Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Middle South
November, 2003
Regional Report

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Like the first rose of summer, the last rose of fall is a delight to behold.

Remontant Roses

One of my favorite horticultural terms is "remontant," a French word meaning to rise again, or remount. Coined two hundred years ago to describe the reblooming talents of hybrid perpetual roses, it is spoken these days by admirers of hybrid teas, the roses most likely to bloom again and again all summer and finally to charm us with the last flowers of fall.

Encouraging Remontance
Remontance in roses is never guaranteed, but attentive care of naturally gifted varieties is the surest formula for success. Begin building any rose's reblooming potential by planting it in an ideal site, such as a raised bed that gets full morning sun and partial afternoon shade. Then diligently improve the soil. Right now is a good time to deeply cultivate the place where you want to plant a new rose in spring. If you have clay soil like mine, adding a 40-pound bag of good compost or humus to a 3-foot-wide planting hole is just about right.

Best Rebloomers
Having a planting hole prepared in advance makes choosing varieties more fun. I'm a fool for fragrance, so pink 'Perfume Delight' is high on my rose wish list. Yet I do like the way yellow and earth-toned flowers look in my living room, so I'll probably dig a second hole for 'Love and Peace', which bears yellow blossoms edged with pink. These are both hybrid teas, but many modern landscape roses are remontant, too. So, in addition to choosing roses by fragrance and color, consider their growth habits (bushy, upright, spreading) as part of the package.

Once a rose is in your garden, the key to prolonging flower power is to provide water and nutrients before they are badly needed. Also, keep some pruning shears handy for clipping off old blossoms or leaves that show evidence of disease. These are sure ways to help roses rise again and again, which is what remontance is all about.

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