Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Lower South
October, 2003
Regional Report

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Blushing Knock Out is a new shrub rose that offers both beauty and disease resistance in a great landscape plant.

Roses For Every Landscape

If you have put off planting roses because you either think they are too much trouble or you don't care for the look of a formal rose garden, then I have some great news for you. Roses are for everyone, everywhere.

There are many great hybrid teas that will produce great cut flowers. However they tend to be among the more high maintenance roses. If you want this type of rose, look for varieties that boast a little disease resistance.

Shrub Roses
My personal favorites are the shrub roses. They do double duty as both great landscape plants and blooming roses. So even when they aren't in bloom, they are attractive in the landscape. Breeders have begun to release a lot of wonderful new shrub roses. Many have excellent disease resistance -- a key trait if you want a low-maintenance rose. Personally I can think of many better things to do on a Saturday morning than mix and spray pesticides, even organic ones!

Climbing roses are underutilized in most landscapes. That is too bad because they offer such versatile beauty and bring a vertical element into the garden. Vigorous types are excellent on an arbor or trained along a fence. Some work well trained to a post or pillar. Plant one to cover an arched entryway or train one to a brick or rock wall.

Miniature roses make attractive additions to ornamental beds. They are well adapted to large containers, which means even an apartment dweller can grow roses. Some roses, while not miniatures, are very small statured and do well in a very large container.

Growing Tips
Do a little investigating before you buy a rose. There are many wonderful varieties to choose from with various bloom forms, colors, scents, and degrees of disease resistance. Then take care to provide a home for your new rose where it can thrive.

Give roses lots of sun ... the more the better. If you plant them in a semi-shady spot, they will grow but may not bloom well.

Prepare the soil well and keep it moist. Roses like a soil that is well drained and has lots of compost added. I like to use a "chunky" compost made from bark because it tends to hold up well for a long time. While roses detest poor drainage, they need some dependable soil moisture to perform their best.

Fertilize regularly. Keep the roses growing by feeding them every month or two from spring through late summer. This is especially important for types that repeat bloom throughout the year.

Control pests, diseases, and weeds. If you choose a resistant variety, this will be an easy job. If pests or diseases are allowed to get out of hand, they will weaken the plants and shut down the bloom show. Weeds rob plants of moisture and nutrients. Mulching is the best way to prevent most weed problems.

So don't delay. Fall is the best season to plant roses in the south. Winter also is a good time. With a rose for every landscape, you don't want to miss out on another season of beautiful blooms!

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