A Good Home

A Way With Roses

Cynthia Reyes

I have a way with roses.

Image Via agardendiary.com Image Via thegardendiary.com

Mostly, I kill them.

The problem is that I like roses, but roses would rather die than hang around me.

Now, at the start of another spring, I’m again caught between desire and common sense.


“Give your roses full sun”,  the gardening books said.

So I planted my roses in sunny places.

They died.

Photo by Hamlin Grange Photo by Hamlin Grange

Finally, one rose  gave me hope.

It bloomed.  It survived three winters.   And bloomed profusely.

And then it died.


One spring, the smell of a rose caught my nose.  It was a bushy pink rose that grew on tall thorny canes.

The woman in the garden centre said it was a shrub rose, and was “indestructible”.

Music to my ears.

It was one of those times when hope triumphs over experience.

I promptly bought three.

Via agardendiary.com Healthy roses Via thegardendiary.com

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15 thoughts on “A Way With Roses”

  1. Cynthia, it may not be you but your soil, there is a condition called replant disease, where a rose planted where a previous one has failed will most likely also become diseased. The remedy is to change the soil, not the gardener! I read one of your commenters said get local advice, that’s what I would say too. Black spot in polluted areas is rarely a problem, it’s more prevalent in clean air places, so at least that’s a good sign.

      1. There is a very good page on the RHS website, (just type in replant disease on that website) explaining this, with suggestions as to how to deal with it. I would definitely try some and they also suggest roses which have been shown to have resistance to replant disease.

  2. Yay:) a happy ending! Yes, shrub roses are those tough guys you see in shopping centre parking lots–they get inundated with salt all winter and exhaust and all that bad stuff and still keep it coming. Good for you!

    1. Well, I’m still tryin’. When a person half-ruins a shrub rose, one has to wonder about such a person — more than the rose — they really are supposed to be indestructible.

  3. Hi Cynthia, it is definitely the soil. Anytime I plant roses I remove all soil no matter what was planted there before and build my own soil. Here is what I do, I am not an expert but have good success from this which was given to me many years ago. Hope this helps!! 🙂

    Did you see my recent post on my bourbon roses?

    1. Dig hole at least 18 inches deep and wide (remove approximately 8 gallons of soil)
    2. Refill hole with approximately 10 inches of soil mixture, here is my mix:
    1 (one) cup of 46% superphosphate
    1 (one) cup of dolomitic lime
    1 (one) cup of Mills’ Magic Rose Mix
    1 (one) cup of gypsum
    1/4 part compost (approximately 2 gallons)
    1/4 part peat moss (approximately 2 gallons)
    1/4 part good top soil (approximately 2 gallons)
    1/4 part red clay if available…substitute with good grade of commercial potting soil

    3. Carefully remove rose bush with root ball and soil in tact.
    4. Plant bush in ground slightly raised.
    5. Refill hole with remaining soil mixture, firm soil around root ball – leave no air pockets.
    ** use only mini-pine bark as mulch. Hardwood mulch will cause mold.
    6. WATER – extremely deep – key to actively growing bushes.
    7. Water every 4 to 5 days for the first growing season.
    8. Use ONLY LIQUID FERTILIZER the first growing season. Apply in 3 to 4 week intervals. I use Mill’s Easy Feed, great stuff { check out – http://www.millsmix.com } I also use dry rabbit feed. In a 5 gallon bucket full of water add two hand full of dry rabbit feed, let soak over night. Stir before watering roses. This stimulated growth and blooming.
    9. Start a spray program for disease immediately and continue.
    10. Spray for mites every 4 weeks. Forceful washing of underside of leaves weekly will help fight mites.
    11. Spray for insects only as needed.
    12. Only DEAD HEAD roses the first season.

  4. Roses are so unique, so expensive come special “hallmark” holidays, all the more reason to plant your own.

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