Growing Roses
Climber Light Konigin Rose in Arbor - Photo by Irene Roth


Rose Growing the Easy Way

        Roses are probably the most misunderstood and undervalued plants in the modern landscape. Most people seem to believe that all garden roses are troublesome, frail plants that need to be pampered and fussed over with weekly sprays and frequent fertilizing. While this can be true for the devoted, exhibitor, it simply does not have to be the case for the average gardener like myself who likes to look at pretty flowers. I grow over 400 roses of all types in my garden with an absolute minimum of fuss. Most of the time is actually spent cutting roses for friends, family and people just walking through the garden.

        If you are new to roses, it would be a good idea to become vaguely familiar with the many different types:

        Hybrid Teas: This is the flower that everyone pictures when we think about what a rose should look like. The classic spiral centre and individual long stem make this the most popular of the rose classes. The modern hybrid tea can be an excellent garden plant, as breeders are concentrating on improving disease resistance and overall garden performance. Many people believe that fragrance has been bred out of the modern rose, but there are many excellent tea roses with strong perfumes and more being introduced each year. Rose breeders realize that people still want fragrance in their gardens. Hybrid Teas are great for the formal garden, but should not be limited to this use. If you don't want be bothered with fussing about roses, be sure to seek the advice of an experienced rose grower who can advise you on the healthy and hardy varieties for your climate.

        Climbing Roses: The modern climber is usually a repeat bloomer and grows around 10 to 12 feet tall or wide. There are so many different types available that it's hard to describe them in one paragraph. Let me just say that they are the anchor plants of my garden and definitley the favorite plants of visitors.

        Floribundas: Commonly called cluster flowered roses. These come in many shapes and colours. Like the Hybrid Teas, many varieties have excellent perfume, combined with unmatched flower power. Bloom shape can be ruffled and informal or high centred like the HTs. Floribundas are generally considered to be excellent landscape plants, providing bloom from June to Hard Frost. Most varieties grow from 2 to 4 feet tall, but there are a few large ones in this class, ( the Americans call the big ones Grandifloras). Several modern varieties are capable of having over 50 blooms at the same time, with only a short rest in between the repeat cycle. If you're looking for roses that are well mannered and provide armloads of cut flowers, try planting a few floribundas.

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