Coming Up Roses
Oz ends his choice of three with “Sally Holmes.” “I like ‘Sally Holmes’ because it has huge, white, long-lasting flowers, long canes, and is very disease-resistant.”
Shrub roses are also easy to grow and many of these bloom all summer as well. Oz and Irwin list “Bonica” and “The Fairy” (both soft pink), “Double Knock Out” (rose red), “Blushing Knockout” (shell pink), “Distant Drums” (tan-mauve), and “Macy’s Pride” (lemon yellow) as some of their favorites.
No matter which cultivar is chosen, however, preparing the soil and caring for the plants afterward is key to your success. Amend the soil with compost or composted manure spread over a wide area, and dig these materials in deeply. Use at least one 40-pound bag per rose, but two bags would be even better. When planting roses it’s better to be generous rather than frugal.
At the same time, mix in an organic fertilizer such as Rose-Tone to the area, and place your plant in the center of this enriched soil. Covering the area with two inches of bark mulch after the roses are planted will keep the moisture more constant and help prevent weeds. Regular applications of fertilizer and good, deep soakings with water once or twice a week will also help these plants to preform well.
Finally, Oz recommends seeking out like minds when it comes to dealing with questions and problems that may arise. “The Lower Cape Rose Society usually meets on the third Saturday of the month, at 10 a.m.,” he says, “at the Harwich Community Center.”
This group is a hands-on, educationally motivated club that uses the Millie and Tip O’Neill Rose Garden outside of the center for pruning, deadheading, and other instruction. The general public is welcome at all meetings where they can enjoy the monthly program and have their questions answered.
Given the climate on Cape Cod, a wealth of plants to choose from, and friendly, accessible support from area rosarians, it’s no wonder that this area is a rose lover’s dream.
C.L. Fornari is a well-known gardening expert on the Cape and Islands. She is an author, a lecturer, and a radio host on numerous gardening subjects.
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