by David Mulholland
It might be another month or two before spring has sprung, but that means it’s time to start planning.
Our favorite thing to plant at High Country Roses, is well, roses. And nothing excites us more than preparing a new rose bed. But there is more to it than sinking some roses in the ground and spreading some mulch.
Keep reading for all the tips and tricks you’ll need to prepare amazing rose beds for perfect summertime blooms. Be sure to read to the end because the last step is the most important.
First Things First, Pick Your Site
In real estate, the best advice you’ll get is, “location, location, location.” When it comes to rose beds, that is pretty good advice too.
When picking a location for a new rose bed, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Follow the Sun. You’ll want lots of sun for most varieties of roses. Morning sun is preferable over afternoon sun. Ideally, you’re looking for a minimum of six hours of direct sun exposure a day. (But don’t fret, if “lots of sun” didn’t come included in your backyard, High Country Roses has a collection of shade-tolerant roses for your backyards too.)
- But Don’t Fry Your Roses. When selecting your location, keep your eye out for walls or concrete surfaces that will reflect and intensify the sun.
- Healthy Competition Isn’t Actually Healthy. Competition is another thing to keep in mind. Watch out for tree roots and large shrubs that will compete with your rose bushes for water and nutrients.
- Finally, the Wet Stuff. Make sure your new rose bed will have access to water. It’s important to know that roses like a steady amount of water but they don’t like to sit in water (which can damage the roots).
Plan Your Rose Bed
A great way to plan the size and shape of your rose bed is to lay out some garden hoses in the shape of the rose bed you want to create. Leave them out there for a day and you can see how the sunlight will hit your new rose bed.
A few more things to consider:
- A common rose bed design is a 5-foot wide strip, either curved or straight. This allows for two large roses to be planted in a row or a large rose in the middle with rows of miniature roses on either side.
- You’ll want to design your rose beds so that you can avoid stepping on the rose bed soil. Your foot will compress the soil and could damage the roots. An easy way to work around this is to place pavers or stepping stones between the roses.
Select Your Roses
As you might have guessed, here at High Country Roses, this is our favorite part of the process. We have over 600 rose varieties to choose from. All of our roses our own-root which means they are hardier and avoid most of the pitfalls associated with grafted-root roses.
When you are trying to decide which roses are right for your new rose bed, be sure to read all the information about the rose. Make sure the Hardiness Zone, the size of the plant, and the amount of sunlight required work with your location.
Also, just in time for spring, be sure to check out all the new roses we are offering for the first time this year. Here are a couple of standouts:
Prepare Your Soil
First thing first, you need to make sure your soil is ready. Fortunately, roses do pretty well with most soil types. However, they do best in soil that drains well and is high in organic matter with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0.
When creating a new rose bed, add 2 to 4 inches of organic matter to the area prior to tilling. This will help improve the soil condition for your roses. Generally, you can add one-part compost, prepared planting mix, or aged manure to two parts of your garden soil.
Bonus tip to see how well your soil drains:
First, dig a small hole where you want to put your new rose bed. Then, fill it with water and see how long it takes to drain. If it takes more than an hour you’ll want to improve your drainage by digging deeper planting holes and adding some coarse sand to allow for faster drainage. If your soil drains too quickly you can add organic materials to the planting hole to help retain moisture.
Dig Your Holes
Dig your hole deep and wide enough to accommodate the expanding root system, about 8 – 12 inches beyond the pot size. For High Country Roses’ quart sized 5-inch pots, that means a hole about 18-inches deep and wide.
Ready to Plant Your Roses?
Actually, not yet.
You need to make sure they are hardened first.
Before putting a newly purchased rose in the ground, you need to harden it for a few days. Hardening plants means leaving them in the pots and keeping them watered while allowing them to acclimate to their new home. You can expose them to the sun and the wind for a few hours on the first day, then increase the lengths of time each day. Just be careful not to let the roses dry out… and avoid over-watering.
Once the roses are hardened, it’s time to get them into the dirt. Since High Country Roses are all own-root, there’s no graft or bud union to worry about. When you’re ready, gently remove the rose from its pot and place the root and pot-soil into your hole and lightly packed some soil around your plant.
Once planted, we recommend using two to three inches of mulch on the surface to conserve moisture, reduce weeds, and encourage healthy root growth.
Everything Comes Up Roses
And here it is. The last, and most important step:
Enjoy your roses.
Seriously! Don’t forget. That’s why we’re in the rose business and you’re digging holes in your backyard. So take a moment to enjoy your good work.
As for those rose blooms, roses that are planted in the spring will generally see their first blooms in the summer. Don’t worry, some might take a little longer.
Lastly, be sure to check out all the rose varieties we offer at High Country Roses. We can’t wait to take care of all your own-root rose needs!