Saturday, August 19, 2006

Rugosa Roses

A rose by any other name will never make it into my garden. Roses are the most beloved flower on the planet but some varieties are so high maintenance they're hardly worth the effort. Breeders work endlessly to improve a rose's flowering capabilites. In doing so, they weaken their natural resistance.

That's why I'm a fan of Rugosa roses.

Rugosa Roses are the most hardy, disease-resistant roses you can buy. They're also the most tolerant of poor soil conditions.

Roses love a soil pH of 6.0-6.5. My soil is in the 7.8-8.1 range, which means it's short on the goodies - phosphorus, iron, copper, zinc, boron and manganese. Amendments like compost, soil pep and peat moss do the trick. And, no matter where you live, fertilizer is essential. (It's hard work to flower all summer long!)

Roses have deep, deep roots so it's important to drench them vs. frequent light watering. If you have one of those black, plastic pots - the kind nurseries grow perennials in, you're in luck. Dig a hole and sink that black pot into the soil next to your rose bush. Fill the pot with water and voila! You've got a drip irrigation system! The water heads straight down to the roots, where it will do the most good.

* Rugosa roses come in a variety of colors. They're low maintenance and strong, long bloomers in tough conditions.
** Roses love heavy clay soils. Add lots of organic matter to keep surface roots moist and wet.
*** Click here to visit Wayside Gardens Rugosa Roses.

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