"HOW On Earth" – Published in Pink Magazine – February 2010

Roses in the Garden

A relationship is like a rose,
How long it lasts, no one knows.
Love can erase an awful past,
love can be yours, you’ll see at last.
To feel that love, it makes you sigh,
To have it leave, you’d rather die.
You hope you’ve found that special rose,
’cause you love and care for the one you chose.
– Quotes Rob Cella

February is the month that we connect with our loves. When I was young, my mother always gave me something red on Valentines Day. Over the years I received red underwear, sweatshirts, candy in red heart boxes and the classic red roses. My most memorable, appreciated, and creative gift one year was a collection of choice cut red meats. It was a time in my life when the only meat I could afford was the meat of the week and even that had to last the entire week. My mother had gone to a local butcher and together they created a masterpiece of filets, prime ribs and crown rack of lamb. The love I felt from her and for her that day has lasted me a lifetime and I am forever thankful.

Aside from the love I have for my family and friends, my next true passion is nature. As a child, my favorite place to be was outside climbing trees, picking wild flowers along the roadside, or simply running barefoot in the grass. This love grew with me and today encompasses simple indulgences such as taking a walk along the beach, inhaling a sunset, or touching the soft petals of a flower. Nature excites me and gives me a great source of strength. I feel fortunate to have created a career out of my passions, yet I am most fulfilled when I can share this love with others, especially children.

A single rose can be my garden…
a single friend, my world.
– Quotes Leo Buscaglia.

February and Valentines Day of course remind me of roses. This month let me share with you some tips on rose care.

It’s the time that you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important. (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)

When is the best time to plant roses?

February is the best time to plant roses, especially if they are bare root. They can either be purchased through a catalogue or a local nursery. Bare root roses require a little extra preparation than roses grown in containers. Prior to planting, it helps if you soak the roots in a bucket of muddy water. This helps the plant absorb water and the mud protects the roots.

Where and how do I plant roses?

Roses ideally would like at least 6 hours of full sun, preferably morning sun. They want a site that has good drainage and air circulation. It’s a good idea to add compost to the planting hole and they prefer a ph of 6.0 to 7.0.

I have heard that roses require a lot of work. What exactly do they need?

Roses can be prone to insects and diseases. The list is quite extensive from aphids, scale and spider mites to black spot, mildew and rust just to name a few. I like to choose roses that are more resistant to these problems and plant them in their ideal site. Roses planted in the shade or up against a house will be much more prone to these issues. A regular monthly spray program will still probably be needed depending upon the variety of rose.  It’s important to know what you are spraying for before you begin, otherwise it could prove ineffective. Your local nursery or county extension is very helpful in this process, just bring in a cutting.

Roses also require ample water and fertilizer. There are many choices for fertilizers and a soil sample could give you the exact recommendations. Rose-tone by espoma is a great natural, slow release fertilizer.

Last we come to pruning and deadheading. Pruning, especially hard pruning is best done in February. Deadheading is a process of cutting off the spent flowers. This encourages more flowers to develop and keeps the plants clean.

Which are your favorite roses?

I love the fragrance of the old fashioned Rosa rugosa and damask types. The Lady Banks Rose is great if left to mature and sprawl along a fence. The Fairy Rose with its small yet abundant pink flowers is an excellent floribunda. Mister Lincoln is a beautiful classic red rose and a great cut flower. I also like the easy care “Knockout Roses”. The American Rose Society (ARS) rates roses and I have found this to be an excellent guide in choosing roses.


Jackson & Perkins                               www.jacksonandperkins.com

Antique Rose Emporium                    www.antiqueroseemporium.com

Roses of Yesterday and today                       www.rosesofyesterday.com

Boone Hall Plantation has an excellent rose garden designed by Ruth Knopf