Write a blog about roses? We could write a book. One of America’s favorite plants, there are so many varieties that can be used in a variety of ways. Many people enjoy having entire rose gardens. At Details Landscape Art, however, one of the North Bay’s premier design-build contractors, we prefer to design gardens using occasional roses as accents and splashes of color.
First a word of caution. Roses are among the highest water-use plants, and also one of the highest maintenance plants. They are susceptible to pests (aphids, spider mites and thrips) and foliar diseases (rust, powdery mildew and black spot), and must be sprayed or treated accordingly. Repeat-flowering varieties need to be fertilized regularly. And pruning is an art form. As with all plants, always thin out dead weak branches, and remove all suckers. In spite of these issues, many homeowners love having the profusion of blooms that they produce.
Roses can be classified in the following ways: they can be modern large-flowered roses, modern climbers, miniatures or modern landscape roses. Modern large-flowered varieties include hybrid teas and grandifloras. Hybrid teas, which are by far the most popular, are generally larger ‘cutting’ roses, one flower per stem, and grow up to six feet tall. Thousands of varieties have been hybridized over the last one hundred and fifty years. Grandifloras are more vigorous, growing up to ten feet tall, and produce hybrid tea type flowers. Climbers include both natural climbers and climbing varieties of shrub roses. As the name suggests, miniatures are smaller versions (up to one and one half feet tall) of other varieties, and have many uses including containers, window boxes and colorful borders. The modern landscape rose family, including polyanthas and floribundas are more garden types that produce an abundance of smaller blooms for a mass floral effect and are not for cutting. Then there is the whole world of ‘Old Roses’ (before 1867), consisting of both the old European and Asian roses.
Within each of the categories (and there are a myriad of sub-categories), there are dozens and even hundreds of varieties and colors, way too numerous to name, with new varieties continually being hybridized.
Roses require full sun, regular water, plenty of air circulation, and reasonably good drainage. The American Rose Society grades modern roses each year on a scale of 1 to 10. Grading, however, doesn’t tell the full story. Different plants perform well in various climates, and varieties and certain colors are sensitive to heat, sun, fog, cool summers, cold winters. Selecting the right rose for the right situation and climate is critical. From late fall to early spring, all roses are available as bare-root plants. Container-grown plants can be purchased during the growing season.
Details Landscape Art is sensitive to the needs and lifestyle of our clients. Many of our homeowners are interested in color in the garden, yet minimal maintenance. One of our favorite and most used rose is the Iceberg variety. It is a floribunda that produces masses of large white flowers, yet requires little more than a once or twice yearly pruning to shape.