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Success Or Failure in the Rose Garden

Words Of Wisdom From The Redneck Rosarian

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Roses in Jars

Julia Child & Moondance floribunda

© Chris VanCleave

It Is The End Of Rose Season, How Did You Fare?

Now that the rose gardening season is quickly drawing to a close, I am surveying the results of my own endeavors for the year. I have had some great success and I am sorry to say a big failure. The failure was due to my own overzealous efforts using chemical fertilizers. I applied more than double the recommended amount and very quickly killed six rose shrubs.

Lessons learned:

  • Follow the manufacturer's directions
  • Use more organic sources of fertilizers.
  • Did I mention follow the manufacturer's directions? (ha!)

    I am proud to say however, that the successes were quite rewarding.

    Good Things That Did Happen

    • I have experienced far less disease this year thanks to some preventative care done back in the winter when my roses were dormant. Last January, I stripped all roses of their leaves and sprayed with lime sulphur. Spraying not only the shrub, but also the ground around it. This killed any over wintering mold spores that would have reared their ugly heads in the form of blackspot in spring. I will continue this practice each year.

      The Benefits Of The American Rose Society

      I am now using a great tool available from the American Rose Society. A little booklet called "The American Rose Society Guide to Selecting Roses". It published annually and lists nearly every rose available in commerce today. It also assigns a rating to the rose on a scale of 1-10 and includes other helpful information such as official color and classification. The ratings are compiled from an annual survey of rose society and garden club members around the nation. The survey allows home gardeners to rate their roses on such issues as disease resistance, pest tolerance, bloom power, etc… I now carry this handy guide with me when going to the garden center or ordering online. It enables me to avoid roses with a less than desirable rating. I am only buying roses with a score of 7.5 or greater. This guide is a WIN WIN for gardeners who want a reliable guide for selecting roses. It's a bargain for $5.00 Available online at The American Rose Society website.

      Growing Roses In Raised Beds

      We have also had great success with growing roses in raised beds. A simple box design is all that's needed to elevate your garden 18-24" above the ground. I use simple fence panels to build mine. Mapping out the space and tilling down about 10' or so makes for a good prep site. This allows me to fill the bed with a soil mix that's perfect for roses. Here's my recipe for great soil mix for roses: Apply in equal parts:

      • Top Soil
      • Composted Cow Manure
      • Mini Pine Bark Nuggets
      • Mushroom Compost (if available)

        This results in a very friable soil that roses seem to love. Just mix, add roses and water!

        Make Your Own Rose Jars

        We have been very successful collecting jelly, pickle and spaghetti sauce jars. They come in all shapes and sizes and make perfect vases for sharing your blooms. Try as I may, I can't seem to bring myself to allow roses to fade on the bush. It seems to me that this world, full of hurt and pain needs to see the beauty that can come from our gardens. Roses have such an effect on people. I have never given someone a rose that I didn't see a smile. If you're lucky, you'll get a hug and most always have made a friend….. Life is fleeting. Share your blooms. It my biggest success yet!

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