By Debbie Clark
One of the most beautiful and prized garden flower is the rose. Many gardeners like to add a few roses to their gardens and others prefer to have a dedicated rose garden. For some gardeners, they shy away from roses feeling that they are too difficult to grow. Roses are not that hard to grow, maintain and bloom in your garden. Here are some tips for growing and designing with roses.
When you start designing a rose garden, do your homework first. Visit local public gardens or look on the internet for ideas of garden size, bed sizes and shapes and decide if you want a formal or informal garden. Design your garden for different heights of roses and add a trellis or arbor to support the roses and to create a focal point in the garden.
Next, select roses by color, size, fragrance, blooming time, length of bloom and type of rose. Roses do require more care than other plants. Decide on how much time you want to spend with your roses to prune, deadhead, fertilize, weed, mulch, spray and water. If you want roses that require less care, look for disease resistant roses that are easier to maintain.
When you start designing your rose garden look for a spot where your roses will receive 5 to 6 hours of direct sun, preferably morning. Soil should be well draining with a pH of 6.0 to 6.5. Soil preparation is important for roses. Before you start planting, go to your local County Extension Office and pick up a soil test box and take a soil sample. The lab will send you a report on your soil and from there you can amend your soil with compost, manure or other amendments to get your roses off to a good start.
When you purchase roses, you can buy bare root or container grown. Bare root plants are available earlier in the season. When you purchase bare root roses, soak them for 8 to 12 hours in a bucket of water before planting and protect your newly planted roses from sudden spring temperature changes. Container grown plants can go directly into the garden. Plant the rose’s bud union to the proper depth based on your zone and the instructions on the package. Space your rose bushes apart to allow for good air flow and to prevent disease problems. After you plant your roses, water them deeply keeping water off the leaves. Water on leaves from the garden hose or irrigation systems can cause black spot on your roses. Roses like water and a drip irrigation system is best. After you plant, add 2 to 3 inch of mulch. Water regularly and fertilize using slow-release or organic fertilizer to keep your roses blooming.
During the growing season, watch for insect problems like Japanese beetles or aphids and for disease problems like black spot. The internet is a good source for learning about insect and disease issues of roses. Now go grow yourself a rose garden!
Bridge volunteer and rosarian Alice Garrard is moving roses and preparing the soil for new roses at the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge. Soil preparation is always important for roses. Add a trellis or arbor to your garden design to support roses and to provide a beautiful focal point to your garden.