Welcome to my zone 9 garden. My roots are deeply planted in the sandy soil of sub-tropical central Florida, where the summers are long and hot, but the rest of the year is paradise!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Roses - Another Favorite

Roses are one of those plants that if I'm not careful...I could very easily develop a new obsession over. Many yards ago, I had a small rose garden with probably a dozen or so hybrid roses. I loved the look of the large hybrids for cut flowers, but their downsides all too soon became apparent...blackspot, tall, gangling appearance and no scent. 

In the past few years, I have rediscovered my love for roses thanks to the "knock-out" series. These shrub roses are perfect for the hot and humid summers in Florida. Blackspot is never an issue, and the plant grows into a nice large bushy shrub. And, the color...WOW...the original Rosa 'Radrazz'...my favorite...is a bright cherry red that lives up to its name. It truly is a "knock-out" eye-grabbing, gorgeous color in the garden.

Rosa 'Radrazz'
2000 All America Rose Selection

This spring I decided to add several more roses to my garden...for a total of 15. Uh, oh...15...the number is growing. How many do you have to have before it's considered an obsession?

I'm careful to choose roses that are as carefree as possible. I don't mind trimming them a little in February and again in August, adding fertilizer a couple times of year, but spraying them for blackspot...NO WAY! Since roses are expensive (I never buy them from the big box stores...only from Peterson's -my local nursery), I always mix up a nice cocktail of soil amendments that will make my rose bush very happy. I figure, if my rose bush is happy... it will be healthy and produce lots of blooms...and that will make me happy. :-)

My organic rose bush cocktail includes: 1/2 bucket of homemade compost, 1 cup each bloodmeal and bonemeal, several handfuls of coffee grinds, plus a handful of epsom salts. Mix well, insert rose and cover with more homemade compost and surrounding dirt. 

Once the rose is in place I sprinkle a handful of rose fertilizer around the base of the plant, add a healthy covering of pinebark mulch and water well. This year I added this pink double knock-out 'Radtkopink" to a large flowerbed in my front yard. It already has lots of blooming flowers and looks great next to the yellow African bush daisies and variegated flax lily. It looks like it will be a nice addition to this colorful flowerbed.

Pink Double Knock Out 'Radtkopink'

A second rose bush I added is Belinda's Dream. I've read a lot of good reviews on this rose...it's resistant to blackspot, loves heat and humidity and grows into a nice shrub...it sounds like the "perfect" rose for Florida. I like to incorporate my roses into existing flowerbeds, instead of having them off by themselves in a "rose bed" that contains only roses. And, that is why I only plant shrub or antique (a/k/a old fashioned) varieties. They don't get lanky and they don't need spraying. I planted Belinda's Dream between dwarf viburnum, wild petunias and lady palms.

Belinda's Dream

The third rose bush I added this year is an antique or old fashioned (whichever term you prefer - the new term is "old world") French bourbon rose called Sovenir de la Malmaison (pronounced: Su von yeah day la Mal may sone)...Ooh La La...sounds pretty fancy - doesn't it? Thank goodness the nursery lady knew how to pronouce it. Now, all I have to do is remember how she said it.

I love the look of this antique beauty when her bud is fully opened...it's 5" wide and has an intense, spicy fragrance that you don't want to stop smelling. I know I'm just going to love having her in the garden surrounded by deep burgundy lorapetlum, Shirley Temple hibiscus and variegated flax lily.

A couple of other French antique varieties in my garden are...Louis Philippe and Sombreuil.

Louis Philippe a/k/a the Cracker rose was first registed in 1834. It is well documented in books that this rose was a garden staple in "old Florida." It is one of the few that produces blooms in a partly sunny/partly shady area which is why I have it planted in my backyard. It blooms 12 months out of the year and I enjoy seeing the gorgeous, sweet smelling blooms from inside my home. The bush has grown quite large but I do trim it back slightly each February.

Oh, and then there's Sombreuil (1850)...can you tell I'm in love with this rose. I've had her for at least 12 to 15 years...she even moved with us from our last home. Actually, she's moved twice! Now, that's pretty hardy...isn't it? Her scent...you wouldn't believe how wonderfully fragrant her perfume is. I never miss the chance to place my nose up close to a blossom and inhale deeply. The scent is heavenly. It's been said that a rose is a rose...but a scented rose is far superior to any other in my book.


Ami said...

Oh, Susan! You already led me to the Orchid obsession (maybe halfway). I just posted one about my first Cattleya bloom, where I mentioned your post :) Now, you are taking me deep into the Rose obsession. I am having 8 roses now, but I think they are all tea roses. They are doing great for now. I also did a post monday of my "double delight" rose, crazy about that one.

If they don't do well this summer, I am going to introduce the knock-out since you all rave about. Also all those antique roses (if I can ever pronouce the names :). I don't know where I can get those here locally though. Oh, that Sombreuil and Sovenir de la Malmasison , they are just like dreamy color for me! Now I am hooked. you will be the one to blame! LOL

BTW, Thanks for the receipe of the rose cocktail, I will try it.

keewee said...

Susan, your roses sure do respond to all the TLC you give them.

Kimberly said...

Susan, your roses are wonderful. I had a garden of 21 roses up north..so gorgeous. When I moved to S FL I planted roses only to watch them burn in the heat. I've not tried again, although I've been encouraged by other FL residents like you who have had great luck with the knock out rose. Maybe I'll give it another try....?!?!?!

Susan said...

Ami...Oh, I see, I'm getting the blame for your new "orchid obsession." Well, that's okay with me :-). I'd say you're well on your way to a "rose obsession" too...and why not, orchids and roses...they're beautiful. By the way, I love your Jewel Box...I have the same one and it blooms every April.

Keewee...Hi and welcome! I do whisper sweet nothings to them, too. :-)

Kimberly...i know it's hard to grow roses in S. Fla. I'm not sure how the knock-out's do, but there must be some roses...perhaps the Bermudas...that are specifically for hot climates.

NanaK said...

I love seeing how you have incorporated roses throughout your garden. Thanks so much for all the info in this post AND for the "cocktail" recipe. I hope my roses will look as great as yours when they grow up. (My Belinda's Dream has 5 new buds!)

FlowerLady said...

I love your roses. I am obsessed with them also, especially the antique varieties. I've not bought any in a couple of years because of the state of the economy, so have been rooting some cuttings, hoping they take and some have. There is just something about roses that touch my heart and soul. I love their scents, colors and forms.

Happy rose growing, you can't have just one.


Susan said...

Kay...Belinda's Dream looks like it will be a great rose. Are you satisfied with it.

Flowerlady...It's not hard to fall in love with roses. They are all so beautiful. My mother has rooted some successfully, and they've done quite well. That's the great thing about old-fashioned roses.

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