Gardener's Grapevine 2014.05.07

This week we worked on the front beds of our home. I have a lot of miniature rosebushes in those beds and I love their resilience. Any plant can be resilient, but without proper care it will not perform at its optimum ability.

Roses are a bit of a passion with me for more than one reason. My great-grandmother loved her roses and enjoyed their blooms. She did not have everblooming roses; she had heritage root roses that bloomed once a year. When they bloomed she’d send me out with her Polaroid camera to get a picture. She taught me the importance of mulching the flowers with leaves every fall to protect them. She would have loved the hybrid roses we have now that bloom all season long.

I Googled miniature roses this morning to see if I could get any new information. Interesting facts about them are that the bushes are very resilient to disease and pests, they bloom longer than other roses, have shallow root bases and there are many new varieties developed every year.

If you’re wondering what the heck miniature roses are, the easiest way to explain them is, they are the small roses you see for sale in stores that people often give in place of cut flowers. Most people enjoy them like poinsettias and throw them out when they are dead, but you can actually plant them prior to that and have a lovely bush that will keep giving you flowers year after year if cared for properly.

To plant them, dig a hole twice as deep as the plant is from its base to the tip of its roots. As most are pot bound, gently dump the bush onto a newspaper and gently work its roots apart. Fill the hole half-way up with fresh soil or decomposed compost. Place the plant on top of this and fill in around it with soil. By loosening up the roots prior to planting, it helps the plant spread out its toes and encourages growth.

Water the rose plant well and check often for dryness. These bushes have shallow roots, so they need water more often than full-sized roses. Sprinkle a small amount of time released 10-10-10 fertilizer or an even smaller amount of 12-12-12 fertilizer around the base in the spring and early fall.

In the spring, if you prune, only cut them back to half their size. Really all they need is dead-headed, and when they green up remove any dead non-leafy canes.

These bushes are inexpensive, easy to care for and control, and give you a great show of flowers. It's a very good choice for busy people and the new gardener.

As many people know, I am a huge fan of reusing and repurposing items. Our world is full of enough garbage without me adding even more. Well, a few years back Don Stiriz gave us a truck load of brick from a building he owned in downtown Fayette. The wall had fallen on a store he owned and he rebuilt it with stronger cement block. The bricks are very old and extremely soft. I stacked them up and wasn’t sure what to do with them. As I cleaned my flowerbeds out, I kept thinking there has to be something other than garden edging to clean up the edges and keep the old grass from sneaking into my beds. Sure enough, those soft old bricks were just the ticket. Everything we encounter and decide to toss out may have a second, purposeful life, we just have to think outside the box.