Even as a very young girl I liked roses, my dad grew them in his garden and so did his mum, my paternal grandmother. And what's not to like about roses? They look great and smell great too. For me a real rose is one that has a scent. A rose without a nice fragrance is like an apple pie without the apples, not much fun at all.
I enjoy coming home and walking underneath my pergola that's covered with Rosa Madame Alfred Carriere and Guirlande d'Amour. The scent is unbelievable and being showered with rose petals, well, that's just a bonus, isn't it?
Close up of Rosa Madame Alfred Carriere, a scented climber.
Many roses are also long flowering. My roses have been flowering from the end of April and are still going strong now. Sure, their blooms are not as prolific anymore as earlier in the year but there are still more than enough blooms to gladden the heart.
Rosa Guirlande d'Amour in full glory earlier this year.
Many people like roses but many a gardener is afraid to grow them, thinking that roses need to be pampered and require being sprayed every other week or so. Fortunately that's not the case at all. Let me tell you how I bought and grow my roses and how little trouble they actually are.
Rosa Calypso, a climber.
Last year in June I bought my roses at a very reputable rose nursery to be sure to get healthy and strong roses. When I got my roses home I put them in a bucket of water and started digging the holes. I garden on heavy clay so I dug big holes and put lots of organic material in them. Then I planted my roses and gave them a good watering in. After that I sat on my garden bench to enjoy the view.
Rosa Magenta, a standard rose.
The roses I bought were: Madame Alfred Carriere, Guirlande d'Amour, Sombreuil (all scented climbers) and Rosa Blanc Double de Coubert, not a real climber but one that still grows to quite a respectable height.
Rosa Blanc Double de Coubert
In early July I gave all my climbers a very light trim and that was pretty much all I did that first year. Well, except for enjoying them and cutting blooms for the vase.
Rosa Guirlande d'Amour flowering like there's no tomorrow!
This year in early March I gave them all a light trim again, removed dead wood and very thin and straggly branches. Then I gave them a good feed with an organic rose fertilizer and that was that. As I said before they started flowering in April (Moonlight) and all the others in May. They flowered their little hearts out with gay abandon and all I did was admire my roses and drink in their lovely scent. In July I gave them another very light prune and another helping of organic fertilizer and that was all that was needed to have them flower even now at the end of October.
So no spraying, not even with water, was needed to keep my roses healthy and happy. If you buy healthy and strong roses that are disease resistant you don't have to spray at all. Just make sure that the air can circulate around them, give them a good feed twice a year and give climbers a light trim twice yearly too in March and July and you're home and dry.
A close up of Rosa Guirlande d'Amour
But, but, but don't you have any pests, I hear you sputter? Sure, take a look at these babies. Yikes!
But they're not really a problem at all. Why not? Well, because I have good garden friends who like to munch on them. Here's one of them and see, no aphids left! Birds are also very keen on eating the aphids, especially the blue tits.
So there you have it, growing roses in a blissful way, with hardly any maintenance and enormous enjoyment.
Rosa Madame Alfred Carriere flowering on the pergola, trying to climb the roof as well.
copyright 2007: Y.E.W. Heuzen
The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown,
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.
The rose is most certainly not out of town at Bliss!