GARDENING BY RONELLA: It’s cold, but still time to plan your rose garden
by Ronella Stagner, Columnist
Feb 12, 2014 | 54 54 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This seems to be a poor time to write about roses but now is the time for planning a rose garden. Many would-be rose growers think it too expensive to grow roses or that they are difficult to grow and, in both cases, you would be wrong.

Consider buying a gallon and half sprayer for insecticide and fungicide combination. I always preferred to use this combination, which is available at any garden store. You put spoonfuls in a sprayer and keep it handy. Then you will need some sharp pruners for cutting stems of roses and the best one I ever used is an old pair of good sewing scissors. Anytime you are working in flowerbeds, whether in rose beds or a perennial bed, always stick the pruners, or scissors, in your pocket along with a plastic bag for collecting the deadheaded roses. Also to keep your flowerbeds neat, put any stems or branches in the bag.

You will need fertilizer and I like the slow release kind but some rose growers prefer the old Miracle Grow in a sprinkler or sprayer.

When you are planning to buy roses, remember that the old roses will be cheaper than the newest ones and may suit you just as well or better. There are many types of roses so you will need to read up on the difference when choosing a rose.

One fact that I like to stress is that roses do really well grown among other perennials in a flowerbed. They seem to be bothered less by insects. I always just scatter them among other flowers. A tip to pass on to you is to plant a garlic clove beside each rose you plant to kill or repel (I don’t know which) aphids. It’s a systemic thing like Ma’s tobacco stalks, I think.

Don’t buy your roses too early. If you order them, the company will ship when it’s planting time in your area. If you buy roses in pots, they can sit in shade for quite a while but if you buy bare-root roses, you must either immerse the roots in water or heel them into soil.

A message to rose growers who are concerned about the damage to their roses with quick changes in weather: don’t trim the damage yet. Leave the dead stems till the end of February. There is an old gardener’s date of St. Patrick’s Day for the final trimming of roses. By that time you can tell just where the dead stems are. Remember to always cut to a live stem just above a leaf bud which faces outward. That keeps the center of the plant from getting crowded. That is really important. And when you are cutting roses for decoration, use the same method. It’s those crowded leaves in the middle of a rose that causes mildew.

Enough of roses for now and on to the daylilies.

It seems that no flowerbed has enough daylilies. They are the perfect flower. They are the easiest of all perennials to grow. Their needs are few. They only need about an inch a week of water so for most of the year, they get enough water with rain except for the dry, hot part of summer. Insects don’t bother with them and, except for an occasional rabbit, nothing eats them. They come in many colors and sizes of blooms. They also come in different heights. There is the mini, which is the ever-blooming one. Many gardeners consider daylilies as the backbone of a flower garden. They are the toughest perennials I know. Sometimes I think you couldn’t kill one. I move them around anytime of the growing season with no problem.

My dear old Ma hated winter and it isn’t any wonder. Her winter chores were pretty hard. But she seemed to just come alive in early spring. The old quilting frame got put up for a while and she concentrated first on really cleaning the old house before she could get outside and work in her garden and her flowers. Ma often wrote bits of poetry on scraps of paper and I have kept many of them and I thought I would share a few.

When I see the leaves falling beautiful yellow and red,

I think of the birds with nowhere to hide and the squirrels that have no bed.

October is lovely wherever you go.

You see God’s hand all over the world and you know he put them there.

So enjoy it all as long as you can. Some day you’ll have to go

And October will come again and again and it will always be so.

Please feel free to call me at 270-522-3632.
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