Growing Gorgeous Roses

Friday, May 6th, 2016 by Jenny Watts
    • Mother’s Day is the perfect time to give a gift of a living plant. Roses, hydrangeas, colorful hanging baskets and beautiful house plants are sure to please her.
    • Flower seeds can be sown directly in the garden now. Cosmos, marigolds and zinnias will give you beautiful flowers all summer.
    • Gladiolus make wonderful cut flowers throughout the summer. Plant some every two weeks for continuous blooms.
    • Plant the vegetable garden this month, but remember that late frosts can still nip tender young plants.
    • Beautiful African Violets will decorate your indoor spaces with their masses of flowers in all shades of purple, blue and pink.

Growing Gorgeous Roses

Roses attract us for many reasons: for their color, their fragrance, the beauty of each flower and their stunning display in the landscape. They are probably the most loved flower the world over, both in the garden and for flower arranging.

Roses can be grown by almost anyone. The key to success depends primarily on finding a good site in which to grow them. Look for a spot that receives plenty of sunshine, is sheltered from prevailing winds, has good air circulation and water drainage, and enough space for the varieties you want to plant.

Most roses need at least six hours of sunshine per day during the flowering season to bloom to their full potential. If sunlight is scarce in your planting area, try a white painted surface as a backdrop for your plants. Reflected light can help turn a less-than-sunny site into a bright spot for roses.

Strong winds can be hard on roses. Roses are thirsty plants, needing large quantities of water to fill their abundant blossoms. They may suffer from dehydration if exposed to constant wind. If you live where there are strong summer winds, choose a site with some protection for your roses.

Good air circulation, however, is very beneficial to roses. Air movement through the plants keeps the canes and foliage dry, which cuts down on disease problems. A slope is ideal, allowing for good air flow, maximum sunlight and good water drainage.

Soil that drains well is very important for roses. If you have only heavy soil, add generous amounts of compost when you plant. To test how well your soil drains, dig a large hole, fill it with water and see how long it takes to drain. If it takes more than two hours to drain away, consider building raised beds.

Each type of rose has different space requirements and individual growing habits. Some roses spread more than others, and relying on severe pruning to keep a rose in bounds, is no substitute for giving it the space it deserves.

Roses need a lot of sunshine, moisture and nutrition to produce all those big, beautiful flowers. They don’t do well with competition from trees, large bushes or other heavy feeders. So give them plenty of room to perform their best.

Plant roses where they can be enjoyed the most along walkways, near entryways or next to a deck or patio. Consider the views from inside the house and plant roses where they can be enjoyed from there as well. A fragrant rose near an open window will perfume the whole room.

Roses are beginning their first flowering now, so it is a good time to look for the ones you like best. Turn your garden into a place of charm and beauty, by planting a bed of colorful and fragrant roses.

Elegant New Roses

Sunday, March 15th, 2015 by Jenny Watts
    • Plant potatoes! St. Patrick’s Day is a traditional day to plant potatoes, so the season is upon us now.
    • Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce and other cool season crops should be planted this month for delicious spring harvests.
    • Apple trees are still available as bare-root trees, but only for a short while longer. Start your orchard now!
    • Last chance for asparagus roots this year. Prepare a fertile bed for these long-lived vegetables.
    • Thin raspberry canes to 4-6 inches apart. Cut back remaining canes to 3 feet tall.

Elegant New Roses

Oh My! Wait till you see the new roses. Yes, one of the new roses this year is named ‘Oh My!’™ and it’s a beauty. This velvety red Floribunda is loaded with clusters of 3 to 4-inch ruffled flowers that look gorgeous against the glossy dark red-green leaves, which have very good disease resistance. Plant it as a flowering hedge or as a single handsome shrub and enjoy its rich red flowers in the vase.

If you think roses are too much work, try the new rose ‘Take It Easy’™. You won’t have much work to do in the garden with its wonderful disease resistance. This classic red shrub rose has elegant pointed buds that open into 3½-4 inch velvety dark red blooms with lighter pink reverse. The plant’s excellent vigor and the naturally self-maintained habit are other reasons to enjoy this beautiful rose.

