I Beg Your Pardon -You Say You Want to Plant a Rose Garden?
(Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself!)
By Jenny Jorgensen
If you have been thinking about planting some roses in your garden, NOW is the perfect time to take action. If you’ve been “on the fence” (yes, another gardening pun) you should know that the roses of today have come a long way. Very talented rose breeders have been hard at work making roses better for us. They have improved disease resistance. They have introduced new colors. They have created new, easy care roses to use in many different ways in your garden. These roses aren’t your prima donnas of yesteryear. You really can have beautiful roses in the Northwest!
This is the time of year that many retail nurseries will have their best selection of rose varieties available; including many old time favorites as well as the newest varieties on the market. Right now is the time your local nurseries will be stocked full of roses that have been pruned, planted and cared for in our own Northwest climate. I must admit they look like “sticks in a pot” at this point of their growth, but they will grow in leaps and bounds in no time! To help you choose, the rose growers have sent along wonderful pictures and signs full of good information. Also, your nursery-person should be a good resource.
Spring is an optimum time to plant as the weather is cooler, rainfall is more plentiful and the plant is ready to jump out of its winter slumber and grow strongly. It will become established throughout the milder months of the year. Best of all, you will be treated to a first bloom by June, a second flush of blooms 6-8 weeks after that and maybe even another flush depending on fall/winter weather conditions.
Another good time to choose a rose is when it’s in bloom. That’s when you can best see the bloom’s shape, flower color and smell its heavenly fragrance! You can see what the leaves look like: sometimes thick, dark green and glossy; sometimes olive with red tones and sometimes beautiful red new growth. It helps to visualize the structure, size and shape of the plant as it looks a little farther along in its growth.
Making good choices in the beginning of this project is important. Some questions to ask yourself as you begin to make decisions should be: Why do I want to plant roses? For cutting? Fragrance? How about long-blooming summer color? Maybe they remind you of your Dad or Grandmother. (Roses are known to be the flower of love.) Do you want to entwine a romantic arbor, or create a blooming hedge? Do you want to enjoy them in an elegant planter? Will you group them together or scatter them about in an informal garden setting?
Knowing why you want a rose will help you make a good choice. It determines what type of rose you choose. There are a few main types with differing characteristics:
Hybrid Tea Roses are probably the most loved for their large, classic flower shape. They have long stems with single blooms so they tend to make the best cut flower. Fragrance is a bonus. Believe it or not, roses have many different kinds of fragrances, so be sure to” “Stop and Smell the Roses!” If they’re not in bloom, the information tag will help. They usually grow 3-5 feet, but not as wide.
Floribunda Roses are a shorter grower, usually 3-4 feet but much wider. Their claim to fame is showy clusters of flowers on many stems. Very dramatic when in color. They also have various fragrances.
Grandiflora Roses are a combination of both hybrid tea and floribunda. They grow tall and narrow, usually 6-8 feet tall and not wider than 4-5 feet. They combine the long stems and single blooms of the hybrid tea with the cluster characteristic of the floribunda. Again, fragrance is included in most.
Other rose categories to consider include climbers, groundcovers, hedges, miniature and old-fashion/English types.
You see, there are a multitude of choices! A rose exists to meet your desires.