I’m taking time out of this busy summer day today to stop and smell the roses. Not in the figurative sense, although life does move really quick and it is always good to take a step back and breathe, but rather the literal sense. I’m working in my rose garden today.
I enjoy gardening and I have come to appreciate it more as I grow older. Maybe it’s because I’m fortunate enough to live in the middle of our family’s 500 acre fruit and vegetable garden (a.k.a. Russo’s Fruit and Vegetable Farm).
Roses are my one of my favorite flowers. They come in an array of beautiful colors that are sure to liven up your yard. Oh, and how can I forget their fragrance? They smell delightful! Roses have gotten a bad rap in the past because they used to require a lot more care. Thankfully, there are several newer varieties that are disease resistant (like Hasslefree® roses) and easy to care for.
Now, don’t be intimidated. Roses are not as hard to care for as everyone thinks.
Here are some tips and techniques to make your rose gardening adventure a success.
- First things first. Roses come in many different varieties. They include Floribunda, Grandiflora, Hybrid Tea Rose, Miniature Rose, Climbing Rose, Miniature Rose, English Rose, Shrub Rose. Some roses require less care, like a shrub rose, and are a great option for the beginner gardener. Check with your local garden center for suggestions. You can also refer to the Better Homes & Gardens website. The have a plant “dictionary” for you to reference. Here’s the link: www.bhg.com/gardening/plant-dictionary/rose.
- Roses need AT LEAST 6 hours of sunlight each day to thrive. These sun-loving plants thrive in a warm environment.
- It’s best to water roses at their base. Wetting the leaves will make them prone to disease. Watering the flowers will cause the flower to turn brown and die off quicker. Water them in the morning, that way if the leaves do get wet they will have plenty of time to dry. You can also water them with a soaker hose so you can avoid any chance of getting the leaves wet.
- Feed your roses every two weeks with a water-soluble rose food. I always recommend Miracle-Gro Rose Food to our customers because it’s a great product that is easy to use and I have a lot of success with.
- I prune my roses regularly – at least once a week. Get yourself a good pair of pruners. Pruning the dead flowers off your rose bush will help to produce more flowers quickly. Snip off the dead flowers just below the dead bloom. Try to leave the leaves intact. The leaves are were the plant gets it nourishment and energy. Leaving them intact will allow the plant to re-bloom faster. Be careful not to clip off the new growth. See the red leaves in the picture below. That is new growth on the rose bush. That’s a good thing!
- To winterize your roses, stop fertilizing and pruning the dead flowers in the early fall. This will help slow their growth. Once temperatures get cold enough, especially if you live in a colder climate, wrap bushes with burlap to protect them from the harsh winter.
- Roses are commonly attacked by a number of fungal diseases, including black spot, powdery mildew, and rust. The best way to keep your roses disease-free is to keep them strong.Make sure they have good growing conditions and water adequately and fertilize every few weeks. Remove dead foliage from the plant and your rose garden, too — it can spread disease.
It doesn’t have to be a chore to take care of your roses. There are a number of great online resources to help you. The American Rose Society website (www.ars.org) is a great resource for anything to do with rose care. As I mentioned above, I also refer to the Better Homes and Gardens website for guidance as well. Both provide video demonstrations and have experts to answer your rose gardening questions.
Do you have a favorite rose is your garden? Mine is a deep red hybrid tea rose called Traviata™. What’s yours? By following the simple steps about, everything will be coming up roses for your garden too! Happy gardening.
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