Success in the Rose Garden: A Yearly Evaluation
It’s a pleasant sunny fall morning. You take your breakfast on the patio to admire your rose garden. The morning light shines down on your roses like a beacon. As you sip your coffee and chew your food you ponder over the successes and failures of your roses.
So, what is the measure of your success? Is it that you’ve had an abundance of flowers to cut and enjoy? Is that you’ve managed to prevent blackspot? Or is it a deeper understanding of how your garden performs from season to season?
As our Rose Care Technicians
prepare to evaluate our customers’ gardens we think about what it takes to grow great roses. When I hear the words “fat bushes” from the mouths of our techs I know it means that the rose bushes are huge and often towering overhead, loaded with leaves and flowers from multiple canes which stem from large crowns at the base. It makes caring for roses seem like child’s play when there are few challenges to overcome.
Our annual evaluation process has many facets. We determine the need for fertility and a need to rework the bed area using our specially blended Witherspoon Premium Planting Mix
for better overall growing performance. We look at whether or not trees are inhibiting the growth in some way either by way of too much shade or by way of the tree’s roots invading the bed area. We also consider perpetual damage by deer, rabbits or voles to identify the need for repellents
These things are mostly environmental, and improvements can be made to liven up the roses. Certainly no one can argue that enriching the soil area in which the roses grow will be a worthless effort. And no one can argue that your roses will perform much better with more sun exposure. Even installing irrigation
so the roses have a regular water supply is time and money well spent for the result of thriving roses. And finding ways to keep the critters from eating that deliciously sweet flower bud means that the rose remains yours and yours alone.
But what about the cultural tasks in the rose garden? What improvements will be made by yearly pruning and removing the spent blooms regularly? Let’s begin with pruning. Pruning
is a great way to rejuvenate the rose’s growth allowing the canes to produce an abundance of flowers on the new wood. This yearly task is vital to the growth of your hybrid teas, grandiflora
s and floribundas
Now let’s look at deadheading. During the active growing season the roses put on their full display of color. Their bloom cycle is on about a 30-35 day schedule. By removing the spent blooms you can aid the regeneration process allowing your roses to perform at their peak. Hybrid teas, grandifloras
respond very well to this treatment.
What are some other factors to contemplate when thinking about evaluating your success? Let’s consider that some roses simply might not be suitable to your growing conditions. A particular rose may look great in someone else’s yard, but it struggles in yours. There could be a host of reasons from soil to fertility to overall general care. You may have to acknowledge that it’s just time to get it out of the garden and try a different rose. Fortunately, we have a wide variety of roses to choose from in all manner of colors.
I think the most important aspect in determining your success is the work you put into growing your roses. Take a honest look at your maintenance schedule. For example, roses are heavy feeders. Are you really using the right kind of fertilizer at the right time of year? When there’s no adequate rain, are you supplementing with the proper amount of water? Are you actively deadheading the roses to help them produce more? If the canes are spindly and weak should you just throw in the towel on that particular rose or keep on fighting to get it to do something? Is it finally time to part ways with the unthrifty producers in the garden to trade them out for better bushes?
It’s not easy to make the decision to remove roses, especially if they have sentimental value. Keep in mind this investment in your landscape is something you want to show off, something to be proud of. The reward is beautifully performing roses that you can enjoy and share with others. So, putting in the effort is well worth it.