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Publication: Garden Guides
Roses 101

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                   GardenGuides Newsletter 
                 Tuesday, January 23, 2007 

When a groundcover planting is fairly new, the biggest 
challenge is keeping all the weeds from coming up between the 
new plants. You can’t use landscape fabric around your new 
plants, because then they won't be able to spread—but how do 
you keep it weeded until your new ground cover grows together? 
If you have particularly bad weeds, you may want to use a 
product such as Round-up before you start laying the newspaper 
and mulch down. After a few weeks you can go back in and make 
holes in the newspaper and plant your groundcover. The news-
paper will eventually decompose and your plants should have no 
problem growing into a nice thick cover.


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Roses 101

With their great beauty, tremendous variety, and luscious 
scent, it's easy to become passionate about those all-time 
favorites, roses. For many, roses are the symbol of a well-
cared-for home, evoking images of that picket-fenced cottage 
awash with rambling roses. Like Oscar Wilde, who could "resist 
anything except temptation," those who give in to the 
temptation of roses are richly rewarded. In addition to being 
beautiful flowers for arrangements, roses lend themselves to 
a wide variety of crafts, providing everything from petals 
for creating potpourri, to the vitamin C-rich seed pods 
(called rose hips) for rose hip tea. 

If you decide to plant a rose garden, do it with the under-
standing that, as with all temptations, there will be a price 
to pay. To do what they do so well--namely, produce quantities 
of beautiful, fragrant flowers--roses need special attention. 
Although it's possible to mix any number of roses in with a 
shrub border, it's far easier to be lavish with that attention 
if they are segregated in a small bed. Ten to 12 rose bushes 
will make a magnificent display, provide plenty of flowers for 
cutting, and require a bed only 8 feet by 12 feet or so. Any 
shape of bed will do, but generations of gardeners have 
favored the formal look of square, rectangular, or round beds, 
edged with stone or brick, often with a birdbath or sundial 
placed in the center for a little added interest.

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When choosing roses, it's helpful to know some of 
the terminology and uses:

1. Hybrid tea roses. These are tall, long-stemmed roses ideal 
for cutting. They are usually the kind you send from the 
florist. In the garden, they are often featured as single 

2. Floribundas. Developed during the last century, these 
roses are shorter and bloom more freely, setting clusters of 
blossoms rather than a single bloom on a stem.

3. Shrub or landscape roses. These can be tall or kept 
trimmed. They can be treated like a hedge and bloom from 
spring through fall. Their foliage fills in. They are spaced 
18 inches apart in cool climates; 24 to 36 inches apart in 
warmer climates. These roses have changed the way many people 
view roses. Landscape roses, especially when compared with 
traditional varieties, are impressive for many reasons: their 
natural disease-resistance, their willingness to grow in a 
variety of climates with a minimum of attention from the 
gardener, their compact growth habit (little pruning required) 
not to mention the great beauty of their flowers, which are 
borne consistently over a very long season. 

4. Tree roses. These elegant roses grow in a cluster at the 
top of a stake. Miniatures grow 18 inches high; patio 
varieties 24 inches; and full tree roses 36 inches high. Tall 
ones can frame a doorway or line a walk. Smaller varieties can 
be grown in containers on the patio or porch.

5. Patio roses. These grow two to four feet tall, bloom all 
season, and are well suited to growing in containers in small 
spaces. Sometimes they are planted in hedges as foundation 
covers. The foliage tends to be dense.

6. Climbers. Climbing roses can form dramatic cascades grown 
over an arched trellis or trained over a fence, pillar, or 
post. They are sometimes used to create a privacy wall.	

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Four Steps to Rose Success:

For maximum return on your bed of roses, 4 important 
requirements should be taken into consideration: (1) selection 
of the rose varieties, (2) location of the planting bed, 
(3) soil preparation, and (4) consistent care.

When choosing roses, always favor those adapted to your 
growing region. The selection process is a very important step 
in the creation of a successful rose garden. By choosing 
naturally vigorous roses, very willing to grow in your area, 
you will dramatically decrease the amount of care they require. 

In the main, roses require a location that's sunny at least 6 
hours a day. Ideally, the location should provide good air 
circulation and receive morning sun to help dry off leaves 
early in the day. Too much shade encourages disease problems. 
If the shade is produced by mature trees, their extensive root 
systems will rob nutrients from the roses, a situation that 
results in few flowers and weak plants. 

Once you have outlined the rose bed, it's time to improve the 
soil--before planting the roses. Because roses are rather 
finicky about soil, it's a good idea to have your soil tested. 
Once the soil analysis is complete, you will know exactly what 
should be added to the soil and in what amount. 

Standard care includes watering, fertilizing, protecting 
against pests and diseases, and pruning. Roses need regular 
applications of water for top production of flowers. It makes 
no difference whether the water comes from a hose or from 
rain. Just make sure the roses receive enough water to moisten 
the soil to a depth of 18 inches every week during the growing 
season. At least two applications of fertilizer should be made, 
once when new growth first starts in the spring and again in 

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