With silver bells and cockle shells, hours of labor, blood sweat and tears––that's how they grow!
I love roses. Love, love, love them.
When we bought our home, one of the first things I did before I even touched the inside, was start with the front landscaping. Landscaping takes forever to grow! Every year I spend more money than I’d like to admit buying plants, and it’s still no where near the lush English garden I’m striving for 5 years later!
David Austin Garden Roses, in my humble opinion are the best of the best. They’re super fragrant, bred for disease resistance, and most importantly—for their beauty.
The problem I was up against in growing them was, without having a fenced in yard, I needed to come up with a clever solution to get them up high and off the ground or the deer would devour them here.
I had a custom rose trellis built around my front porch and purchased a climbing rose called the Generous Gardner by David Austin. I wanted a rose that bloomed multiple times in a season, this particular variety blooms twice once in May and again in August. When the petals open they expose numerous stamens, providing an almost water lily-like effect and contain more than 55 petals. The flowers are a pale pink and have a deliciously sweet fragrance with aspects of Old Rose, musk and myrrh. In the fall you have the red rose hips after the second bloom which are also quite nice.
Now here comes the blood sweat and tears part: Every year I go to battle with my nemesis , the aphid. I hate them with a burning passion, they are a scourge! They love the early tender leaves of the roses and lay eggs by the hundreds, eating the sap from nutritious leaves and young blooms, leaving you with malformed roses with holes!
BUT NOT ON MY WATCH! So I murder them by squishing them every morning while drinking my cup of coffee muttering to myself: How are there more?!?! My neighbors must think I am insane for staring and muttering at my roses for an extended period of time on these early spring days, but I find this to be the most effective method.
By the end my fingers are lime green and I wear a smirk of satisfaction. I have tried neem oil, spraying them with the hose, I do not use pesticides but make a homemade concoction of crushed garlic and dish soap. I skip the methods of using baking soda because it turns all of the leave white with residue, and that annoys me almost as much as the aphids do. I find this recipe to be effective after I kill as many as possible, the problem though is after it rains it needs to be repeated.
Create a garlic spray to make a safe repellent.
Crush a full head of garlic with a mortar and pestle and steep it in 2 cups of hot water for 24 hours. Strain the garlic with a colander and fill a spray bottle with your garlic-infused water. Add 1 tablespoon of dish soap and put the cap on before shaking it. Spray every section of your rose plant 2-3 times until it’s fully misted with the spray.
- The garlic spray won’t kill any bugs. It will simply make the plant unappealing for aphids and other pests.
- Make sure that you spray the underside of leaves as well.
I will be making mine tomorrow–– this is war!
Fertilizing is another crucial part of the rose growing game.
Start feeding older plants in spring when new growth is about 6 inches long. Most will benefit from a second feeding of liquid fertilizer after the first bloom, and repeat-blooming roses do best with regular feeding every 2-3 weeks until late summer. I use Down to Earth Fertilizer in the spring. The nitrogen in this organic dry fertilizer supports leaf and stem growth and the potassium helps improve overall plant health. When it's time to flower, the high percentage of phosphorous in this fertilizer blend will help grow the best flowers. After the first bloom I switch to a liquid fertilizer and use Dr. Earth Total Advantage Rose & Flower Fertilizer.
I save some of my coffee grounds and add it to the base of my roses as well and mix it in with the mulch.
When my roses are in bloom I cut them and put them in every room of my house and live like the Queen of England for two weeks, nothing makes me happier! Truly these are some of my happiest weeks of the year. I give some to my neighbors and friends and share my joy and prized possessions with the ones I love most.
After the first bloom you need to cut back all the dead buds with your clippers. If any are remaining for the second round, repeat and enjoy!