Thursday, April 26, 2007

I Promise You a Rose Garden

Every year in early April I am amazed how fast my roses bushes have grown in the few short weeks since their drastic pruning. When pruned in the last week of January or first week of February the barren bushes, trimmed back to a few stalks, appear they will never recover to bring fourth again the beautiful roses.

While growing up we had rose gardens and I hated those things...stickery thorns...which seemed to outdo the beauty of the blooms, and I didn’t want anything to do with them. But that all changed. My late husband, Don Pendleton loved flowers and every spring we would visit the nursery and come home with a load of flowers for our patio and garden. During the hot summer months, Don would faithfully and enjoyably water the pots and our garden at least once if not twice a day. When we bought our home in Sedona, Arizona in 1994 we added rose bushes after discovering how well roses grew at the 4500 elevation. Sedona is a Planting Zone 6. Surprisingly, they did well in the summer heat and the summer monsoons (late June to September) may have helped along with the cooling off in the evenings and nights. Before Don passed away, we had planted about eight rose bushes among our lava rock landscaping and in the next two years I added to that number and had 28 roses, including an area of miniatures, all planted in direct sun. I really hated to leave my beautiful roses when I sold my home and moved back to California.

I now have ten rose bushes here in Northern California (Planting Zone 9) in their third year. And I have to say, the roses do not tolerate the heat here as well as in Sedona or even in Southern California. At this time of spring and after the first early blooms that are usually not too perfect, they are pretty and will do well until the heat arrives. July and August are not good for the roses here at all, and blooms can scorch in those hot afternoons of 100 degrees or more. The rose bushes are on automatic watering drip systems, but I have to admit that I do not give any of my patio flowers the attention that Don would have given. It’s just too darn hot. So this year I will not spend my usual one hundred dollars at the nursery but instead will pot a few more geraniums which seem to tolerate the heat and don’t need the constant watering that other potted flowers need. The potted geraniums even made it through the frost this winter just fine.

A couple of my favorite roses are the Brandy Rose, above, and the Peace Rose, below. I took the photos a couple of days ago.

~ Linda

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