The Rocky Mount Garden Club recently heard a presentation from Cyndy Scalf of Nashville, who is a consulting Rosearian.
A Rosarian is someone who grows and teaches about roses. Rosearians love to share their knowledge and the promotion of roses. Club members saw this love as Cyndy gave information on the plants she loves.
“Buy roses that have their own roots,” Scalf told club members. “Many of the roses we find for sale are grafted roses. These are roses where the top portion of the rose bush is one kind of rose and the part where the roots are come from a different plant. Among other problems with this type of rose bush is that voles love to eat the graft portion of the plant.
“When looking for rose bushes, make sure the cane is good and thick and strong.”
The cane is the same as the stem, which is the part of the bush that grows and bears flowers. Scalfy told club members that “before planting, soak the bare roots of the rose bush in water for 24-48 hours before the planting process.”
When planting the rose bush, if the rose is not leafed out yet, mount soil over two-thirds of the height of the plant. The club members learned that the most economical way to buy roses and one which offers the best selection is to only buy grade No. 1 roses bushes.
“Rose bushes are graded 1, 11⁄2 and 2. Grade 1 roses are what you need to look for when buying rose bushes,” Scalf said.
The grade of a rose refers to the rating that was established by the American Association of Nurserymen. The grade applies to grafted, field grown roses as they are removed after two years of growth.
Scalf advised club members that “we should not feed newly planted roses and should avoid heavy nitrogen fertilizer. Only use quality organic mulch. Do not use dyed mulch or rocks in the rose garden.”
She also said that one should wait until the roots develop and only prune new rose buses if it is absolutely necessary – try to wait until after the first winter to prune your rose bush.
The club members were shown pictures of “Earth-Kind” roses, which Scalf said are “fabulous.” This kind of rose was originally grown in Texas. It requires no spraying, no chemicals and remains disease free with beautiful flowers.
Closer to home is a collection of roses from the Biltmore Garden Rose Collection. The Biltmore is participating in a world-wide rose trial. During this two-year trial Biltmore gardeners and judges evaluate the roses for performance, fragrance and disease resistance.
“And did you know that German and France are 20 years ahead of the United States in rose growing?” Scalf asked the group. “The French kept the fragrance in their roses. Romantica is one of the French roses that will grow well in our country.”
The Rocky Mount Garden Club members came away from this lecture with hand outs on raising roses and smiles on their faces from the enjoyable presentation.