Several of you have told me that your roses suffered this past winter. So did ours; only two made it over the winter, and we are keeping a watchful eye on the third, hoping for the best. So we lost probably half of our roses.
It’s disappointing, but perhaps this gives us the perfect chance to redo our “rose garden”. As you and I always say, a garden is never finished, and looking at that row of lifeless twigs makes me want to start fresh in that area. So where do we begin?
Once we have cleared away the old debris, we will dig that area and clean up any old roots or branches that are left behind. In my much- thumbed “Roses” book from the Time-Life Encyclopeida of Gardening, we are advised to plant our roses about three feet apart. Climbers and shrub roses ahould be six feet apart. Dig a hole at least 18 inches wide and 18 inches deep. The book says “the key to proper planting depth for most roses is the knucklelike knot of wood on the main stem… should be located at he garden’s normal ground level if you live in moderate climate (zones 6-7). Northern gardeners (zones 3 – 5) se their plants so that the bed union, which is very vulnerable to harm from cold, is located one to two inches below the surface.”
We are never supposed to cut the roots to make the rose fit into the hole; if they do no go in properly, make the hole bigger. Try not to disturb the roots any more than necessary. Let them fit into the hole in a natural manner.
Once the rose is set properly in the hole, gently fill the hole with soil. The book suggests that once the hole is filled to within three inches from the top, gently fill the remainder of the hole with water. When this water has been absorbed, then finish filling in the hole with soil.
Unless there is a broken branch that shold be trimmed, we should refrain from pruning for a full year. The rose will need all of its energy to get settled in is new home.
To get them to produce the lovely roses we are waiting for, we must make sure that our roses have adequate food and water. This applies not only to our new roses, but to established roses as well. Water is crucial, because if there isn’t enough moisture, then the rose can’t absorb any fertilizer that might be present in the soil. It is better to give the rose a good soaking once a week rather than just wet the top of the soil two or three times a week. We should make sure not to wet the rose leaves when we are watering, as this could encourage various diseases. To help keep the soil moist, we can use two to four inches of mulch. This will help with the moisture, but it will also help to keep the soil cooler, and slow down the weeds!
As for the fertilizer, there are specific fertilizers formulated just for our roses. Ask the garden experts at our greenhouses for their recommendations. Fertlizers are made up of nitrogen, to help lush foliage; phosporus that helps flower production and root growth; and potassium to help promote growth and strength. But as I read a litle further in my book, it said that newly set bushes don’t need any additional food until after the first batch of flowers appear.
There was also a section on pest control, but right now let’s focus on getting our rose beds established! I can’t wait to get started! Some very dear friends gave us a lovely rosebush, so our new rose garden is on its way!
I’d like to thank the Kamsack Horticultural Society for inviting me and another hort member, Helen Flavel (an enthusiastic gardener and gifted flower arranger), to visit their last meeting. It was great to visit with all of you! I love chatting with other gardeners — I always learn something! And I get to meet wonderful people in the process! Bonus!
Have a great week!