Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
June, 2007
Regional Report

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Carefree Beauty shrub rose is true to its name.

Revel in Easy-Care Roses

Planting bare-root roses in mid-June isn't highly recommended -- July's heat is too close for comfort. BUT I just received eight bare-root Jackson & Perkins roses to try. Floribundas, a shrub rose, a ground cover, and hybrid teas. Their roots are soaking overnight in a water/kelp concoction to plump them up before settling them into a rich mix of potting soil, humus, aged manure, and alfalfa meal. If they pass the summer test in containers -- gorgeous flowers with no black spot or powdery mildew on the leaves -- I'll move them into a sunny garden spot this fall.

Disease-resistant, long-blooming landscape roses are my first choices for eye-catching clusters of low-maintenance beauty: the Knock Out series, specifically Pink Knock Out; plus salmon-flowered 'Lady Elsie May'. Individually, the comparatively disease-resistant Romantica 'Peter Mayle' and David Austin's 'Mary Rose' are high on fragrance, elegance, and "cutability." The festive red-and-white-striped 'Fourth of July' climber (All-America Rose Selection winner) is definitely worth noting, blooming summer into autumn along with the crocosmia. Climbing, coral-pink flowered 'America' performs well even in a large container.

In Philadelphia, Morris Arboretum rosarian Mike Tuszynski likes the Canadian-developed Explorer series, especially the compact, cherry red 'Champlain' for hardiness, repeat flowering, and disease resistance in any rose's ideal environment - eight or more hours of full sun. The Morris rose garden uses Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques -- interplanting roses with flowers (yarrow, salvia, nepeta, dianthus, dill, and bronze fennel) that attract beneficial insects. As plant diversity increases, the need for pesticide and fungicide use has declines.

Rose Groups
Roses generally fall into one of the following groups: wild roses, old garden roses, modern garden roses, landscape roses. Old garden roses are often fragrant heritage types like alba, bourbon, centifolia, damask, gallica, noisette, portland, etc., that bloom once and have disease-resistant foliage. If you're fortunate, a whiff of rosy perfume will bring to mind your grandmother's garden.

Modern garden roses include the hybrid tea, polyantha, floribunda, grandiflora, miniature, climbing/rambler, and English (David Austin). The popular floribunda type -- bushy with large sprays of small flowers -- is a cross between polyanthas (many-flowered, disease-resistant, low-maintenance shrubs) and hybrid teas (high-maintenance, disease-prone, showy and shapely flowers in unusual colors). Floribundas are the pre-landscape roses, used en masse in large borders for big impact. They are susceptible to fungal diseases, though.

Landscape Roses
In the last century the landscape rose has earned high praise as low maintenance, easy care, and handsome from afar. Most landscape roses are "own root," not grafted as many modern hybrid roses are. In general, landscape roses have good disease and pest resistance, a low-growing (3 to 4 feet) habit, and are repeat-flowering.

Water, Water, Mulch
Do take full advantage of summer rose sales, and be sure to mulch and water the plants deeply and frequently all summer. Amend the planting hole soil with aged manure, compost, or mushroom soil. Clip away all dead canes but don't prune newly planted roses until year two.

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