet, depending on the variety and climate. Well-known varieties include "Mister Lincoln" (red); "Peace" (white); "Sheer Magic" (cream with coral edging); "Welcome Home" ( yellow with peachy pink center).

Floribundas - Floribundas have the same color range as hybrid teas but flowers are usually smaller and arranged in clusters. Height is 2 to 4 feet which makes them useful for hedges and mass plantings. Popular floribundas include "Moondance" (white and the Jackson and Perkin's floribunda pick for '07); "Black Cherry" (another pick for ’07 with deep red blooms); "Cinnamon Twist" (coral orange).

Grandifloras - This group was developed by crossing hybrid teas with floribundas. They are tall growers, sometimes to 10 feet and are good as a background to other roses or shrubs. Blooms are like hybrid teas but the stems are shorter and can be single or in clusters.

Climbers - Climbing roses are ideal on arbors, walls, fences, pergolas or trellises and can grow from 8 to 15 feet tall. Flowers vary from small and arranged in clusters or larger depending on the particular rose. Some pretty climbers are "Blaze of Glory" (coral orange); "High Society" (deep pink); "Scent from Above" ( yellow with a licorice fragrance).

Miniature Roses - Miniatures are dwarf size in height and blooms. They can be massed as a ground cover, used as a border, or grown in containers for a deck, porch or patio. "Hot Tamale" (orange-red); "Sun Sprinkles" (deep yellow); "Children's Play" (white with pink edging) are some of the latest choices

Shrub Roses - Known for their spreading habit and resistance to disease, shrub roses are excellent in mass plantings and some have showy rose hips. You will find in this group "Golden Zest" (apricot yellow); "Cherries and Cream" (maroon with
white highlights).

Old Roses - Much more fragrant than modern roses, old roses are known for excellent vigor and to be disease resistant. The David Austin varieties are popular old roses - "Crown Princess Margareta" (apricot orange); "Christopher Marlowe" (salmon pink); "Fallstaff" (deep crimson to regal purple).

Whether you have hybrid teas, floribundas, grandiflforas, climbers, miniatures, shrub or old roses or plan to add some of them to your garden, the following information will help your roses produce healthy beautiful blooms.

SITE AND SOIL

Roses generally prefer a sunny location, at least 6 hours of full sun each day. Ideally, morning sun is best, so foliage wet from dew or rain dries off quickly.

Roses will tolerate a fairly wide range of soils. A pH of 6.0 to 7.0 is the best. Whether your soil is clay or sandy, work in lots of organic matter, such as mushroom, cow manure or peat moss before planting. A rose fertilizer should be added at the same time. Follow package directions. If you are unsure of your soil's pH, have a soil test done. A soil test package is usually available for sale at garden centers, or your local county extension agency will do a soil test.

PLANTING ROSES

Roses usually are ready for planting as boxes, bare root or potted. A rose bush almost always appears with the bud of fine-flower variety joined to a vigorous root stock. This union looks like a visible bulge. In areas where winters are severe, the bulge must be planted 2 inches above the soil. Read the planting instructions carefully and ask questions at the garden center, nursery or when
you order from a catalog. Mulch around the root area to a depth of 3 inches to conserve moisture.

CARING FOR YOUR ROSES

Some roses such as miniatures, shrubs and climbers require little pruning, only to remove dead or diseased wood. Hybrid tea roses, floribundas and grandifloras do require annual pruning for optimum flower production and to maintain shape.

Rose bushes are fruit trees in disguise and they will attempt to "set fruit." This is where the chore of deadheading comes into play. It simply means removing the old flowers. Once the spent flowers are removed, you interrupt the fruiting cycle and stimulate the plant to fruit again, producing another bloom cycle. Deadhead weekly if not more often. Cut back the stem to just above an outward facing bud above a five or seven-leaflet close to the end of the stem. If the plant is healthy and strong, this rule applies; if not, cut back less.

Pruning roses in our climate zone is done in the spring or early summer. Clean, sharp pruning shears should be used. Cut at a 45 degree angle, about ¼ inch above an outward-facing bud. Prune each cane 4-6 inches above the crown. Remove all dead, crisscrossed, diseased or dying canes. Remove all thin, weak canes that are smaller than a pencil in diameter. If you see suckers coming out of the ground and your roses are on grafted rootstock, dig down to the root and remove them. It is best not to cut the suckers but give them a strong tug.


PEST and DISEASE-FREE CARE

Common insect or disease problems such as Japanese beetles, aphids, black spot, rust, rose canker and powdery mildew may occur. Regular applications of fungicides and insecticides specifically formulated to combat these problems are available. As soon as the season breaks and you remove winter protection, spray the canes with a dormant oil. Oil, pruning and sealing give roses a good pest-free beginning. Sealing with household white glue is done following the cut to an outside eye. For products to maintain healthy roses, check where you purchased your roses.

FERTILIZE AND WATER

To promote healthy and vigorous growth of your roses and plenty of blooms, fertilize your roses every month from spring through the end of August with slow release/organic coated formulations and weekly sprays with a fungicide/insecticide. Never allow soil around roses to dry out. Water deeply once or twice a week with a slow trickling or soaker hose. It is best to water in the early morning.

With these steps to care for your roses, they should yield you healthy and plentiful flowers.

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