My Love of Roses

yellow roses in a vase
Julia Child roses paired with the deep purple of Ebb Tide roses, just perfect!

My fascination with roses began when I was in grade school and would stop by my grandmother’s house on the way home from school. My grandmother had a traditional rose garden with rows of hybrid tea roses pruned up in vase-like forms, maintained only for blooms to be cut for the house. The rose garden was relegated to the back of the property, surrounded by lawn. The roses looked lonely, shuttered away from the gardens. I would watch everyday as the brightly colored buds opened to fragrant Vigorosa rose growing in a decorative containerflowers. It wasn’t until I had my own home that I began experimenting with roses, tucking them in decorative pots with cilantro and chives, planting them on banks and above retaining walls, and adding them to perennial beds and borders that I began my love affair with the rose.

The roses grown today are descended from ancient species roses; single flowered, spring blooming, thorny rambling plants growing wild in temperate climate areas of the world. Because garden roses are as old as gardening, they have been hybridized, selected, crossed and back-crossed for centuries in search of new bloom color, form and vigor. The family tree of today’s roses, the cornerstone of any botanical system of classification, is extremely complicated and convoluted.

The rose garden originated centuries ago when gardeners looked to the soil for not only food, but for beauty. Cutting gardens emerged as a luxury for the wealthy and ruling class that could afford to use prime agricultural land for a purpose other than producing food. The practice of growing roses in the traditional rose garden continues in recent times, but trends are changing. Once banished to the rose garden, roses thrive when incorporated into the landscape, and many can be grown successfully in patio containers, whiskey barrels or even hanging baskets.

Own root rose
Morden Centennial rose, a hardy own root variety, growing with Nepeta at my farm

Roses are grown either on their own-root or a graft. Hybrid Tea roses were once the favored rose to be grown on grafted stock, but today you can find various types of roses grown on a graft. If you ever seen the bare-root roses for sale at your local hardware store, or the box stores of the world , those are typically grafted roses. Own root roses are now becoming more widely available through online rose nurseries or in specialty garden centers. Many old favorites such as Mr. Lincoln and Joseph’s Coat rose once available only as a grafted variety are now available in own-root.

Joseph's Coat rose
Joseph’s Coat climbing rose blooming on a trellis. The #1 selling rose at my nursery, Joseph’s Coat is easy to grow and blooms throughout the summer into fall.

Somewhere down the line roses acquired an unjust reputation for being finicky flowers that had to be coddled and trained with masterful perfection to thrive in a garden, which could not be further from the truth. With the popularity of organic rose care emerging a new generation of rose lovers are discovering the ease to which roses grow and the beauty that they provide. At my nursery, Fresh Garden Living, I only grow my roses and herbs organically!

Growing roses is not only a joy, but so easy you may wonder why you didn’t add more roses to your garden. I am fortunate to have the joy of growing 10’s of thousands of roses every year at my rose nursery that I ship to gardeners across the United States.  Join me in my love of roses and plant a rose today!

Apricot roses

More resources on growing roses:

Weeks Roses

Star Roses & Plants

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