The Annual Rose Viewing – Sunday, June 29

  • Post published:06/22/2014
  • Post comments:5 Comments
Applejack welcome to the Annual Rose Viewing

Preparations for the Annual Rose Viewing got off to a slow start. May was so cold that the roses weren’t leafing out on schedule. I knew there would be winterkill, but I couldn’t tell where it began. Then June arrived and the roses must have felt they needed to put on some speed.  Leaves, buds and even a few blossoms arrived almost at the same time.

Now I am pruning out winterkill. One of the mysteries of pruning my roses is that even after I take out a wheelbarrow full of dead branches, the bush seems in better shape than it did. Still, some roses did not make it at all, including those roses I planted last spring. Carefree Beauty and Belinda’s Dream were on the cusp of our hardiness zone and I think our very bad winter was too much for them when they had not established themselves firmly.

Harrison's yellow
Harrison’s yellow

I am also clipping around the base of the roses. Have I mentioned before that planting roses in grass was not one of my better ideas?  It is work, but it gives me a chance to see the new shoots that are coming up around roses that suffered during the winter.

Happily, not all the news is bad. Ispahan, the rose of Persia, always has a fair amount of winterkill, but it always survives, and thrives all summer. Even after this year’s trim Ispahan is more than seven feet tall and setting buds like crazy. Purington Pink, a farm rose from Colrain with beautiful little pink multi-petalled roses, chose this year to explode with new growth and has already begun to bloom. Some things just do not make a lot of sense in the garden, or on the Rose Walk.

Woodslawn rose
Woodslawn rose

Those who attend this year’s Annual Rose Viewing on Sunday, June 29 will be able to see for themselves how well many of the roses came through what some of us consider a historically bad winter. And I am sure they will all be polite enough not to comment on the bare spots. Don’t forget, there is always lemonade and cookies in the Cottage Ornee.

Looking at the Rose Walk, successes and failures, I think about what I have learned about choosing roses for the garden. Perhaps the first thing is to look at zone information. One can gamble. I never used to plant a rose unless it was hardy in zone 4a, tolerating temperatures down to -30 degrees. Nowadays, the new USDA Hardiness zone map says Heath is in zone 5b or tolerating temperatures down to -15 degrees. You can understand why I have been tempted and succumbed to planting slightly more tender roses. And this spring I see the result of that gamble. Whether you choose to gamble or not, it pays to know the hardiness of any rose you buy.

The second thing I want in a rose is disease resistance. I am not going to use poisons on my roses. I have neither the time nor inclination to fuss in that way. I have put down milky spore disease to eradicate Japanese beetles almost entirely. It is possible that our isolated location has something to with the success of milky spore disease in my garden. Everyone admires my foliage.

Many old roses were bred for disease resistance, at least in the sense that 18th century hybridizers were striving for roses that looked good all season, even when the roses were not in bloom. Albas are one example, as are the many rugosa hybrids. Both of which I have in my garden including the alba Passionate Nymph’s Thigh, and the rugosa Dart’s Dash.    Nowadays there are new disease resistant hybrids that also have a longer bloom period. These include the Kordes lush hybrids like Cinderella, and the more familiar Knockout and Drift roses that can be planted in masses, or alone.

There are also roses designated Earth Kind by a Texas A&M program. These old(ish) roses were shown to be disease resistant and easy care. I have The Fairy, Double Red Knockout, and a struggling New Dawn climber.

Third, choose a site that will give the rose full sun, at least 6 hours a day, where the soil drains well. Roses are thirsty plants and need consistent water, but they do not like to have their feet wet.

Therese Bugnet rugosa
Therese Bugnet rugosa

So, check zone hardiness, disease resistance, choose a sunny site, and then plant it well. Dig a generous hole. The old saying is a $5 hole for a 50 cent plant will give success. That means wide and deep. Then place your rose’s knobby graft union will be three or four inches below soil level when the hole is filled. Enrich the removed soil with good compost. Fill the hole halfway, tamping down the soil and watering it well. Continue filling in with the rest of the enriched soil. Tamp down and water again. Mulch to keep down weeds. All newly installed plants need to be kept well watered for the first year.

The weekend of June 28 and 29 will be filled with opportunities for gardeners to visit other gardens. The Greenfield Garden Club and the Sons and Daughters of Hawley will both be hosting tours on June 28 and the Annual Rose Viewing Garden Open Today is on Sunday, June 29 from 1-4 pm. More about those tours next week, and a reminder to stop and smell the roses at the end of the road on the 29th.

Between the Rows   June 14, 2014

Rugosa alba
Rugosa alba

Some roses struggled this past winter – and some don’t care about anything – like this Rugosa alba – the famous beach rose that is growing out of the stone wall – amid the weeds.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Lisa at Greenbow

    Oh what a pleasure this would be. Wish I could be there. I will have to visit vicariously.

  2. thesalemgarden

    HI there! We’re going to be coming home from a camping trip to Vermont next Sunday and I”m trying to work out a stop at your rose viewing. What time is it, and can you e-mail me directions or your address? If we’re doing well as a family I hope to see you! Thanks! Michele

  3. Rose

    Even my Knockout roses, which I consider to be almost indestructible, had winterkill. They were late to green up this spring, when I pruned them. But once they finally leafed out and started blooming, I had to prune them even more because of all the dead branches at the top. I always learn something new about roses when I visit here, Pat–thanks! I can see your visitors are in for a treat this weekend.

  4. Pat

    Lisa – I hope you will take the Virtual Rose Viewing Stroll.
    Michele – Oh I hope you can come. We live at the End of Knott Rd, Heath, MA. If you can find Heath, and get on 8A you should be able to find Rowe Rd, and then Knott Rd. Let me know where you will be coming from and I’ll send you real directions.
    Rose – One of my knockouts is dead, and the other one is slowly coming to life, as are vaarious other roses, but some are just bursting so we will have a good show.

  5. It’s Rose time! You have some real beauties there! I guess my favorite of the ones you show is Woodslawn. It reminds me of my great-grandfather’s Rose in color and form. I love Roses, but I don’t have many here in my shady yard. Some of my Roses seem to be struggling a bit this year, but our recent rains have helped tremendously. Great post!

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