Roses are an old standby for any garden and one of the worlds favorite flowers. There are over 5,000 varieties of roses in the United States and they can be used to enhance your garden in many ways — as creepers, shrubs, vines, climbers, hedges or just as beds of pure colour.
When picking out roses for your garden, it is important to get healthy plants. Make sure the stems are green and not shriveled and the roots are moist and partly fibrous. The most expensive rose is not always the best rose; it may be only a newcomer, much discussed and, therefore, a favorite.
In general, there are two types of roses: bush roses and climbers. Bush roses are shrub like and climbers produce canes that require some sort of support. The most commonly planted type of bush rose is the hybrid tea rose. Other types of bush roses include polyanthas (roses in large clusters), the fioribundas (large-flowered polyanthas), and the hybrid perpetuals (vigorous growers with a great crop in June and continuous blooming throughout the summer).
The climbers include ramblers, whose long pliant canes have large clusters of small roses that can be used for covering walls, fences and banks. The climbers also are pillar roses, adapted to growing near buildings and on posts and the climbing hybrid tree.
If you are contemplating planting roses in your garden, make sure you pick out the proper spot and prepare the soil appropriately. You should use garden loam with organic matter that contains peat moss, leaf mould, compost, rotted or commercial manure. Prepare the soil in the rose beds well before in order to allow for settling of the soil.
You can plant roses in fall or spring, but fall is actually best. When planting roses, inspect the roots to make sure they have not dried and if they have make sure you soak them before planting. Trim back any roots that are weak, long or broken.
Set the plant in a hole that is large enough so that the roots can spread. The part of the plant where the top attaches to the roots (called the bud) should be just under the surface of the ground. Plants should be spaced 18" apart. Prune the branches back to about 8" from the soil.
To grow good roses it is necessary to cultivate, to prune and to spray. If you have a well-cultivated bed you need not worry about watering. But if you start to water in hot weather, you must keep it up, soaking the roots thoroughly about once a week. Spraying every 10 days guards against the diseases and insects that attack roses. Nicotine sulphate wipes out the green lice; arsenate of lead is used against chewing insects; or sulphur and arsenate of lead may be used in a dust, as may DDT dust.
When winter approaches, protect your roses by piling sod or straw mulch around them. If you have climbing roses, remove the supports and place the canes on the ground, peg them, and cover with soil mounds.
Lee Dobbins writes for Backyard Garden and Patio where you can find out more about gardening and garden flowers .