Proper care of roses yields great results

"Roses have been a time honored shrub in gardens for hundreds of years..."

Roses have been a time honored shrub in gardens for hundreds of years as many as 1000 years in China. Cities around the world feature public rose gardens in their parks and green spaces.

Canada’s Royal Botanical Gardens in Ontario feature Floribunda and Hybrid Tea roses, the University of B.C.‘s garden has both spectacular ocean as well as mountain views.  Australia has Ruston’s Roses displaying over 4000 contemporary and old garden varieties, France’s Roseraie du Val-de-Marne was intended to exhibit every rose in the world, the UK’s Queen Mary Gardens in Regent’s Park boost an amazing display of some 40,000 roses in bloom throughout the summer.  Roses are a timeless flower celebrated around the world.

Anyone who appreciates the diverse colors and glorious scents of these blooms, value what it takes to keep them looking great.

Start by picking out a healthy, disease resistant plant suited for your climate zone.  Make sure it has a good root mass and healthy leaves.  Ask the nursery about a guarantee. (most will provide one year)

Choosing color is an individual choice often used to highlight the color of a home or compliment an entranceway.  Roses come in a variety of cultivars such as hybrid teas, grandiflora, floribunda, climbers and shrub roses.

All have their merits and it becomes a matter of taste as to what works best for your garden. Roses require at least 6 hours of sunlight daily.  Well drained, composted soil provides a healthy growing medium.  Dig a hole twice the size of the root ball mounding the centre.  Place the plant making sure the graft is above ground level fill and water well.

Roses are heavy feeders.  To ensure it receives enough nutrients to bloom scratch 5-5-8 granular fertilizer into the soil around the stock.

This should be done at least 3 times a year, early spring before buds appear, late spring after first blush of blooms and midsummer.

Epsom salts may be added to the soil at the same time.  These salts provide magnesium and sulphur much needed minerals to keep a plants cells healthy.

An amount of two tablespoons up to half a cup scratched into the soil around the rose is all that is necessary to encourage the plants to grow properly.

The color of roses is steeped in symbolism and tradition inspiring people through the ages.  When choosing a color you are personalizing your gift.  Red roses say “I Love You” given in romantic situations, pink represents grace, appreciation or admiration.

Yellow invokes warmth and happiness and white roses mean innocence, purity and new beginnings.  So in effect there can be a rose for every occasion and feeling.

The AARS (All-America Rose Selections) winner for 2013 is a lovely soft pink hybrid tea rose called Francis Meilland.  It is highly disease resistant and strongly fragrant.

Roses evoke many different emotions, their beauty and scents appealing to our senses and desire to be surrounded by the beauty these shrubs provide in abundance.

Betty Drover operates a local garden business and shares this space with business partner Patti Siddall every other Friday. Contact: 250-364-1005