Fall in love with roses

Have you ever planted roses? They are one of the most revered garden choices the world over. A short visit to our own Tyrrell Park Rose Garden will demonstrate just how well roses can grow here.

The charming old book “The Pleasures of Gardening” by Angela Stanford gives some fun history of the rose. Egyptian roses were shipped to Rome when the Italian roses were out of bloom. On Nero’s order, millions of rose petals were strewn in the streets during festivals.

The Empress Josephine created one of the first rose gardens a Malmaison, France. There were many beds planted entirely with roses. The famous artist Redoute painted them at Josephine’s request.

By 1826, due to their popularity, one prominent London nursery had 1,292 varieties in stock! Rose petal sandwiches were a great favorite at Victorian tea parties. Tea roses were named after the delicate fragrance of China tea that escaped from their petals.

Many myths, sayings and truths surround the long loved rose. “Oh, my Love’s like a red red rose … That’s newly sprung in June,” wrote R. Burns in 1796. The rose is mentioned more than 60 times by William Shakespeare. “When I have plucke’d thy rose, I cannot give it vital growth again, It needs must wither: I’ll smell it on the tree,” wrote Shakespeare in 1602.

Roses need a sunny position with fertile soil. Hybrid tea and floribunda roses need to be pruned to stimulate vigorous growth. Old fashioned shrub roses need little attention. It has been suggested that garlic, chives or parsley planted next to a rose bush will deter aphids. Garlic also protects against mildew and blackspot. Buried banana skins provide roses with potash. Go fall in love with the rose and you might want to try some in your own yard.

Joette is an avid gardener and prides  herself on staying up-to-date on the latest gardening activities and tips. To share your gardening news with Joette, call (409) 832-1400. Her e-mail is joreger [at] msn [dot] com.