Building The Perfect Rose Bed
I’m not sure if selecting roses is a science or an art. I do know there are over 10 000 rose varieties available throughout the world to choose from and they don’t come cheap!
Selecting roses, therefore, must follow some guiding principles, some planned process, or failure and bankruptcy would soon follow.
Putting in a new rose bed can be expensive so we need to plan…but first the art!
There is no point in selecting a rose we don’t like so first of all we must like the bloom, find the flower that you like. Do this by visiting friends, gardens and several garden shops and making a list. Notice what grows well and what you like in your neighbors garden: find out what grows well in your area.
I also suggest getting in touch with your nearest Rose Society and asking if they have a list of recommended roses for your area. Most clubs do.
Next, try and consult the local rosarian. Ask the Local Rose Society for a mentor or ask your neighbors who grows roses in the town. Spend some time talking and making lists of ‘what grows well’.
You see, each zone is climatically different so it pays to know your planting zones: the internet will give you access to a zonal map by doing a simple search. Make sure the rose you choose can handle the climate especially if the winters are severe or the summers extremely hot.
You need to decide on your favorite colors, whether you want strong fragrance, the bloom type, (single, double, ruffled, miniature etc),the final growth size of the bush and it’s disease resistance. When selecting roses don’t forget that you will need space between the full grown bushes for air to circulate, and climbers will need something to climb on and the space to do it.
You need to choose your types or a mixture of types. Do you like the David Austin blooms, Hybrid Tea’s, Floribundas or Grandifloras. Do you prefer the larger shrub roses and do you have room for the species roses. The older roses only bloom once….. do you prefer repeat blooming? Maybe you would like a carpet rose, or ramblers along a fence or miniatures in a pot.
So far it’s not been a science or an art but the ability to answer a long list of questions……… when selecting roses, yes, its best to make a list and check it twice!
The American Rose Society puts out a booklet yearly, ranking many roses, on a ten point scale. I find this useful in ranking one rose over another in my list of possibles. But the best way is to talk with a true rose grower at a rose garden center. They will know what grows best, it’s height and requirements.
Once your list is ready, you need to decide on potted or bare root. Bare root roses can be ordered online and arrive by mail or sometimes can be purchased at your favorite rose garden center. These are planted in fall and will bloom the following spring.
Potted roses will be planted in spring and start to bloom in the summer but will not be their best until the second year unless they are several years old when purchased.
You can also buy roses in plastic, often covered in wax for shipment, but I can’t honestly say I would recommend these.
When picking them out, look for strong vase shaped growth, dark leaves and a large solid root ball. Be careful when transporting them home that you protect the top foliage: keep it from the wind which will dry it out and be careful not to damage any new buds.
Your dream of a new rose bed is becoming a reality and all your hard planned work selecting roses will begin to pay of. We just need to find out the best way of planting them: planting for success is needed next!