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     Every rosarian who has the rose hobby at heart strives to improve his or her rose culture tactics. Their goal is to produce blue-ribbon specimens that appear on the head table of rose shows. This treatise is primarily directed toward the novice, but the veteran can also gain some good from it, even if it means just a review of established practices.

     First and foremost, the person who is involved in this hobby must establish an attitude that reflects a sincere desire to grow the best roses possible. His or her heart must be 100% in the hobby. Once this is adopted, successful growing is not far behind.

     The home of the rose is most important. Select a spot that provides good drainage and ample sunlight - at least 6 hours per day. Donít plant the bushes near trees that will have encroaching roots. This will prevent the trees from stealing the nutrients that are destined for the roses. Be sure the planting hole provides ample space for the root system. -- usually twice the size of the root ball. Allow ample growing space for the bushes.

     Select lively plants that are Grade 1 and are well hydrated. If being received from distant shipping points, be sure the roots are not dehydrated when arrival time is come. It is difficult to revive a new plant that is dry to the extreme. Above all, avoid paraffin-coated specimens.

     Plant the new bushes in a good planting mix. The mix should be 1/3 fertile top soil, 1/3 organic material (manures, composted vegetation, shredded leaves, mushroom compost) to name only a few examples, and 1/3 brown creek sand (not the type found on golf courses.)

     Once the bud eyes begin to break from the canes and foliage appears, it is time to begin the feeding program. Roses are heavy feeders. They require continuous nourishment if they are to maintain peak performance. Providing chemical fertilizers, coupled with organic materials, is the perfect diet for roses. Mills Magic Rose Mix (organic), and Mills EasyFeed (inorganic) are excellent examples of this type feeding. Organics should be applied at least quarterly and inorganic bi-weekly.


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