The warm colors of ‘Sedona’ are reminiscent of the craggy red bluffs and high desert sunsets of the Southwest. The pointed, sculptured buds spiral open to reveal layers of reds, corals, and orange tones in the stunning 5-inch blossoms. Add a strong, fruity fragrance and you have a tower of jewels on these tall Hybrid Tea bushes. The large, full flowers on straight, sturdy stems are excellent for cutting.

For a more subtle beauty in a new rose look to ‘Crescendo’™. The elegant, creamy white, pointed buds open to reveal enormous, 5-inch blooms are that are white, blushing to light pink at the edges. The strong spicy fragrance of this shapely Hybrid Tea rose, with superb disease resistance and an attractive, medium-tall form, provides a perfect ensemble of beauty, elegance, and outstanding garden performance.

‘Above All’™ is a new hybrid with large clusters of salmon-orange blooms that cover the branches of this tall climber. The old fashioned style flowers, 3-4 inches in diameter, are produced in large clusters. With a nice fruity fragrance, good disease resistance, and continuous blooming from spring to fall, it will brighten up a fence all summer long.

If fragrance means the most to you in a rose, add ‘Perfume Delight’ to your rose garden. This bright pink Hybrid Tea rose has large, full flowers with a strong, damask fragrance. Introduced in 1974, it is still a beautiful rose with excellent form and good disease resistance. Established plants will produce blooms up to 6 inches across. Try that on your table!

‘Midnight Blue’™ brings us a dark, velvety purple rose with a spicy clove fragrance. The 2½-3½ inch blooms come in big clusters on this shrub rose that is grown on its own roots. The compact rounded plant will lend itself to smaller spaces and enrich any landscape.

It’s time to add a new rose to your garden and enjoy their classic beauty.

Rose Care During Drought

Saturday, February 8th, 2014 by Jenny Watts
    • Apples and pears are the easiest fruits to grow in our area. Choose early, mid-season and late varieties for a continuous harvest from late summer into winter.
    • Fill your winter garden with color from primroses and pansies.
    • Stop peach leaf curl by spraying now with copper spray to help prevent this disfiguring disease from attacking your trees this spring.
    • Start an asparagus bed so you can enjoy their young, tender shoots straight from the garden.
    • Plant strawberry plants now for delicious strawberry shortcake this summer.

TLC for Roses during Drought

Roses are a valuable asset to your permanent landscaping. They should be given high priority when planning water allotments for the drought season. But roses will adjust to prolonged water shortage better than many flowering plants.

Because roses are so resilient, caring for them during drought is not difficult. There will be less growth, fewer and smaller blooms, and fewer and shorter blooming periods. But despite these disappointments, your roses will survive. Follow these tips keep your roses healthy during this challenging time.

To decrease the stress on your roses you must help them make the most of the available water. Infrequent, deep watering is the key. Deep watering ensures that moisture will penetrate down into the root zone where mycorrhizal fungi and root hairs maximize the surface area of the roots and provide the most efficient use of the water.

Drip irrigation, soaker hoses or other slow delivery systems conserve more water than sprinkling. Build some sort of edging around the rose bed to keep the water in the root area and prevent runoff.

When you water your roses, mark it on your calendar. Then wait and watch. When the roses start to droop, note the date, count back the number of days to when you last watered, subtract one day and that is how often you need to water. Repeat this occasionally and you will likely see you will need to water less and less as the roots push deeper into the earth. In other words let your roses tell you when they’re thirsty.

To retain the moisture and moderate soil temperatures, mulch heavily with 3 to 4 inches of shredded mulch. This will stretch the time between waterings and reduce the number of weeds competing for available water.

If summer temperatures are high, cover the plants with shade cloth to further reduce transpiration.

Prune lightly to avoid stimulating vigorous new growth. Remove only dead, diseased or damaged wood and shape lightly, but leave as much material as possible. The root system and the top stay in balance with each other. You want to maintain a robust root system that can reach out to find water in the soil.

Do not cut blooms from the rose bush as they start to fade. Allow them to form seed heads which will help postpone the new growth that normally follows each blooming period. But once the seed heads have formed, remove them because they will use water to mature.

Do very little fertilizing. Use a mild fertilizer in the spring, giving them just enough to keep them healthy without stimulating growth.

New roses need to be kept moist during their first summer to encourage a strong root system. Two gallons of water per week should be sufficient. Feed them lightly and mulch.

With a little extra TLC, your roses will survive the drought to enhance your garden for years to come.