It’s that wonderful time of year, late spring, and all the roses are blooming at my house. I don’t live at a super high elevation (we’re at about 425’) but it’s enough that I can enjoy the roses blooming here in town now, and then later I can enjoy the roses at my house. This extends the blooming season for me throughout the year. Lilacs here, lilacs at home. Iris here, iris at home. You get the picture.
I have ten rose bushes and right now my favorite rose, Jude the Obscure, is absolutely covered with flowers. I should say “they” are covered because I have three of them. They are incredibly fragrant and have so many petals they resemble peonies in bloom. I don’t do much to care for my rose plants. In fact, the gardening that I do is pretty hands off. Everything has to take care of itself or it doesn’t belong in my gardens. No special treatment! I am good about pruning the roses in late winter/early spring, and do make an effort to deadhead so that I get more blooms throughout the season, but I don’t give them special rose food or any other supplements. I think my husband might, but that’s up to him. He likes to make manure teas and spread worm castings; those messy-boy kinds of things.
The type of roses I grow (own root roses) seldom have problems with the usual diseases such as the dreaded black spot. I am fortunate in that I rarely see aphids. I deal with any problems organically, such as sudsy sprays to combat aphids and stripping off and disposing of leaves with evidence of the fungus. Also, because they are “own root” roses I don’t have to worry that they will freeze back below the graft and come spring I’ll have something appearing in my garden that I don’t recognize.
Roses bloom for a really long time here which is one reason why I really like them. Another is the fragrance. I buy my roses from a certain nursery and part of their description of the flower includes a fragrance rating. I try to get 7 or higher and I think Jude is a 10!
The library has many books on growing roses, and you can find them in the 635.9337 section of nonfiction. If you haven’t tried growing roses before, I suggest that you do. They aren’t as difficult as you might think, especially up here in the Pacific Northwest where everything grows like weeds. I think the only thing you would have to worry about is growing a rambling rose that might try to take over the neighborhood!
Until next time!