Saturday, February 5, 2011

Roses for Valentine's Day

Mark Cullen had a good suggestion: give a rose bush for Valentine's Day. I think that is a great idea. In my shady garden I still enjoy roses with their long blooming colour. But you have to be careful which ones you pick. I have an Iceberg climbing rose newly planted last year. I will let you know how it does. I also have Carefree beauty which blooms it's little heart out on a scant 4 hours of sun.
Another recommended variety for a shade garden is the shrub rose,"Therese Bugnet".

I want roses which are hardy and don't require much winter protection. You do have to cut roses back to about 1 meter or less in our climate so the winter winds won't whip the canes around and you also have to hill them up. I put 20- 40cm of loose soil around my roses as close the first frost as I can manage.  It probably helps those confounded Japanese beetles survive the winter, but I have a ruthless crushing policy as they emerge. (Shake and drown in soapy water, also works well.)
The other job is to get out early enough in the Spring to get the mound of soil off the roses and cut back the winter kill on the canes.  Be sure to use sharp pruning shears to cut out dead wood.