Homegrown Column July 18, 2009

I have what I call “wild roses” that leaf out and bloom just once. Then they send out these long shoots that interfere with the sidewalk. I would like to get rid of these and plant some different kind of rose that blooms more often and is easier to control. However, my garden is narrow and gets little sun. Is there a good rose that would grow there without needing so much pruning? If so, when is the best time to plant it?
Sincerely, Bev

Sounds to me like you have either an older “species” type rose or a rootstock rose. Either of these will bloom only once in late spring and they tend to be large, rangy plants.

There are a ton of choices available to you for a replacement rose. I’d recommend that you go with a type of rose called a shrub rose.

Simply put, these are roses that lend themselves to easy garden care. They tend to be more compact, you don’t have to do the regular pruning that a regular rose needs, and they’re very disease resistant. You don’t have to do all the fussy spraying that a regular garden rose needs. In fact, we encourage people to not think of them as roses but rather as a flowering shrub, kind of like a lilac bush that blooms two or three times a year. There are now dozens and dozens of varieties to choose from in a wide range of sizes and colors.

 The one thing you mentioned that concerns me is that the area gets little sun. There aren’t a whole lot of roses that do well in the shade.

Most roses require five to six hours of full sun a day. Now, not all shade is created equal.

There’s shade and then there’s SHADE. A rose might do OK with bright, dappled shade but fail miserably with full, dark, unrelieved shade. The important thing to keep in mind is to try to give the plant as much light as possible by planting it out on the brighter edge of a shady patch or even doing some judicious pruning of your trees to allow a bit more sunlight to penetrate below.

 Having said that, there are a few shrub rose varieties that have been reported to be more shade tolerant. I’ve limited the list to those varieties that won’t get too big: Carefree Wonder, Carefree Delight, Flower Carpet, Pink Meidiland, Scarlet Meidiland, Knock Out, Topaz Jewel and The Fairy.

 As for when the best time to plant is, I don’t think there are any restrictions as long as the plant is in a container. You’re not disturbing the roots with a potted plant so there’s little shock to it.

You just slip it out of the pot and nestle it into its new home; the plant is simply changing addresses. I’ve planted when it’s in the 90s and when it’s in the 30s without any problem.

Dennis Hill is the nursery manager at Bookcliff Gardens, online at http://www.bookcliffgardens.com. Send questions to Bookcliff Gardens, 755 26 Road, Grand Junction 81506; or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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