Hassle-Free Roses

Roses can be the most dramatic and spectacular plants in your garden. No matter how hassle free a rose is supposed to be, remember that putting some time and energy into your roses will increase the number of blooms, prevent diseases and fungus, and improve the beauty of the display. However, for those with little time, the time needed for rose care can be daunting.

These are the specific things I look for in choosing a rose:
“¢ Climber, shrub, or topiary (standard)
“¢ Color
“¢ Fragrance
“¢ Size
“¢ Disease and cold resistance
“¢ Constant blooming throughout the season

In spite of how hassle free a rose might be, for me a rose has to have a beautiful fragrance. I never sacrifice this in a rose. In June, as the first massive flowering occurs, I delight in the rose perfume wafting through my garden. Here are a few of my favorite hassle free roses that still give you the rose experience: fragrance and beauty.

Upright Bush
Tamora Apricot
William Shakespeare 2000 Red
Heritage* Pink
Molineux* Yellow
Graham Thomas* Yellow
Little White Pet* White
Cameo Perfume Pink
Queen Elizabeth Pink
Sombreuil* White
Eden* Pink, hints of yellow
The Pilgrim* Yellow
America Salmon
Climbing Iceberg White
New Dawn* Pink
White New Dawn* White
Golden Showers Yellow
Climbing Cecil Brunner Pink
Colette Pink
Blaze Improved Red
Shrub / Hedge Roses
Carefree Beauty Pink
Prairie Star White
Darlow’s Enigma White (Shade Tolerant)
Bonica Pink
Scarlet Meidiland Scarlet
Sunsprite Yellow
Saratoga White
Groundcover Roses
Seafoam White
White Meidiland Pink


Of course, thousands of rose varieties exist. Once the rose bug bites you, you may spend hours researching which ones are perfect for your garden. Some tips for growing good roses:

Order bare root roses in the fall for delivery in the spring. The internet is full of rose catalogs and suppliers.

Planting and Care
Your soil should be humus rich and slightly acidic, ph around 6.5. Choose a location that receives at least 5 hours of sun a day. Plant 18″ apart if you are planting in groups or clumps. Plant among other perennials with an eye toward matching size and color. Plant your bare root rose as soon as it arrives, preferably soaking it in water overnight. Dig a hole deep enough for the bud union to be about 4″ below ground level. Add peat or manure (from the nursery) to amend the soil you have dug out and refill the hole with the rose in it. Mound the base with mulch, soil or compost until the plant leafs out.

Fertilize regularly throughout the spring and summer. At the start of winter, heap mulch or hay around the plant to protect it until early spring. Watering is essential. Especially for new plants, water roses at the root base with a slow trickle from the hose for 30 to 60 minutes/week. An inground drip line can be set to do this automatically.

Experts differ on when to prune. If a severe winter is on the way, a drastic pruning in the fall can weaken the plant. I always clean up the bush in late fall by simply cutting any long and unsightly canes with an eye toward maintaining the shrub shape that I want. Then, in early spring, before any buds or leaves appear, I cut out dead canes, shape the shrub and cut it down some, and clean up the interior of the rose bush by taking out the small criss-crossing canes and leaving the hardy healthy ones with plenty of air between them. Roses love to be pruned because it stimulates the plant to send out plenty of fresh green canes in spring.

Roses like well-drained soil. Always mulch to keep the soil moist and weed free. If your rose dies mysteriously, it may well be poor drainage and/or not enough sun.

Deadheading helps to increase the re-blooming of all roses. The more you dead-head, the more blooms you will have along with a neater looking plant. Cut the flower head off at about å_” above the next 5-leaf joint on the same stem. Use sharp shears for a clean cut. Although most hardy roses will do relatively well without deadheading, the results will be much less spectacular.

By all means, cut your roses and bring them into the house. I try to entertain a lot in June when my house is filled with many rose bouquets from my garden. Guests arrive and gasp at the picture-book beauty of a rose display on the mantle or on the dining room table. Plants continue to bloom right up until late October or early November. I place a small bouquet on my nightstand for the sweetest garden dreams ever.

And there you have it.