The Q&A Archives: Looking for a couple of climbing plants that has pink flowers?

Question: I'm not a gardner but I would love to plant my own garden someday. To start off I like to plant climbing roses. what kind of climbing roses do I find, how to plant it and how to care for it? And strawberries, I like to plant strawberries? How do I take care of strawberries? Thank you for your response.

Answer: The first step is to determine how much room the rose will have to climb or ramble. Do you want a monster vine that will climb 30 feet, up onto the roof? Or do you need a delicate, well-mannered rose to cover a six-foot arbor over the garden gate? Many people make the mistake of choosing a rose they happen to like even though it wants to grow 25 feet or more, thinking they can keep it cut back to fit a five-foot trellis. This simply will not work. The constant pruning needed to keep it under control will butcher the plant, prevent it from blooming, and exhaust the gardener. If you're looking for an eight-foot climber but you love Climbing Cecile Brunner (which has been known to rip the front porches off houses with it's large mass), you'd be better substituting a smaller but similar rose, like Blush Noisette or the Hybrid Musk Bubble Bath. Beware of books and catalogs that give sizes for different climates, such as England or New England. With our long growing season and mild winters, the same roses often grow much larger here.

Once you've determined the ideal size for your rose, the next thing to consider is the amount of sunlight that will reach the site. Although most roses need full sun and heat to bloom and stay healthy, there are a few climbers that will thrive in partial shade. In general, though there are exceptions, the white, light pink, and light yellow roses can tolerate more shade, while the reds, oranges, and stronger colors need more sun. Most of the Hybrid Musk Roses (which can be trained as small 6'-10' climbers), including Buff Beauty, Lavender Lassie, Kathleen, and Cornelia, will tolerate up to a half day of shade. The wrong rose will stubbornly refuse to bloom if there's not enough sun. If the spot is too dark, a rose may not be your best choice.

To plant your roses, dig a hole approximately 2' deep and 2' wide. Fill hole with water, then let it drain. Mix backfill with 1/2 Rose Planting Mix. Place the rose in the hole so that when you backfill the hole, the bud union will be covered by 2" of soil.

Water established plants deeply at least once a week (more often in hot or windy weather, less often during cool foggy spells). Soaker hoses snaked between the plants will make watering less of a chore and they can be hidden with mulch. Adding 2' or more of mulch around the roses will reduce the need for water by preventing evaporation.

I?d recommend day-neutral strawberries such as ?Tri-Star? or ?Seascape?. These type strawberries are unaffected by day length, are extremely productive, and bear from January through August in your warm-winter region. They do require pampering, however. They are fragile and sensitive to heat, drought, and weed competition. On the plus side, they produce few runners, so they shouldn't get out of control, or become so aggressive that they crowd one another out. Start by amending the planting bed with organic matter, spreading 3"-4" on top of the bed and tilling it or digging it in. Dig a hole deep enough so the roots will not be bend, and make a cone-shaped pile of soil on the bottom. Arrange the roots over the soil cone and gently fill the hole with loose soil. Hold the crown while you work to make sure it remains level with the soil line. You don't want the roots protruding from the soil, but you don't want the crown planted too deeply. Then firm the soil over the roots. In a row system, space your plants 7" apart in double, staggered rows. Remove all flowers for the first six weeks after planting and all runners during the first growing season. Side-dress with compost or well-rotted manure to help conserve soil moisture and suppress weeds. Renew your plants in the third year by replanting new plants produced by the runners in the second year. Strawberries need one inch of water per week, so be sure to water them regularly throughout the growing season.

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