Monday, March 5, 2012

Roses for my Grandmother

Every place I've lived at, I have grown roses. Some more successfully than others. Because I live in the country and my gardens are subject to more wind than living in town, it can be a challenge to grow beautiful roses. Some of my favorite roses are "Therese Bugnet", "Flora Bunda" and "Adeline Hoodless". At the farm where my husband and I lived for almost 20 years, the only side of the house I could grow roses was the west side. On the East side, for some reason, the top would die above the graft and then the wild rose plant would take over. I always like to try to pick up those rose bushes at the grocery store or hardware store that are bare root...the ones in the boxes or smaller plastic pots. You just never know what treasures you are going to find there! A couple of years ago, in the Windmill brand, I found a climbing rose called "Golden Showers" . Could I grow a climbing rose? I had to try. I planted it on the south side of my house. It grew and produced beautiful flowers that almost looked like a tea rose. It didn't climb much but the flowers were just beautiful. The next season the rose wood was dead and I just left it in case, then forgot about it. After all my perennials were happily on their way, the darn thing started growing from the bottom. I was tickled pink of course! It seems to be the pattern of this particular rose. It doesn't climb a whole lot but it grows back every year and I love it! My experience with roses is that if you get them started and established they will grow for years. It's the starting thing that complicates matters. If you're looking for varieties other than those already mentioned, the Explorer and Parkland varieties have been bred for Canadian Winters and climate. Follow the directions on the package for planting. When I dig my hole for my new rose bush, I always fill it with water and let it seep until empty, then plant my new rose. After planting and filling in with dirt around the roots, the soil is gently packed in by stepping carefully around the plant and once again the new rose is watered in well. I wait a month and then fertilize once with an organic rose fertilizer. I have used watered down fish liquid fertilizer and those roses really loved that! If the roses are fertilized too late in the season, you set your roses up for winter kill because fertilizer promotes new growth and if fertilized too late, the plant doesn't have time to harden off for the winter and thus you lose your rose bush. I like to mulch my roses and to water once a week when hot. I generally don't fertilize after the first of July. Pruning for me, is just pruning the dead wood and depending on the year, that can be a lot. Then I burn the deadwood so as not to spread disease in my garden. Although Tea Roses are gorgeous, I never grow them because they don't survive the winter and I'd rather put my energy into plants that overwinter. I'm trying to cut down on this "work thing".

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