Shall I compare thee to a rose’s flower? Thou art more lovely, more maintenance to keep happy, and way more expensive to feed. That’s Shakespeare, right?
What’s that intoxicating smell? Like many rose varieties, Rosa ‘Rosengräfin Marie Henriette’ (pictured above) is known for its strong, pleasant fragrance.
What is more iconic in the landscape than manicured rose bushes with grand, fragrant flowers? It depends on whom you ask, but doubtless, roses attract humans like they attract aphids (a lot).
The Dugald McKenzie Rose Garden in Palmerston North, New Zealand
Most rose species are native to Asia, but they are now found throughout the world. There is at least one volume of rose care know-how for every rose petal this side of the Yangtze, so let’s take a casual look at some rose basics, and what our company, Creative Concepts Landscape, can do to beautify your landscape with these eternally fashionable flowers.
Rose Roots – Container vs Bare-root
Container roses come in pots with soil. This is what you typically think of when buying any plant. These roses tend to be better for the beginner because they are easier to plant than bare-root roses, and they often become established fairly quickly. They are also available throughout the growing season.
A miniature rose variety in a clay pot
Bare-root roses often cost less than container roses and there is a wide selection of cultivars when bare-root roses are available at the beginning of the growing season. They need special care before and after planting which can be difficult for novice gardeners.
Creative Concepts Landscape will be happy to discuss possibilities for your property, make suggestions, and do the work of sourcing and planting beautiful roses for you.
Rose pruning is a long held horticultural tradition. I might have heard this incorrectly, but I believe that if you can prove a certain level of rose pruning proficiency, the English monarchy grants you honorary citizenship (unless you’re French, sorry).
Regardless, here are some rose pruning basics:
- Have a good quality, sharp, and clean pair of bypass pruners (not anvil style)
- Rose pruning gloves are a good idea to wear, unless you are listening to ‘Kiss from a Rose’ by Seal (then love will protect you)
- Major pruning should be done in early spring (light pruning can be done at any time of the year)
- Start pruning by removing dead and damaged canes
- Hard pruning can remove 1/3 to ½ of the previous year’s growth
The list goes on. If you want to learn more and get that honorary English citizenship, buy the rose pruning manual from, ironically, the American Horticultural Society.
Pruning the Roses, Raffaello Sorbi (Italian, 1844 – 1931)
Roses Native to California
There are many roses native to California. Rosa Californica is perhaps the most well known. This beautiful rose grows along the coastal areas and foothills throughout the entire length of our state.
The Pink Rose of California, Rosa Californica
It is a deciduous shrub that forms in dense groups of bushes, stems bending and arching. The flowers are fairly flat with five petals in shades of pink, ranging from almost white to a rich magenta.
This rose evolved in our arid climate and can survive drought, however it grows more fully in damp soils near a water source, be it a creek or a drip irrigation line.
In the Landscape: this rose is often used as a barrier plant, where its natural thicket form can be used to its advantage. Typically, this plant is used where it can follow its natural growth habit, and pruning is not needed. If it does need to be pruned, to keep a walkway clear or to give it a neater appearance, it should be pruned back annually.
Rosa Californica can be used as a formidable barrier plant, delineating a border of the property or acting as a privacy hedge
Rosa Californica can go dormant (to varying degrees) in the summer if water is not as available. Supplemental irrigation around three times per month will keep it fuller.
What’s in a Name?
Ever wonder why we call so many roses, ‘tea’ roses? Like oh so many things, it originated in China. The fragrance of the flowers reminded some olfactory oriented individuals of the smell of tea brewing. High quality tea, no doubt. The name stuck through the centuries.
The genus name, Rosa, has a long and somewhat mysterious origin. The word bounces back to the ancient Greek, rhódon, which is believed to have come from an ancient Persian word which meant flower. May your flowers be Chinese, and your words be Persian. It has always been an international world.
Your Choice of Rose
Like choices? There are thousands of roses to choose from. Oh, is that too many choices? Well, let’s see, there are micro-miniatures, grandifloras (large rose flowers), climbing roses, old fashioned roses, hybrid tea roses, don’t forget those California natives, and the list goes on.
A pink climbing rose. Creative Concepts Landscape, and time, can make this happen for you.
Creative Concepts Landscape will be happy to help determine what rose type(s) will work well in your landscape. We will make recommendations specific for you, source the roses, and plant the roses. We will even regularly care for the roses long after they have been planted, if you would like.
Contact us today to get started on a beautiful, new rose garden in your landscape.
DO YOU have beautiful roses in your landscape? We want to see them! Please send us a picture and we will happily feature it in a blog article! We do love our California plants, but we don’t discriminate! All are welcome! Send those beauties to [email protected], thank you.
By Daniel Williams
Client Liaison for Creative Concepts Landscape Management
Armstrong (La Canada) – Offering a range of plants, including roses.