IMG_1366IMG_1359I am intimidated by roses.  My earliest memories of roses are… thorns, Japanese beetles, and nasty Sevin Dust chemical powder to get rid of the beetles.

Later on, I met my friend Donna, who grows several varieties of beautiful roses.  Today, I will take you on a visit to her rose garden.  She grows many other flowers, but in June, it is her roses that take center stage.  Donna grows several varities of David Austin British roses.  David Austin roses are bred by crossing old garden roses with more modern roses to produce greater fragrance, and repeat flowering characteristics.  They are available in a wide range of colors.  As far as other varieties  with names like; Queen of Sweden, Pope John, and Paul’s Himalayan  Waterfall, to name a few, Donna says, “the first blooms  are best,  deadhead as needed to produce more blooms.  Some varieties are once bloomers.”

She also grows Tree Roses (also called rose standards).  These roses are grafted.  A graft is made to the root-stock at the bottom of a central cane .  Another graft is made at the top of the cane to form a hybrid.  They are best grown in containers in the New England  zones, so that they can be easily brought in during winter.  Leave in a dark place, and water occasionally.

I asked Donna what diseases  and pests are most common to roses?  For pests;  beetles and aphids are common.  Black Spot disease is very contagious, as is rose slug which affects the leaves.  Chemical sprays are unfortunately necessary  to get rid of rose slug and black spot, but some other pests can be treated with an organic spray  like  BonNeem.

  • Here are some other facts about roses:
  • Roses grow best in full sun (about 6 hours per day) to grow and bloom properly
  • Roses need moist, well drained soil rich in organic matter
  • Roses can be planted bare-root (a set of roots packed in peat moss) planted early in season, or from containers.
  • To plant roses from a container; dig a hole twice as wide, but only as deep as the container.  Loosen the roots before placing in the hole and water well.  Fill the hole with soil and add a little mulch to top soil to keep in some moisture.  It is a good idea to use a soaker hose to water.  The water will go to the roots and keep the leaves dry  which will help prevent disease and pest damage.
  • Pruning:  Roses should be pruned in early spring so that there is an open center to allow   air to flow freely through the plant.  Deadhead throughout he season to keep plants looking neat.
  • Feeding: General garden fertilizer, preferably slow-release at beginning of season will keep roses fed for 2 to 3 months.

Rose Colors and their meanings:

Red: Love, romance

Yellow: Joy, friendship

White: marriage, new beginnings

Pink: Admiration, appreciation

Orange: Passion, desire

Unfortunately, I do not have enough sun in my back yard to grow roses.  So, while Donna’s garden is singing, “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” my garden  sings, “I Beg Your Pardon, I Never Promised You A Rose Garden”... so I will just have to  visit Donna more often, especially in June!

What though youth gave love and roses, age still leaves us friends and wine”

– Thomas Moore



What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”

-William Shakespeare

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