Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Race for the Roses

Jilda and I grow great tomatoes, tubs of potato's, baskets of squash, and mountains of peas, but our roses are pathetic.
We have several bushes, but none of them do that well.
The most luck we've had are our John Roses -- We got a cutting from our friend John Elliott who has since passed away. The roses he gave us are climbing roses and we planted them down at the front of our house on the bank near our mailbox, and we named them after him.
Each year it throws off thousands of blooms, but they only grow to about the size of a silver dollar. Don't get me wrong, they are beautiful, but they are more like rose-lets.
Our other roses are hit and miss.
Jilda's brother, on the other hand, has roses as big as softballs. It's a source of contention  -- He called early this morning to rub some salt in the wound.
"Hey, one of my pink roses is blooming," he says over the phone...and you can almost hear him snicker.
After Jilda and I finished our walk, we stepped over to his house to have a look.
Though it pains me to say it, his roses are stunning. I'm not sure if he puts some kind of special sauce on his bushes, or what, but he spanks us silly each year in the race for the roses.
If any of you have any rose-growing advice, bring it. I'm taking off the gloves!


  1. No! I love the lines..."special sauce on the roses" and "spank us silly" for the race for the roses. Too funny! What great lines!

  2. My roses never did so well as the year when I fertilized them with horse manure.
    Want me to bring some over?:) I have a never-ending supply......

  3. I could not even enter, much less win, a race for the roses.

    But when I stay after the aphids, dig a small trench and only water them from below (the roses, not the aphids), and no more than 3 times a weeks, and when I only look at them on the second Tuesday of the fourth week of the month, and if Aquarius is on the rise, and Venus is just above the moon...
    sometimes, but only sometimes, I can get a wonderful batch for my dining room table.

    good luck...Marsha

  4. The best rose advice done to me (yes done!!!) was when I bought a miniature rose bush from one of only two independent florists where I live. The little old lady at the counter took my lovely rose bush and then proceeded to snip it down quite harshly, leaving me with two bits of branches and cut down to stump. That was last year. I repotted it and watered it and thought it would never survive given how harshly it was cut down but this year!! Oh my stars!!!! I could see new growth - coming up. The two branches left have suddenly quadrupled and the budding leaves are growing in bunches!! I'm very excited for it!!! Previously all my minature roses never get past the first year.

    So I guess the little old lady was right to be so harsh - and there is my one rose bush tip!!! LOL!!

    Take care

  5. I think you need to embrace the enemy Rick and find out what Jilda's brother's secret sauce is.

  6. I have always heard that you prune the dickens out of them in the fall, put cages with leaves all around them over the winter, and remove it in the spring. They don't like sandy soil, so the horse manure might be a good thing to add.

    I was at Lowe's the other day and the old guy working in the garden department told me to plant tomatoes in soil dressed with egg shells, and watered with powdered milk. That was the first time I have ever heard that, but he said tomatoes need calcium. I may try it this year!

  7. I've never been much good at growing rose. my dad did though. he had a touch. he would also bring home the old blood from the hospital and pour it around the base of the bushes.

    we do have quite a few rose bushes out here at the country house though. pink and red ones. but they are of the knock-out variety which thrive no matter who takes care of them. no cultivars for me.

    my sister grows some pretty ones though.

  8. I can't offer any rose-growers advice, but thank you for the beautiful photo.

  9. Anonymous12:46 PM

    The only ones I ever did well with were the Knock-Out variety. The ones I loved were the old fashioned ones that had a heady fragrance, bushy with lots of blooms and were so naturally healthy bugs were afraid to mess with them. I too believe you're going to have to get to know your "enemy" and find out what his soil is like and what type of fertilizer or soil amendments he uses.

  10. I'm always trying to get roses to bloom like crazy and all I get is the crazy part. I laughed at the post about old that would go over big if I decided to take a bit of blood home from work! Let's see, would positive blood do better than negative?

  11. Black thumbs don't do well and that is what I am.

  12. Looks like you have received some good and some interesting hints for rose care. Fertilize and prune are the best. I agree with the eggs...the calcium is good. I always bury my banana skins under my roses and any other blooming shrub.
    Good luck.


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