Roses come in va­ri­ety of col­ors, shapes, sizes

The Progress-Index - At Home - - BETTY MONTGOMERY - By Betty Mont­gomery Betty Mont­gomery, master gar­dener and au­thor of a “Four Sea­son South­ern Gar­den,” can be reached at bmont­

For cen­turies, roses have been con­sid­ered one of the most pop­u­lar gar­den plants. They come in a range of col­ors, shapes and sizes.

Some are grown for their use in flo­ral ar­range­ments or for their fra­grance while oth­ers are en­joyed in the gar­den. Roses have had a spec­tac­u­lar rise in pop­u­lar­ity in re­cent years be­cause of the breed­ing work that has been done and be­cause of how easy these new va­ri­eties are to grow.

When I first started gar­den­ing, most peo­ple grew hy­brid tea roses be­cause they would have a re­peat bloom­ing cy­cle while oth­ers grew climb­ing roses to adorn a fence or ar­bor. The hy­brid tea or mod­ern roses were de­vel­oped to re-bloom from spring to frost, a most de­sired trait.

Climb­ing roses and most old-timey shrub roses had a glo­ri­ous flush of flow­ers in the spring, then the flow­er­ing was over for the rest of the year. To­day, more and more peo­ple are plant­ing land­scape or shrub roses be­cause they bloom from spring un­til frost, have a long life and re­quire very lit­tle at­ten­tion.

There are sev­eral com­pa­nies that have been hard at work to pro­duce easy-care shrub roses. The ConardPyle Com­pany came to the mar­ket with the knock­out rose. The first one was a sin­gle red rose, which was quickly fol­lowed by dou­ble blooms and dif­fer­ent col­ors. They now have seven knock­out roses that come in red, pink, yel­low, white and even rain­bow.

This same com­pany has also pro­duced drift roses, which are a cross be­tween full-size ground­cover roses and minia­ture roses. The win­ter har­di­ness, dis­ease re­sis­tance, and tough­ness came from the ground cover rose, and the well-man­aged size and re­peat-bloom­ing na­ture came from the minia­ture rose. These low-spread­ing roses are great to have drap­ing over a wall or as a ground cover on a slope.

They can also be used in the front of a bor­der or to plant in a smaller gar­den.

They grow 1 to 2 feet high and 2 to 3 feet wide. They, too, bloom from spring to fall and other than cut­ting them back in late win­ter there is very lit­tle main­te­nance that is re­quired.

David Austin, an English rose breeder, spent 50 years of in­ten­sive breed­ing to pro­duce the David Austin’s English Rose se­ries. One of the guid­ing prin­ci­ples in his breed­ing pro­gram was that he wanted the nat­u­ral, shrubby growth of the old shrub rose and the re­peat flow­er­ing of mod­ern roses.

His work paid off and the David Austin has pro­duced a large num­ber of shrub roses with a re­peat bloom­ing habit and many of his newer ones are dis­ease re­sis­tant. Some of his more dis­ease re­sis­tant ones are Claire Austin, Bosco­bel, Princess Alexan­dra of Kent and Lady Shalott.

Earth-Kind is another des­ig­na­tion of roses. These are rose cul­ti­vars that were se­lected by Texas A&M ex­ten­sion ser­vice af­ter ex­ten­sive re­search and field tri­als. They were eval­u­ated for good re­sis­tance to in­sects and dis­ease, plus they re­quire no chem­i­cal sprays and very lit­tle ad­di­tional wa­ter­ing.

Some of these that I know and have grown are care­free beauty, the fairy, new dawn, and the knock­out se­ries.

Choos­ing roses for your gar­den is a per­sonal de­ci­sion. Choos­ing a color that you like is prob­a­bly the first de­ci­sion you will make. Find­ing one with fra­grance is also im­por­tant to many peo­ple. Make sure the di­men­sions of the rose suit the lo­ca­tion where you plan for the rose to be planted. Do not buy more roses than you can plant suc­cess­fully in your gar­den.

Roses will grow in al­most any soil as long as the soil is well drained and some well-rot­ted ma­nure is added to the plant­ing area. Re­mem­ber all roses like to be fed. You can do this with well-rot­ted ma­nure, slow re­lease fer­til­izer, spe­cial rose food or a com­bi­na­tion of these.

The eas­i­est way is to add two cups of a slow-re­lease fer­til­izer.

Win­ter prun­ing is also ad­vised. This is done just when the tem­per­a­tures are warm­ing in late Fe­bru­ary or early March. This will help pro­duce more flow­ers on the new growth that de­vel­ops. Cut the bush to about half of its size and you will have a good shape and lots of flow­ers that will come on the new wood that is pro­duced.

Roses also re­quire some ad­di­tional wa­ter, es­pe­cially the first year when they are putting down their roots. Roses are deep-rooted plants and once es­tab­lished, the hardier va­ri­eties take less ad­di­tional wa­ter, but they do need some when they are get­ting es­tab­lished.

Roses are a won­der­ful plant to add to any gar­den.

They look nice tucked in a peren­nial bor­der, as a hedge or in a bed by them­selves. With the va­ri­ety of hardy roses avail­able to­day, spray­ing can be a thing of the past. Visit your lo­cal gar­den cen­ter and learn more about the va­ri­eties they carry. To­day, grow­ing roses is a plea­sur­able task.

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