Wet Feet

Reasons for planting in a raised bed

Roses don’t like having their “feet” wet. They need water, and lots of it, but they don’t like their roots soaking in it.

This is why drainage is so important for your roses. And why raised beds are so helpful.

If you are ever feeling bored, or in a horticultural frame of mind, take a moment and ponder the following; what sort of plants grow in swamps? Cattails. Marshmallows. Reeds. All names for that sausage shaped plant filled with fluffy stuff. This plant needs alot of water. Standing water. This plant needs almost no drainage at all.

Now. The next time you are on a picnic by a creek, try to find the plants that grow OUT of the water, higher up on the bank. Like Cattails, these plants also need a lot of water. That’s why they thrive by a creek. But unlike Cattails, they need drainage, and lots of it. So, instead of growing down in the bog with the Cattails, they grow on the banks. See, they need lots of water, but they also need drainage. And its a good bet that the ones that grow on the highest ridge of the river bank need the most drainage.

Good drainage in your garden is achieved when your roses are planted in such a way that when you water them, the water flows freely off of them, without puddling. How can you do this? Well, just like the wildflowers by the river, you can plant them by a wall, or a drop off.
For example, let’s say that you live in one of those old fashioned homes built higher-up off of the street. Maybe you have to climb a gazillion stairs to reach your front door. Consequently, your front yard is either a hill or it is contained within a retaining wall that is elevated from the street. If you plant your roses right by your wall, or on a slope, you will have some good drainage. If you have a terraced garden, you will also have some drainage. The point is, when you plant your roses on any elevated surface, you give the water somewhere to fall when it drains, instead of just pooling around the roses with nowhere to go.


The fastest and easiest way to obtain drainage is to plant your roses in a raised bed.


Raised beds have many advantages; bugs and weeds don’t thrive in them; and because they are elevated, planting is easier. If you are in a wheelchair, or find bending difficult, you can have a raised bed built up to a height that is comfortable for you. I can personally attest to the fact that raised beds are a total blessing for pregnant moms.

I’m not pregnant right now, and I enjoy good mobility, and energy. I still don’t like to dig. Well, some, but not to the depth needed for planting healthy roses. Roses need lots of circulation around their roots. In fact, good root health is one of the most important things you can provide for your roses. But with clayed or compacted soil in your garden, you must dig a great deal, and amend the soil. That’s a lot of necessary digging–totally eliminated with the introduction of a raised bed to your yard.

Soils can be finicky—they need to be amended from time to time (that just means, they need to have nutrients added to them), and the layers of additives can shift a lot in the ground. Raised beds don’t have this problem so much, and they are easier to add compost and peat moss to. Since roses do need to have their soil amended, and they need very good drainage, raised beds are an excellent choice. Also, raised beds provide a lot of natural protection from garden pests. And while it is not impossible for bugs to find their way into raised beds, it doesn’t happen nearly as often as you might think.

Bugs are a big reason to consider raised beds, but so is the issue of ease.

I mentioned earlier that individuals find it very difficult to do a lot of digging manually.

With a raised bed, you simply pour in the various soils and composts, and put your bush on a layer of soil, pouring the rest of the soil around it… no burying involved, which is easier on the back and knees.

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Published in: on May 29, 2007 at 4:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

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