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Roses are easy...
pick, plant, prune & primp

I love Roses.

"I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck"

                                         Emma Goldman

They're the most Romantic of all flowers and

having roses in my garden gives me such joy.

However, many of you think they're finicky and difficult.

 I have good news -

 "roses really are easy".

Therefore, you’ll need to understand some stuff first:
How Roses grow
How to pick the right rose for your garden;
How to plant your rose for a long, healthy life
How to prune it to keep it that way 
..and all this with a litle primping to keep it gorgeous.

See? easy.

The Scent of Roses

The most divinely scented roses are grown in Bulgaria; descendants of the ‘Rosa damascena” and most popular among famous perfumers.

It is the Bulgarian rose that is gently picked by hand at its peak in June.

Heavy daily rainfall in Spring, prolongs the blooms and keeps the oil from evaporating… meaning, when there are rainy days, you may not notice the scent of your own roses until the sun comes out again.

Those glorious Bulgarian old roses are not for the faint of heart or most of our pocketbooks.  But we have "Modern Roses" - enhanced by science and nurtured by hybridizers with billions of research dollars.

What does this mean for you and me?... for the cost of a few lattes, we can have beautiful, healthy, successful roses in our gardens.



(oops did I drop the name of my newsletter?  Be sure to sign up...)

I’ve learned what works (the wows) and what doesn’t (the ouches) in my own garden. My mistakes and successes I learned from being (mostly) successful but also from lots of experts who are also (mostly) successful.

My blunders are actually more like dismal failures and disappointing losses but I keep learning and it's enough to keep me going.

Now, I'm dying to tell you my own story but first, what I really want  is for you to think critically about your roses…(boring?  nope)

I want to help you make the best decisions about choosing, planting, pruning, growing, and mostly, enjoying your roses.

Please be skeptical about what you read or hear and always explore any and all assumptions - ask questions and then ask more.  

Choose the links here you might need first and then, read my story at a the bottom when you have a moment or two. 


ANATOMY of a ROSE(the parts of a rose)

HOW ROSES GROW (why you need to know)

PLANTING ROSES (bare-root, own-root, grafted or potted)

PRUNING ROSES (why, when and how)

DON'T PRUNE ROSES till you read this

PRUNING TOOLS (not all the same)

THORNS, SPINES & PRICKLES (serious "ouch")

A ROSE HEDGE (yes - a hedge)


ROSE ROSETTE DISEASE (RRD) (you need to know this)

... oh, when you have a little more time...

ROSE TREES (fussy but worthwhile)

THE FAIRY ROSE: (a favourite) 

MOVING ROSES: (or transplanting)

OVERWINTERING ROSES: (for cold winters)

GARDEN DESIGNS...(of course) 

My Rose Story

    And now, pour yourself something lovely to see how I got here..

I was hooked on roses the moment

I poked my little nose inside those fluffy petals.

I'm all grown up now and I'm still hooked.

I want every rose I see.

and although I have a whole garden of them

- I always need more

But along the way, I made some huge mistakes...

I'm a reformed rose-killer.

At first, it was just a single rosebush. I had no idea what I was doing, because I wasn't really a gardener.

On a bleak, stormy day in February, a big old tree dropped a huge branch on my fence; the trunk split down the middle and the poor thing had to come down.

When the tree-man said it was few hundred bucks to take out the stump...

I nonchalantly said," don't bother - I'll plant a flower garden around it".

It was in the centre of the back yard with lots of sun, so I plunked a pot of something bright and fluffy on the old stump and put a few nice rocks around it.... and then,

...planted my first Rose Bush.

Its leaves were green, it came in a pot, already covered with buds.

It was called a "DREAM ROSE- a Rose that everyone can grow". 

Except for me, apparently - because it died. It did bloom that year, but in a pouty fit, that rose refused to come back the next Spring. Talk about Fussy!

Perhaps it didn't like where or how I planted it? or probably the harsh winter (Zone 5b)

Hard lesson to learn.

I obviously knew nothing about roses but I had to learn  quickly or keep wasting money.

Here, early in that Spring, my very first Rose Garden.

...and the next year...ooh, la la...

 I placed third in my first competition and wanted to enter again.  So I planted more roses and started asking questions.

After a rousing lecture by a nursery owner, I checked off my favourites in his catalogue and drove more than a few miles to pick them up.

I pictured rows of potted rosebushes, ready to burst into bloom.  Alas, it was just a bare little 'office'. I tentatively filled  in my choices from a printed list and waited.

Half an hour later, the receptionist came out of the back room, and in exchange for my $100 (many years ago), silently placed a very large, black plastic garbage bag in my hand.  

I was confused.  But pretended I knew what I was doing.... but, when I went to plant them I found....  

10 brown, bud-less, leaf-less sticks with roots!!!

I had never seen a bare-root rose (see planting roses). 

I dug a hole and placed each one with a large dose of hope and a prayer or two.

...and in the next competition....

 I placed first.

Well, goodie for me

(Oh, and 8 of those first 10 roses

died over the following winter

because I had no clue

what to do in the fall.)


At any rate, here's what the judges saw.

So, if I can grow roses around a stump,

you can grow them just about anywhere

with sunshine, water, good soil

and of course a large dose of faith

- along with some lessons I learned.  







DON'T PRUNE ROSES till you read this



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is full of neat stuff about the blunders along with

the bliss we all find in our gardens.