By Lucy Harrell T.C.N.P.-A Specialist On Demanding Environments

Having roses can be easy if you just plant them the right way in the right spot and understand a few things about how roses grow. Since I don’t know what you have been taught—let’s just start over and learn this simple way from scratch.

Antique or Old roses are the best choice because they are the most disease resistant to start with. Of course as with almost anything-There are a few exceptions

Here are things to consider:

*Roses need good drainage.

*Most Roses need 6 hours of sun or more—but there are a few that will take quite a bit of shade and still bloom well – the best of these is Dame de Cour a lovely shrub rose and Vanity –a hot pink climber

*Pick a site with good airflow.

*Plant your rose by digging a hole in moist soil that is only as deep as you need it [ the base of the rose needs to be above ground] and about twice as wide as you need it. Do not plant too deep. Be sure your rose is well watered before planting it. I like to plant my roses with a mixture of equal parts of worm castings, rock phosphate,rabbit manure and lavasand –add a cup of this mixture to the soil that you removed to make the hole. (note-sometimes you can find a product made by Rabbit Hill Farm called Something Special-which is this exact mixture ) or you can add Rose Glo, or Natures Guide Rose Planting mix or Lady Bug Rose Magic and add rock phosphate & wormcasting mix also. Loosen the roots of the rose gently to let the roots grow out and not around– as they were growing in the pot and place it in the hole.

*Wet the hole-and add the amendments—*Place the roots of the rose in the hole *Fill the hole with a solution of Maxicrop Seaweed solution (2 Tablespoons to a gallon of water) being sure to soak the roots. Push the mixture of soil and amendments down in the hole to stabilize the rose.

*Add 3” of Mulch to the area around the rose —not right up on the base of the rose– and water the area well. Mulch is important for both moisture retention and disease control. Your choice of mulch –as long as it won’t wash away—Roses really love Pine Straw Mulch.

*Be sure to companion plant your roses with one or more of the systemic and repellant herbs for fungal and insect control such as society garlic, or oregano , and believe it or not -tomatoes -to keep it healthy and FYI- basil keeps a dark pink or red rose from losing it’s color in the sun and repels insects ( plant tomatoes and basil after last frost)

* Be sure to put your newly planted rose on the 28 day watering schedule-attached in this newsletter

*Now that your rose is planted and established you need to understand what it is telling you–so listen closely.

*If it has quit blooming and has a lot of dead heads on it- it is saying –cut me back a little on each stem down to just above any 5 leaf node. A three-leaf node will not hold the bloom up well so if the blooms are hanging down it is saying– you cut me wrong. If your rose has dark brown dead looking stems appear at the top of the stem after you deadheaded — it is telling you that you cut below a node, which is wrong—re-cut– being careful to leave the node on the end of the cut. ( always cut just above a node)

*After deadheading or cutting back add a product like Humalfa Humore , Lady bug Flower power or rabbit manure by spreading the product over the drip line ( never close to the trunk) and you will be rewarded with extra blooms. *Be sure when you deadhead or prune your roses that you make a cut that will not hold water on it— cut on an angle so that any water will roll off as soon as it hits that cut. Never trim anything when it is raining-especially roses.

*You may want to cut your roses back to shape them better or control their size—After Valentines Day and before the end of March is a good time for this unless the rose only blooms in the Spring in which case you would cut it back after it blooms.

*If your rose has yellow leaves or black spots on older leaves- -it is trying to knock them off so it can replace them with new ones-smack it with a broom to help this happen faster and they will fall off. If black spots appear on new leaves then your microclimate is wrong for that rose—you need to fix the condition or move the rose. (example of creating a microclimate that causes a problem—a pool in a yard with high wooden fences and poor air flow) Roses on the Favorites list on my web site are less likely to have problems with more humid conditions. www.organicgardeningtx.com

*Now you can just sit back and smell the roses—you have done everything right for your roses and they will reward you with lots of blooms—and no fussing.

Be sure to check out the article that I attached this time about my favorite roses for your gardens here-it is filled with pictures and info of a list of what I consider the best roses for our ever changing climate. It is my desire to make your organic gardening experience successful & stress free. Gardening should be a labor of love –not a love of labor.

Love & Luck Lucy Harrell

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