CHOOSING ROSES FOR YOUR GARDEN
Choosing Roses for your Garden must be done with careful consideration. A rose bush is a long-term investment. Some can survive for generations. The old fashioned “buttonhole rose” climber growing by your Grandma’s porch. Even the antique variety growing in the oldest part of the cemetery. In fact, some roses grow with such gusto they can bury anything near them. Take time to choose your rose wisely.
Photos in catalogs are all dolled up and are intended to make you buy on impulse. I viewed as many roses as possible in several public gardens. Some of the roses I was dying to see turned out to be nothing special. It gets very expensive when you are faced with settling for a less than satisfactory plant taking up space in your garden or just digging it up and disposing of it.
ROSE COLORS AND CHARACTERISTICS
Decide first on the colors you prefer, the shape of the fully-opened bloom, and the petal count that you like. This will help you to narrow down the types of roses that are best for you. Even seemingly insignificant details can set a rose apart. The very old Hybrid Tea Rose “Dainty Bess” has a ruffled, single bloom. It is light pink with touches of warm rose pink, but its outstanding feature is in the center. The many maroon colored stamens resemble long, long eyelashes. To see it is to love it.
CHOOSING ROSES: ROSE FRAGRANCE
Choosing roses often comes down to the scent that you prefer. Always try to smell the rose before you buy it, especially if you have very limited space available in your garden. This is also important if you intend to make potpourri with the petals. The older varieties of roses usually have a stronger scent. A description in a catalog might sound like a mouthwatering fragrance, but the smell might not appeal to you at all. This is to be expected. We don’t all buy the same perfume.
BLOOM TIME OF ROSES
Roses bloom in varying degrees of enthusiasm, so don’t overlook the ones that only bloom once per year, like lilacs. A once blooming rose might bloom briefly or for as much as six to eight weeks depending on the variety, your planting zone, or on how severe the last winter was. Some once bloomers pump out massive amounts of flowers that will make the neighbors ogle and back up traffic.
CHOOSING ROSES: ROSE THORNS
Some roses have such vicious thorns that it’s best you find it out before buying it, especially if you have small children. One rose that had such charming flowers and honey-like fragrance that I was loath to part with it was armed with so many thorns it was hardly worth the effort of growing it. A number of times I was apprehended by it, and the final skirmish was when it got tangled in my hair.
Very thorny rose bushes are useful for increasing the security of your property: An impenetrable hedge to keep unwanted foot traffic at bay or a large bush planted under a window to keep intruders from breaking in. A friend assures me it is also a useful place to deposit a pushy door-to-door salesman that refuses to leave. (I’m sure he was kidding!)
FRESH FLOWER BOUQUETS
Once you have made your selection and planted it correctly, it will probably take a couple of years to get it established. But good things are always worth the wait for they make amazing cut flowers. Whether by themselves or in a mixed bouquet, fresh roses from your own garden will give you more pleasure than some you bought at a flower shop. Be sure to mix a little sugar in with the water. It helps to extend the bloom time.
HAPPY PLANTING! Susan