Welcome to Rose Day at May Dreams Gardens.
Following the tradition of the Plant Doctor, Cynthia Westcott, I am showing you my roses on the second Sunday of June.
Westcott was a plant pathologist who made her living partly by tending to other people’s rose gardens. She also started a tradition of opening up her gardens in New Jersey on the second Sunday of June to show neighbors and others (hundreds of others) all her roses and convince them that roses were easy to grow.
For her Rose Day, Westcott baked hundreds of cookies and mixed up gallons of punch. For my Rose Day, I’ll just a post a few pictures of the few roses I grow here at May Dreams Gardens, tantalize you with a bit of Westcott’s ten commandments of rose care and then proceed on my merry way to spend my day in solitude in my own garden while reflecting or roses and thistle and life in general.
I have just three roses to show on my Rose Day. Above is a pink climbing rose. I got just a snip of a rooted piece from my Aunt Marjorie years ago and carried that snip from one house to another to here. I can count on it to bloom once each year, smell like a rose should smell, and not be bothered by blackspot or other common rose diseases. It receives no special treatment.
Aunt Marjorie’s Pink Rose is just past bloom but still looks nice off in its own corner of the garden.
Nearby, another carefree rose is blooming.
This is Oso Easy® Cherry Pie rose. This mass planting is actually three plants. When the garden designer brought them to plant, we had to mark their locations with sticks because they were tiny starts in three inch pots. This is their third spring. I’ve never cut, sprayed, sliced, diced, chopped or otherwise lifted one finger for these roses. They’ve done well with no care.
Out in front are what seems to be a harder rose to find, the yellow blooming Sunny Knock Out® Rosa, Rosa ‘Radsunny’.
I cut these roses back earlier this spring to about eight inches high. They’ve responded well, growing nearly three feet in just a few months. They’ll reach a height of five to six feet by next year. I’ll cut them back every few years to about a foot or eight inches, just to keep them in check. This is the most I do for any rose around here.
The yellow buds of ‘Radsunny’ do fade to cream with a hint of pink.
I think that’s a nice feature of this rose, along with its disease resistance and easy care
As promised, here are the ten commandments of rose care from Anyone Can Grow Roses by Cynthia Westcott (1952)
1. Locate rose beds properly. Plant away from tree roots, where the sun shines at least six hours a day and where this is reasonably good drainage.
2. Prepare the soil thoroughly. Work the soil for roses thoroughly to two spade’s depth and incorporate organic matter generously.
3. Plant carefully. Plant No. 1 field grown roses carefully, at the right time for your section.
4. Prune with common sense. Prune in spring, cutting back to sound wood and making all cuts close to the bud.
5. Feed judiciously. Fertilize established roses soon after pruning, as they are coming in to bloom, and again in summer, but not after August 15th, in the North.
6. Water prudently. Water thoroughly, when necessary, always making sure the foliage has time to dry off before evening.
7. Mulch and relax. Mulch with buckwheat hulls, bagasse, ground corncobs, pine needles, sawdust or other material soon after feeding.
8. Treat for diseases and pest regularly. Start summer spraying or dusting soon after roses come into full leaf and repeat about once a week until mid-autumn.
9. Beware winter protection. Your best winter protection is a healthy plant. Soil mounds and other coverings are only needed in very cold regions.
10. Love your roses. Love your roses enough to know when they are healthy and happy and don’t disturb them with unnecessary attention.
Rose care and the roses we have available haves changed some over the decades since Westcott wrote her list. Primarily, I think fewer and fewer gardeners want to grow roses that require spraying or dusting to stay healthy. I know I don’t want fussy roses that require spraying! I am grateful that there are many good rose choices that don’t require spraying.
Because of the easy to grow varieties I’ve chosen for my garden, I am mostly just following the last commandment… love your roses. I love mine because they don’t need spraying, ever, and grow well with minimal care.
Happy Rose Day!