Gar­den

Grow­ing the pop­u­lar flow­ers is eas­ier than you think

RSWLiving - - Department­s - WRIT­TEN BY PAT WILL­MAN

A Rosy Out­look

told you that you could eas­ily grow beau­ti­ful rose­bushes with dense green fo­liage burst­ing with scores of col­or­ful, fra­grant flow­ers, would you be will­ing to try it? I prom­ise that you will come away with new in­sight into the world of rose gar­den­ing af­ter you read this story. Fol­low these sim­ple guide­lines, and you will be re­warded with rose­bushes that bloom ev­ery thirty days vir­tu­ally year- round in Florida. And any­one can do it. Be­cause if you tend to over­wa­ter and thus kill most plants, a rose­bush will not mind at all.

I fell in love with my first rose at five years old. I wanted to give my mother a spe­cial gift for her birth­day. A close neigh­bor had beau­ti­ful roses, and I picked the pret­ti­est one to present to my mom. The prob­lem was that I ne­glected to ask per­mis­sion from the lady who owned the roses be­fore do­ing this.

Mother made me apol­o­gize to her, and in­stead of be­ing an­gry with me, the woman said, “All I ask of you is if you want a rose for a spe­cial oc­ca­sion, please ask first, and I will help you.” Her kind­ness was re­mem­bered by me for the rest of my life, and when I came to be a woman and had roses of my own, that is ex­actly what I told the chil­dren in my neigh­bor­hood.

Like so many peo­ple start­ing out, I was not suc­cess­ful with my first rose. But I soon dis­cov­ered, with a lit­tle ad­vice from the ex­perts, what I was do­ing wrong.

First and fore­most, the type of rose­bush you choose will de­ter­mine the mea­sure of your suc­cess. Whole­sale nurs­ery Nel­sons’ Florida Roses in Apopka, Florida, has a su­pe­rior line of roses ideal for the Florida cli­mate. Roses from Nel­sons’ grace pri­vate home gar­dens and some of the most beau­ti­ful pub­lic gar­dens in Florida at places such as Busch Gar­dens in Tampa, Harry P. Leu Gar­dens in Or­lando, the Ep­cot theme park at Walt Dis­ney World, and SeaWorld.

Mark Nel­son, owner of Nel­sons’ Florida Roses, at­tributes their su­pe­rior growth and flower pro­duc­tion to the Rosa for­tu­ni­ana root­stock they use. Good build­ing blocks like that are far more im­por­tant than the shape or hue of the flower. “Un­for­tu­nately, peo­ple let their eyes de­ter­mine their se­lec­tion, and that is some­times a mis­take,” he says.

In­stead of be­ing drawn in sim­ply by a rose’s color, home gar­den­ers should ini­tially be­gin with a rose va­ri­ety that is hardy and re­quires very lit­tle main­te­nance. “Some of the roses such as Belinda’s Dream, Care­free Won­der, China Doll, Knock Outs, Sum­mer Snow, and Sun­flare are vir­tu­ally care­free roses,” he says. “Louis Philippe and Sou­venir de la Mal­mai­son are also good choices, es­pe­cially for a new rose en­thu­si­ast.”

LIKE SO MANY PEO­PLE START­ING OUT, I WAS NOT SUC­CESS­FUL WITH MY FIRST ROSE. BUT I SOON DIS­COV­ERED, WITH A LIT­TLE

AD­VICE FROM THE EX­PERTS, WHAT I WAS DO­ING WRONG.

Af­ter choos­ing a plant, gar­den­ers must pick the proper lo­ca­tion for the rose bed. A rose­bush needs a min­i­mum of six hours of sun­light a day. If you plant a rose in a shady area, it will not thrive, nor will it pro­duce abun­dant flow­ers. It could even pos­si­bly die.

Once you’ve de­ter­mined the proper lo­ca­tion, dig a hole that is at least twice as wide as your rose­bush. Make it deep enough to al­low the bush to be planted at the same depth as it is in the pot. Add pot­ting soil to the bot­tom of the hole, place the rose plant in the hole, and check the depth again.

Then add a lit­tle some­thing ex­tra be­fore fill­ing the hole back up. “Al­ways sprin­kle a hand­ful of Os­mo­cote slow- re­lease fer­til­izer evenly around in the hole when plant­ing,” says Em­manuel Jean, a long­time em­ployee and rosar­ian at Nel­sons’ Florida Roses. “This very im­por­tant step gives the plant a quick jump in growth.”

Now it’s time to fill the hole with pot­ting

IN­STEAD OF BE­ING DRAWN IN SIM­PLY BY A ROSE’S COLOR, HOME GAR­DEN­ERS SHOULD INI­TIALLY BE­GIN WITH A ROSE VA­RI­ETY THAT IS HARDY AND RE­QUIRES VERY LIT­TLE MAIN­TE­NANCE.

soil. Pack the soil firmly around the plant and thor­oughly soak it with wa­ter.

One of the rea­sons to use pot­ting soil in­stead of reg­u­lar soil is to per­mit drainage. Rose­bushes are heavy feed­ers and need an abun­dance of wa­ter, but the roots should not sit in wa­ter for long pe­ri­ods of time. Wa­ter the plants daily for a pe­riod of at least two weeks. Af­ter that, wa­ter them twice a week.

Fer­til­izer should be ap­plied around the plant once a month. Sprin­kle a hand­ful of 66- 6 fer­til­izer around the bush about twelve inches away from the main stalk. I al­ter­nate that treat­ment with a fo­liar spray of Mir­a­cleGro mixed with one- quar­ter cup of dish­wash- ing soap in a hose- end sprayer, ap­plied to the leaves two weeks af­ter the 6- 6- 6 has been ap­plied to the roots.

So don’t just ask for a bou­quet of roses on a spe­cial oc­ca­sion; ask for the en­tire rose­bush. Now that you know just how easy it is to suc­cess­fully grow roses, what’s stop­ping you from plant­ing your own en­chant­ing rose gar­den today?

Pinata

Mid­night Blue

Scen­ti­men­tal

GAR­DEN Pinata Sun­flare A sim­ple, col­or­ful, and fra­grant rose can at­tract more than just hu­man ad­mir­ers. Chris­tian Dior

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