Friday, April 16, 2010

Roses for Everyday People Like You and Me!

KCB is a professional gardener and friend who does wonderful work in the Greater Portland area. KCB is also an accredited Master Gardener by the Cooperative Extension Service and we are honored to have KCB as part of our Skillin's Garden Log family. KCB can also be found at the awesome Finishing Touches website.

The following is the basis for an exciting Pursuit of the Rose Class to be held Saturday, April 17 at 10 AM at Skillin's Brunswick, Cumberland and Falmouth. If you are reading this post in time and HAVE time, please come by for this free (and worth much more!) class.

Would a Rose by any other name still smell as sweet? What is it about the Rose we find the most attractive, the delicate beauty or the heady scent? Roses continue to be the most romantic of flowers. Bouquets or a single stem are given as gifts and tokens of affection. Definitions are offered for color choice, a Red Rose offered represents Love; White Roses (KCB Fave) represents purity or Pure Love; to express passion and excite, a Rose of Orange is the choice. What these roses lack, however is fragrance. The sweet smell lamented by Romeo is not present in most modern roses offered by florists. These rose cultivars are developed for the sturdiness and length of stem, vibrancy of color and over-all vase life. For beauty much is lost.

So, what can we average folk do to grow our own roses? We are willing to sacrifice vase life for abundance and fragrance in our gardens. While we may suffer a few thorn pricks and I won’t mention the possibility of a Japanese Beetle or 2, yet these will be the only pains suffered in the pleasure of producing plentiful roses. As a hardworking gardener who actually works smart not hard has added roses as a perennial favorite. Here are my tricks:


 Soil

 Fertile, rich in organic matter, allowing for air to circulate, water to penetrate and retain enough moisture so not to dry out roots.

 PH of 6 – 6.5 (slightly acidic)

 Site

 Minimal wind exposure

 Good air circulation between plants

 Good Drainage

• Wet feet do not make happy plants.

 Sun

 4-6 hours of mid-day direct sun daily

 Sustenance

 1 – 2 inches of water per week

• Prefers slow drip during one session.

 Heavy feeders

• Feed with a complete fertilizer (containing all elements: Nitrogen (N1st #) Phosphorus (P2nd #) & Potassium (K 3rd #) such as

Espoma Rose-Tone

o Begin @ first bloom during the season, continue thru August.

o Final Feeding late fall at time of winter protection

Finishing Touches:

 Deadhead to promote new blooms

 Heavy Pruning Early Spring (April in zones 4/5)

Additional points of interest:

 Roses do not have true thorns but prickles

 ‘Old Roses’ were originally in shades of pink & reds plus white

 Rosa Rugosa is NOT native to Maine or the true ‘Beach Rose’

 Most grafted roses used Multiflora Rosa (Rambling Rose) as the root stock.

 One of the most fragrant yet invasive of roses in Maine

 Rosa Carolina (Pasture Rose) is a native to New England

Types of Roses:

 Approximately 150 species of roses (Rosa)

 Majority of species are single flowers of 5 petals

 Growing Habits:

 Climbing, crawling, shrubs, erect, arching.

Hardy Roses for Maine

 Alba Roses: free-branching shrub roses with relatively few thorns; semi-double to double, highly fragrant flowers in clusters of 5-7 in June; flowers produced on shoots from second year wood

 Gallica Roses: dense, free-branching, and generally prickly; single to fully double roses, most of them scented, from spring to early summer; pink, red or maroon flowers produced on shoots from second-year wood.

 Explorer Roses: modern roses developed by Agriculture Canada based on the hardiness of Rosa kordesii.

 Shrub Roses: rather artificial group of roses that don't easily fit into other categories; most flower in early summer; wide range of traits, including hardiness.

 Species Roses: naturally occurring roses with little or no improvement from breeding efforts.

• Most hybrid teas and floribundas are tender to Maine winters. To winter over these tender roses, bury the bud union several inches in the ground. After the first frost, mound compost or soil over the bud union up to one foot thick.

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