I used to not really care for roses. They looked nice in other people's gardens, but they didn't have that wow factor for me. You know - when you see something in another garden or at the nursery and think to yourself (or even out loud), "I gotta have me some of that!"
Then I saw 'Hot Cocoa™.' And 'Chihuly®.' And I knew I couldn't leave the nursery without them. I wasn't even sure where I was going to put them, I just knew I had to have them for my very own. They didn't disappoint me either. All summer last year, they gave me the most gorgeous blooms, one after another.
I had three roses already in the flower beds where I put them, but they'd never really amounted to a whole lot. I suppose they did, considering what they looked like when I first bought them from Direct Gardening (mistake - live and learn) several years ago. I think I paid something like a dollar apiece for 'Senior Prom,' 'Pompeii,' and 'Sutter's Gold.' Can't beat the price, but they were so small when they got here, I wondered if they were indeed roses. I couldn't hardly tell. And they've never really done all that well, with the exception of 'Senior Prom.' So I moved them to the new garden we had dug the year before and 'Hot Cocoa™' and 'Chihuly' took their places.
Shortly after buying these, I noticed 'Diana, Princess of Wales™' in the Jackson & Perkins catalog. Oooooooh, pretty. Really pretty. Being disappointed by ordering roses through the mail previously, I wanted to find this one locally, and I finally found it at Stuckey's Greenhouse in Fort Wayne. I brought it home, planted it somewhat near 'Hot Cocoa' and 'Chihuly,' and now I was officially a rose lover. I never would have thought...
Later last summer, I went on a local garden tour in Van Wert, and the last stop on the tour was a garden that had oodles of roses. Most of them didn't impress me all that much, but 'Disneyland' just reached right in and grabbed my heart. I filed away the name for future reference and this year, when Jackson & Perkins had a special on some English Roses, I succumbed and bought a group of six for $45 and added 'Disneyland' to my order. Our new deck project presented me with a great location for most of these.
Last year, when Beining's Nursery opened for the season, they gave away free shrub roses to each early shopper. Mom and I went over to see what new things they had in stock, and of course, to get our free roses. We're always on the lookout for cheap or free plants. We came home with, among other things, free 'Nearly Wild' rose bushes that they'd had left from last year. They had a serious case of powdery mildew, but this was gotten under control quite easily by pruning back hard. Starting out early in the season was an advantage in eliminating this problem. Mom decided she didn't want hers, so I ended up with two of them.
I'm not sure how this happened, but after one of our weekly trips to Walmart, we were unloading the van and oh! Look there! A rose! 'Double Delight' had hitched a ride home with us.
At some point last year, I also bought 'About Face™' from Park's and it came with a free 'Memorial Day.' Hmmmm.....for someone who didn't really care for roses, I sure had a bunch of them, and I was loving them all.
Roses come with their own special set of issues, and that's why every time I bought one, Romie would say, "I don't like roses. They're too much trouble." Their reputation always precedes them and our expectations are high. Perfect foliage, breathtaking flowers, intoxicating scents. Powdery mildew, black spot, Japanese Beetles. Not a whole lot you can do about the Japanese Beetles, but following a couple of good rose practices helps eliminate the other two.
- Don't water at night and don't get water on the foliage. If they sit with water on them through the cooler nights, this gives fungus and other diseases a chance to take hold. My mom has a drip system installed in the ground in her rose garden for watering. Roses do like their water and it's best to water at the base early in the day.
- Powdery mildew looks just like that - a whitish powder on the leaves. If it gets started on any of my roses, I cut them back to healthy foliage and treat with an Ortho product. Where the roses are planted is sometimes the reason they have this. Good air circulation helps prevent powdery mildew from getting started.
I have not had a big problem with Japanese Beetles, and never had any until last year. It seemed they preferred the yellow roses over any of the others. Each morning during late summer, I would check my roses for them and if I found any, I would pick them off, bring them into the house and run them down the garbage disposal. Using traps just attracts more, and if you kill them in the garden, the scent that's produced will also attract them. Some people just throw them in a container of soapy water, which kills them, but I find it easier to do it my way.
I learned how to properly plant roses last summer, too. Of course, I had done it wrongly years before, with those first roses. Since I'd moved those, I could plant them correctly, so maybe they'll improve over time now. In our zone, we need to plant the bud union or 'knot' about two to three inches below the surface. This helps protect it from our harsh winters. They love organic material, so I added a humus and manure mixture (purchased by the bag quite cheaply at Walmart) to the soil in the hole and mixed well, along with a small amount of Schultz Rose and Plant Food. I watered them in well before totally filling the hole and watered again once planting was completed. Then I put a couple inches of shredded bark mulch around the base.
Roses need at least six hours of direct sunlight per day, so mine are on the unshaded east side of the house or out in the open sun. I'll feed them monthly through August, when I'll stop fertilizing for the year, and I won't prune them much after that, either. I learned that we have about 18 inches of winter die-back, so there needs to be at least that much left standing by the time winter gets here.
Last week, I decided to dig out my 'China Town' tulips. I've had them for two springs now and each year, I have been disappointed in how they look. They took up a fair amount of space behind three miniature roses that I've had forever, so I needed to find something that would take their place. How about a large rose?
Topsy Turvy™ is a Floribunda, and a cross of Betty Boop and Countess Celeste. If you remember, Betty Boop was on my list of roses that I wanted back in January. That must be why this one caught my eye. It's scarlet red with a creamy white reverse, and the petals open up in a swirly fashion. The identification tag says it's a 'little bouquet machine' and it already looks like it.
I got home, dug out the tulips, and prepared the hole for planting my new acquisition. As I kept walking back and forth from the planting site and the garage, I kept getting a whiff of a familiar scent. I identified it as Eternity by Calvin Klein. I do wear this on occasion, and I thought maybe I'd worn my shirt before and had also worn Eternity while wearing the shirt. I even sniffed the front of my shirt to possibly confirm this. No, that wasn't it. I finally realized it was Topsy Turvy™! Now that was just all the better. It's one of my favorite scents and now it was going in my garden!
So there you have it. I am now a rose person. I couldn't help it, it just happened.
- Senior Prom
- Sutter's Gold
- Hot Cocoa™
- Diana, Princess of Wales™
- About Face™
- Memorial Day
- Nearly Wild
- Double Delight
- Crown Princess Margareta
- Glamis Castle
- Golden Celebration
- Jubilee Celebration
- Abraham Darby®
- Topsy Turvy™