Now, listen: I could get all geeky on you about roses, but I’m going to try and refrain myself and type in layman’s terms.
There are thousands of roses, and you can find them in the form of shrubs, climbing, rambling, or even as trees. Varying in shapes, sizes, petal counts, fragrance, colors, and more, one might ask, “how doth I pick just one variety to love?” (and please tell me you read that in my Shakespeare-esque voice…) The answer? You can love as many as you want – I know I sure do!
I first fell in love with roses a few years ago, when I visited the Raleigh Rose Garden, located just a hop, step, and a few bricks from my alma mater, NC State University. Nesettled behind the Raleigh Little Theater, the Raleigh Rose Garden is incredibly picturesque, and draws you in among rows and rows of stunningly maintained roses. Not to mention, the surrounding grounds are also abundant with other native and pollinator plants, remarkably beautiful trees, a fountain, a gorgeous stone arch walkway, and the softest grass you’ll ever lay your feet on.
I have become quite the rose photographer hobbyist, so I love to pop by during the blooming season at the Rose Garden (usually Spring – Fall), and get lost trying to capture the beauty that is my petaled surroundings. I’ve even dropped a few photos on this blog post for you to revel in, because, well, why not?!
As a micro-cut flower gardener myself, I stood there among all the blooms one day and thought, “well, can I grow my own roses?” And, sure enough, I manifested it. We had previously planted four knockout roses, and, no offense to knockout roses, but I find these are very appropriate for landscaping, just not so much as cut flowers. I’ve done extensive research about roses, but decided to start with roses from just one source. Specifically, we started with four from David Austin, and now, we have TEN! I order them in pairs, so we have a pair each of: Boscobel, Desdemona, Tranquility, Charles Darwin, and Lady of Shalott. This is growing year number two for Boscobel and Desdemona, which we planted as bare root roses, and they are simply stunning. We only just recently planted the other three varieties, as potted plants, so here’s to hoping they do just as well as the others have!
Like I just mentioned, roses can be planted as bare roots, as a potted plant, or you can even grow them via cuttings from other rose plants or from seed. Whether they need full sun, part shade, what their estimated growing size is, etc., it’s best to research first, based on your agricultural growing zone, and then, what conditions your roses would be grown in. Roses can be very hardy, but it’s always best to get them planted into their most ideal growing environment so that they hopefully flourish for years to come!
Now, it does feel like I am about to tell you about quite the sin…but, trust me, it’s okay! Deep breaths, and…pruning roses, can feel, well, harsh! But, if you’ve got some blooms that have gone through their blooming cycle, and are still on the plant, there is simply no sense in letting them remain there. It’s just energy being expended by the plant onto those no-petaled stems, that could be utilized to produce more blooms! Some people “deadhead” expended blooms (AKA, grab the de-petaled, remaining bud and rip it off), but I much prefer to use my shears and cut down the stem a bit further, ideally just above a leafset. This will encourage new growth to appear right where you made your cut. And just what do I do when I cut that stem off? I toss it right back down at the base of the plant to mulch it back in as it decomposes.
A few other items of care to note are that roses can be susceptible to issues such as powdery mildew, insect damage, or even black spot, so it’s important to educate yourself on safe and effective treatments, depending on the specific ailment. We lean more on natural remedies, utilizing items like baking soda, or neem oil, but use what you feel most appropriate when treating your roses.
No pun intended, but I could “ramble” on about roses for much longer. But, I’ll stop here for now! I have really enjoyed sharing a little about roses today, but, on that note, I have some pruning to do!
Resources for rose care, growers, sellers, educators, and enthusiasts, are quite extensive, so I’ve listed just a few of those below: