WHATS BLOOMIN’ IN PARADISE? a gardeners journey
First impression: Dramatic, petite, fairy tale, cherry red, and cameo-white kissed flowers in a nosegay to form many blossoms. Small green leaves are an attractive back drop to the romantic soft peony-like petals. I notice the lovely, light green stems adorned with thorns everywhere. I can’t help but detect whiffs of eye closing fragrance drifting in the air, attracting all kinds of pollinators. The yen and yang of beauty with a price – the rose, you can see this awe inspiring bloom at the Botanical Gardens of the Sanibel Moorings.
Upon further investigation: Roses? I had always had trouble making my roses last from season to season here in our paradise garden. I am not even close to being a Rosarian, but I can share with you a few tips I picked up from fellow horticulturist, Debbie Hughes. Start with the antique varieties that are on their own rootstock. Antique roses are garden roses that date back to the 19th and 20th centuries. Most have lived happily without a lot of care in abandoned homes and cemeteries. They seem too flourished even with neglect. Three varieties to try out are Noisette, China, and Tea. I have had the most success with mail order roses from the Antique Rose Emporium. Our star is a tall shrub classified as an antique china rose. This title denotes a rose plant that has the genetic capacity to live for 100 years. Wow, they are considered one of the heartiest roses in the south and bloom almost year round. I always recommend grouping roses with other plants; this is a great way to hide their occasional dormant period of not looking so good, which for us is in the summertime. The worst time to trim is during this dormancy period. The best time to trim up our beauty is during February. I routinely shape and corralled the limbs because, I like to create its personality to fit their specific arbor or obelisk in the garden. Don’t forget those gloves; otherwise you will get snagged by the thorns. Fertilize lightly in the fall, with a slow release, coated fertilizer. Organic matter will decrease nematodes; I give them all my used coffee grounds. Best flowering, when planted in an area that will get 6-8 hours of sunlight. You will appreciate this specific rose’s easy nature and lack of pests and disease. Every now and then it will get a nibbling insect, that can be treated with a systemic product when applied to the roots of the plant only kills the chewing insect and no other beneficial insects. It is a non native species, who according to fossil evidence is a mere 35 million years old. Garden cultivation of roses began some 5,000 years ago, somewhere in China; Europe started importing them around the eighteenth century. Our variety Louis Philippe was hybridized by a Texas statesman, who collected this rose during his 1834 stint as Minister to France and planted it at his home in Lynchburg. Days gone by people treated roses as treasured objects and even bartered with them as money. Now a day we are blessed with multitudes of roses to choose from, so we really should make the time to plant and adore them.
Pros: Multiple blooms – Likes filtered sun – Easy to maintain/prune This variety does well in our plant zone Might take up reading Shakespeare Pollinator attractor – Is great for cottage look in a garden Great essence for potpourris – Must have for inspirational prose – Cold tolerant Non Invasive
Cons: Be careful with thorns Fast grower and bloomer Your garden friends will be envious – Pollinator attractor Non native
Conclusion: Ooohh la la lip kissed red blooms bursting, beautiful and intoxicatingly never ending, in a fairy tale like setting. Ahhh Follow those spouting of odes to our garden in paradise.
Don’t wanna miss this bloomer!