The beginning of June is filled with roses. Here’s something to try. Purchase blooming roses in containers from local nurseries so you’ll be able to see and smell the goods before you dig in and prepare a proper planting hole.
Here in the cool summer climate of Western Washington, roses can suffer from black spot, mildew and other fungus among us. Choosing disease-resistant roses is the easiest way to enjoy healthy rose plants. A location in full sun with good air circulation around the plants also helps to keep rose foliage free of disease.
I’ll promise you a rose garden if you remember that these superstars of the flower garden demand plenty to eat and drink.
Here are the most-asked rose growing questions from readers.
Q. What is the best type of rose for our climate in Western Washington?
A. If you want easy care, then invest in the newest group of roses on the market called landscape roses. Those varieties can be treated more like flowering shrubs than traditional rose plants.
They are shrubby roses with superior disease resistance, but they still need sun, good soil that drains well and plenty of fertilizer to keep them belting out blooms all summer. Look for The Flower Carpet roses, a low-growing multi-flora available in a variety of colors including coral, pink, white and red. Or try the Knock Out rose, blooming taller and with larger blooms in deep pink, or a line of roses called Easy Elegance with flowers that are similar in shape to the hybrid tea rose, but with more blooms per stem.
The garden gossip on landscape roses is that the blooms do not last as long as cut flowers, and they do not have long stems.
Q. I have heard you speak at different times, and you have some rule about choosing roses that will be more disease resistant. I need to replace some of my hybrid tea roses and do not want the shrubby landscape rose because I want to grow roses for cut flowers to bring indoors. What do you recommend?
A. Think pink with no stink. This means roses in shades of pink with little or no fragrance will be the most naturally disease resistant. This explains why the easy-care landscape roses are most often pink without much fragrance. An old fashioned pink rose with clusters of small blooms called “The Fairy” does especially well in Western Washington.
When it comes to hybrid tea roses with large blooms, there are more color choices with disease resistance. The tall grandiflora Queen Elizabeth, the peach and yellow Peace rose and the Double Delight rose with cream blooms, edged with deep pink, are varieties that have done well in my own garden. The joy of growing roses is in the diversity of the varieties. Don’t deny yourself the joy of trying new colors, new forms and roses rich with fragrance. If a rose does not do well for you, just dig it out — you do not owe any plant a lifetime commitment.
Q. Where can I learn more about how to properly prune my roses? I have purchased a home with climbing roses and a separate more formal rose garden, and I am new to the area.
A. Contact the local chapter of the American Rose Society at ars.org for information and demonstrations and you’ll learn care from local experts. Their official website has free videos on planting, pruning and caring for roses, and local chapters offer pruning demonstrations.
If you decide to officially join, you will receive copies of their magazine, bulletins on the latest in rose varieties and care and discounts to visit gardens and to purchase roses from their partners. Members of the ARS also earn free advice from a consulting rosarian who lives in their area.