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This Week’s Guest Blogger is Paul Zimmerman who owns his own business promoting the cultivation of Roses

Don’t Be Afraid of Roses

I always like to say there are two kinds of gardeners who don’t grow roses. Those who tried but were sold a bad rose and gave up because it was as difficult as they heard it would be and those who heard they were difficult and never tried in the first place. If you don’t grow roses, I suspect you fall into one of those two groups.

To the contrary the right rose for your garden, grown using sound sustainable methods will be no harder than any other plant in your garden. I would also argue that roses are among the best group of gardening plants we have. They come in every colour but blue, many are fragrant and will bloom all season and they grow from half a meter to almost 8 metres tall. What a versatile plant for any part of the garden.

It all starts at the same spot as all good gardening and that’s the soil. Having a good healthy soil environment is a must for any garden. There are terrific resources out there for learning how to achieve that, so I won’t go into that here.

The next step is choosing the right rose for your area. Like all plants, not all roses work well in various climates. Good local information is important. This can be local rose societies, garden clubs and even on-line forums and groups. Just make sure to say where you live. Your local botanical garden may have a rose garden. If so find out which ones do well in your area. Good garden centres are also great resources.

Like any plant include a good feeding program. I like a time release in the spring and then seaweed and/or fish based liquid feeds once a month. You can rotate between them. In terms of grooming just do so during the season like you would any other plant. Always do the three Ds which are dead, diseased and dying. Groom out weak growth as well. No need for the formal pruning methods as those were designed to get long stem blooms for the show table. When pruning roses take them down by at least a third to half. Cut down to healthy, stout growth and then do the 3 Ds. Keep it simple.

A friend of mine who is in the rose industry once said that it was remarkable that the rose industry as a whole has spent the last 70 some years scaring customers away from the very plant, they were trying to sell them! I’m happy to say that I’m going on growing roses sustainably for close to 25 years. During that time, I’ve grown thousands of roses using the same care methods and the other shrubs, perennials and bulbs I plant among them. And you can, too!

Happy Roseing
Paul Zimmerman

To find out more about roses please visit Pauls’ website http://www.paulzimmermanroses.com

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