Starting a Rose Garden

Roses have been around a long, long time.  Fossilized roses have been discovered that are over 35 million years old. Although mainly a native to Asia, the 150 different wild and cultivated species of roses can be found all across the Northern Hemisphere. Ancient cultures from China to Egypt to Greece to Rome have grown and revered this perennially flowering shrub.

Roses have been symbols for war, love, forgiveness, beauty and clandestine meetings. In fact the Latin expression “sub rosa“ (under the rose) comes from the Romans who would often set out or display roses at gatherings as a signal that whatever was talked about or discussed was to remain “secret”.

How Do You Grow A Rose Garden?

Before starting a rose garden you should visit as many rose gardens as you can. Look in on friends and family’s rose beds, ask questions and learn all you can. Ask gardeners about their failures as well as their successes. Pick up a magazine or two or do some searching on the Web.

The next step is to choose the type rose bush or plant you want. Understand that roses come in three main groupings: wild, old garden and modern garden varieties.  A wild rose is a plant that remains exactly as Mother Nature created it (it has not been hybridized). An old garden or “antique” roses are plants that were under cultivation before 1867 when the first hybrid tea was developed. Modern roses are hybrid plants introduced after 1867.

Wild roses are the most maintenance free roses but don’t have all the colors and aromas of some of the newer hybrids.  Vintage or old garden roses have withstood the test of time and hardy and easy to grow. Modern roses have some exciting colors, combinations and shapes.

Rose plants come in pots or containers or as “bare root stock”. Until you get some experience under your belt, you should stick to using potted plants.

How Do I Make a Rose Garden?

Starting a rose garden begins with good soil preparation.

  1.  Locate an area in your yard that gets a minimum of six to eight hours of sunlight, preferably morning light.
  2.  Now till or dig a very big hole, at least 2 feet wide by 2 feet deep.
  3. Take all the soil and set aside. Mix the soil with one part peat moss and one part compost.
  4. Add water into the hole. Shovel a little of the new soil mixture into the bottom.
  5. Remove your plant from its pot by gently rolling and squeezing the sides of the pot.
  6. Set your plant in the hole and backfill with the soil mixture until the root-ball is covered. Firm the mound with your hands.
  7. Give your new rose bush a good soaking to settle the soil and remove any air pockets.

Now that you know more about starting a rose garden, you can start exploring the wide world of this ancient and symbolic flower.