How To Use Roses: Questions and Answers

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Here are the different questions and answers on how to grow and use roses.

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Question: I have a privet hedge along one side of my driveway. In front of it, I would like to plant a row of floribunda roses. Would you combine CIRCUS and BABY BLAZE for a colorful effect?

Answer: CIRCUS and BABY BLAZE planted side by side make a great show, but in as much as a privet hedge steals moisture and nutrients from the soil many feet around it, this is not the location for roses. 

If you can, why not use the roses on the opposite side of the driveway as an informal low hedge, and plant ivy or another ground cover along the base of the privet hedge?

Question: I have difficulty keeping the edges of the beds of my rose garden straight and trimmed. The beds are narrow, and a brick or stone edging to define them would dwarf their appearance. What else could I use for this purpose?

Answer: The new steel edgings are quite inconspicuous and ideal for rose gardens, or you might treat boards with a wood preservative and half bury them around the edges of the bed.

Question: I have a fence across the front of my property on which I am going to plant CLIMBING GOLDILOCKS. As you know, it blooms continuously and the yellow flowers will look beautiful contrasted with the blue shutters on our house. Should I set the plants between the posts or at each post?

Answer: If the posts have been creosoted or if they are set in concrete, place the climbers between them. Otherwise, it makes little difference; the effect will be the same.

Question: My husband doesn’t want me to train a climbing rose on the side of our clapboard house. He claims it may rot the wood and will certainly ruin his paint job. I’ve seen pictures in books and can’t agree with him. Who is right?

Answer: If the rose is trained on a trellis placed on brackets that extend 8 inches out from the house, air will circulate behind the rose. The wood will not rot and the paint will not chip because of moisture. If you had thought of just tying the rose canes to nails in the clapboards, your husband is probably correct.

Question: What can I do to make my rose garden attractive in winter? I live in Evanston, Illinois, and find that heavy winter mulch is necessary even though it is unsightly.

Answer: A few evergreens, perhaps at the corners of your rose beds or as a low edging behind or around them, would give a bit of winter color, and the mulch would not be so conspicuous. 

Some of the dwarf yews would be a good choice for this purpose, or an edging of Teucrium chamaedrys, listed in catalogs as germander, would give the effect of dwarf box used to edge rose beds in more southerly gardens.

Question: Our study has a picture window with a plant well beneath it on the outside of the house. I thought it would be lovely to plant roses so they could be seen in the room. Would you plant hybrid teas or floribundas?

Answer: Floribundas are probably your best bet because they bloom more constantly than hybrid teas. In selecting a variety—and probably only one variety will be needed—watch the color scheme of your room, for you don’t want the roses to clash with the draperies, etc. 

We assume that this plant well will get at least six hours of sun each day and that you will fill it with good soil and provide adequate drainage.

Question: The shrub planting along the front of my house sure looks drab in summer—nothing but green, green, green. In the winter, I’m satisfied with its appearance. 

I keep reading that roses won’t bloom well in competition with shrubs; otherwise, I would plant a few roses in front of the evergreens for a hit of summer color. Should I risk it?

Answer: There’s nothing like an experiment! If the roses will get plenty of sun, go ahead and try it. You may have to water them more than is usually necessary for roses in your area; also, you might feed them every six weeks or so to make up for the nutrients that the evergreens will surely prevent the roses from utilizing. Good luck!

Question: I don’t have room in my yard for a separate rose garden, so will it be possible for me to plant a few roses in my small perennial border? I would especially like to try the new grandiflora QuEEN ELIZABETH because I understand that it is good for cutting.

Answer: QUEEN ELIZABETH is excellent for cutting and should do well in your perennial border if you grow low plants around it so it has space to develop. A rose or two will make a beautiful accent.

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