But if I had to pick my favorite flower, roses would be #1. Part of me wishes I loved something exotic and interesting even more then the classic, but nothing can beat the beauty and fragrance of a rose in my opinion. My choice of wedding flower is also a tribute to that classic beauty.
At our first house, one of the first things I did was plant a row of rose bushes. I was lucky that I picked a good spot in the sun considering at that point I knew nothing about them except that I loved how they looked. I learned a lot from those plants and I was tempted to add them to the sales contract and move them to the new house. But for some reason Derek and the realtor did not agree with that idea.
When we moved to our new house, the landscaping took second place to the interior renovations so all last spring and summer I was roseless. It was a very sad summer not to have vases of flowers in the house like I had gotten used to. So when we, I mean I, decided to do all the landscaping this year the roses were on the top of my list. We got them planted a little late so they took some time to really start blooming, but now I have more blooms than I know what to do with. Here is a rather blurry pic of just one of the bushes (there is a reason why this is not a photography blog)-
And a bloom on another bush-
Here is the collection that I spread through the house. There is nothing like a vase of beautifully smelling flowers to make you smile. I set a vase the places that I spend a lot of time in- next to the computer, on the end table in the family room, next to the kitchen sink, on the counter in the powder room, on the kitchen table and on my nightstand. When I snapped this pic the white bush was really producing and slowly it has been changing over to the red bush with the pink one bringing up the rear.
While I don't pretend to know everything about this plant (there are some people that are really into it), I have picked up some knowledge along the way. So here is my version of Roses for Dummies (again based on my experience and no formal training:))
-Roses need a lot of sun to thrive- 6 hours of direct sun at a minimum. If you don't have this you won't get a lot of blooms and you will get a lot more disease.
-There are so many different types of rose but the two families that you see most often are hybrid teas and grandiflora. Hybrid teas produce less flowers, but they are more the "classic" rose shape and the blooms generally last longer. Grandiflora are covered in blooms, but are more difficult to cut because their stems are so much shorter . All my current roses are hybrid teas.
-Roses also need to be fed in order to produce blooms. I have see a lot of slow release stuff that is really easy to use, but I have had the most success with weekly feedings of Miracle-Gro for Roses. Yes I have to do it weekly, but I just dump a spoonful in a watering can and go. Also stop feeding a couple of weeks before the end of the season. If the rose is in bloom when a frost hits, it is much harder on the plant.
-When you water roses, water at the base and do not douse the leaves. Wet leaves equal fungus.
-I spray them with fungicide every other week and an insecticide every six weeks. Hey I never said they were organic and this really helps prevent disease before it starts.
-Don't feel bad cutting blooms and bringing them inside to enjoy, this actually encourages more flowering.
-In Zone 5 I have winterized them two ways. The first year, after they were completely dormant, we covered the bases with a huge amount of mulch and wrapped burlap and twine around the branches. I sure the neighbors loved how they looked all winter. The second year, we were selling so I was bad an just mulched a little and called it good. Since we sold in the spring I can tell you that they came back just fine with the "lazy" way but I can't comment if the flower production was affected in the summer. The roses were also against the deck so they had some wind protection.
My last tip (and I am exhibiting my bad sense of humor with this one)- Make sure you take the time to stop and smell them. I crack myself up:).