PETALS, THORNS, AND THE SWEET PERFUME OF THE ROSE GARDEN
Hello fellow Earthlings, and welcome to our final discussion on rose care
for the early spring, late winter. We will, of course, be revisiting the
rose garden throughout the year. In this discussion we are going to touch
on a few of the easy things we can do to ensure that our roses are the envy
of the entire neighborhood and guarantee lots of happy flowers for cutting
and displaying in the house. So let's take a walk out to the garden and
continue our discussion.
We have covered pruning, feeding, pest and disease control, and soil
improvement in our earlier four discussions. This time we're going to talk
about some of the simple things we can do in our rose gardens to keep them
happy and healthy during the growing season and all the way until next
fall. Some of the practices are very simple and some are even easier than
First, and very importantly, never underestimate the value of a sharp jet
of water when caring for your roses. From pest control to keeping their
breathing pores clean, a sharp stream of water from the hose can really
keep you in control of the many problems encountered by rose gardeners.
Giving your roses a shower in the morning once a week or so can assist in
knocking off aphids and other pest insects as well keeping them from
getting a foothold on your precious plants.
A morning shower can also wash
away the dust and icky stuff that collects on plants from living in our not
so clean air. You wouldn't believe how much crud can collect on a plant. A
shower in the morning once a week can remove the detritus and allows the
breathing pores (stomata) of your roses to breathe easier. Think of the
weekly showers as decongestant therapy. If you're feeling like using a
plant cleaning helper try Dr. Bronner's pure castile soap (peppermint)
mixed into your sprayer at 5 tablespoons per gallon of water or try a
material called Jungle Rain that is also a fairly good plant cleaner.
Jungle Rain can be found at lots of online garden sites specializing in
Next, never underestimate the power of kelp. Kelp extracts (liquid
concentrates) and fossilized mineral kelp (Kelzyme) has the capacity to
provide your roses and the rest of your garden with much needed minerals.
Kelp products also provide an abundant supply of very powerful growth
stimulating enzymes and hormones. Applying mineral kelp materials to your
soil or liquid kelp products directly to plant surfaces is a fantastic way
to provide your roses with a natural supply of much needed trace minerals.
Kelp also strengthens cell wall rigidity with makes your roses less apt to
suffer from problems associated with drought. The cells don't give up water
as freely and so the plants are less likely to suffer from the problems
associated with water stress during the hot weather of summer. Isn't it
nice to speak of hot weather when it is cold outside? Kelp also helps to
keep the microorganisms in your soil happy and healthy which improves the
quality of garden soils.
Yup, you knew it was coming, MULCH! Lots and lots of organic matter does
wonders for the rose garden and the rest of the garden as well. Keeping
organic matter levels up will improve your soil, allow you to use less
water in the garden, reduce or eliminate nutrient loss from runoff water,
and keep diseases in check. So add lots of mulch to your rose garden.
You'll be happy you did and your roses will be jazzed all season long.
The last thing on our list of helpful materials is Neem seed oil. Neem oil
is a very helpful natural material for rose gardeners. This botanical
pesticide is derived from the seed of the neem tree of India and is a very
powerful pest feeding suppressant and it also has some mild fungicidal
properties. Neem is also a pest insect repellent that can keep the bad guys
away from your roses for up to two weeks after application to your plants.
Neem is widely available at most garden centers these days. Rose Defense is
the most widely sold Neem product, but it can be found under other trade
names as well. It smells like hazelnuts to us but bad guys really hate it.
This closes our five-part discussion on rose gardening. Next time we will
be discussing spring vegetable gardening. This will be a three-part piece
starting with soil and garden preparation. If you missed any part of the
rose series, please feel free to contact me and I'll be happy to send it to
you. I'll see you in the Garden!
Look for Don's book Natural Gardening A-Z from Hay House at bookstores everywhere and at all online booksellers and check out Don's columns in Hearst's Healthy Living Magazine coming soon.
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