Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gardening Article: Smitten With Roses

Guest author Jacqueline from, republished with permission.

The pink rose symbolizes femininity, and refinement, grace and gentleness.

The rose’s happy countenance is contagious. They comfort, cheer, and please everyone that they meet. Roses are easy to live with if you choose wisely. The many David Austin English roses are hardy and disease-free, while many of the new hybrids take lots of work. I am thankful for a selection of roses that does not take much pampering… for life has other more pressing needs!

When we moved to our home I put in 3. They are not very expensive (about $20 each) for the joy they give. I must admit I am still finding out about these beauties! There are 3 lessons I am learning:

1. This spring, I forgot that last spring the deer had a feast, chomping away on the new leaves. I had used a ‘smelly’ bar soap (Irish Spring) and found relief for the roses by placing it on the top of the fence posts… all 3 bounced back, finishing last season well. This year, my helpful husband put more soap near the 3 climbers!! The greedy deer must be made to think “Man” is close by even at dawn when they feed! If you don’t have deer, so much the better.

The young opening blossom and the older, more mature one

Wisely 2008 (above and left) is a David Austin rose of exceptional delicacy and charm. It is well suited to growing on a fence or a wall. Extremely tough, it has reliable arching growth up to 5 feet. The flowers are a soft, pure pink and have a slightly cupped rosette up to 3″ across. The substantial fragrance is of raspberry and tea.

2. Also, this spring, I forgot that it is wise to use a systemic rose fertilizer. Oh, how I dislike chemicals!!! But this is the one time I bend the rules on chemicals of any sort. I use a granular formula (Bayer All-In-One Rose and Flower Care) with great care. It fights three problems: it’s an insecticide, an anti-fungal and a fertilizer. It fights from the inside out. So this means no more spraying or combining different chemicals in order to achieve one result. It literally is three-in-one. Please use it responsibly.

3. Roses, when newly planted need 3-4 gallons, (yes, gallons!) of water /day during the hottest part of the summer. I use a 2-gallon watering can twice. Once established, they can use a good deep watering once in a while (if there is a drought), but do not water the leaves!

I want to introduce you Gertrude, or rather the Gertrude Jekyll rose, (below) by David Austin~ she will perfume your yard! Her blossoms are lighter pink around the edges when first opening, but once in full bloom the color is only the deepest pink.

Gertrude Jekyll blossoms after 3 days of rain this spring.

Deep, rich pink ~ a delight to the senses

Her flowers (above) start as perfect little scrolled buds and soon open into the most beautiful, large, rosette-shaped flowers of rich glowing pink. The 8-10 foot growth is upright and vigorous and in every way reliable. The most outstanding characteristic of this lovely rose is its perfectly-balanced Old Rose scent. The garden is suffused with it and carried by the breeze. Gertrude Jekyll was a famous garden designer, who has had a huge effect on the style of English gardens of the 2oth century.

Englishman David Austin who lives in Shropshire has spent the last 50 years perfecting these amazing roses so you and I can grow them, too. He bred them by crossing old roses with newer roses to achieve the superb fragrance, delicacy, and charm of the old-world blooms combined with the repeat flowering characteristics and wide color range of modern roses. Before you decide to plant an English rose, do research it here, and you will be rewarded with a rose that will still be there for your grandchildren. There are some special requirements for planting.

~ Jacqueline

Photos courtesy of Jacqueline.

About the author: Jacqueline writes the inspirational blog, covering organic food and gardening, health, music, and life.

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