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.


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

How to Get Your Roses Home

After you go to the garden center and make your selection, you will, of course, take your roses home for planting. Certainly you want to you do this safely. Before we cover how, though, let’s consider the following:

As far as you, the consumer, need to be concerned, there are two ways that roses come packaged for retail–in a sleeve, or in a pot.

Potted roses may or may not have flowers that are in full bloom.

Whether bud or bloom, you need to protect the actual flowers on your potted rose in transit. Place them  in a box sufficiently sized to hold the pot but not so big that it will slide alot. Open up the flaps around the roses to help support the blossoms. If you have quite a few blossoms, or even a few that look full and heavy, you may need to wrap some newpaper GENTLY around the top portion of the pot, and around the roses for added support.

Iif you are buying bareroot roses (the kind of roses wrapped in a sleeve), then you have only the protuding stems to protect. Not hard to do at all, if your ride home is a reasonably smooth one; just place your sleeve of roses on the seat beside you. On the other extreme, if you live on the side of a steep hill that requires taking a four- wheeler up a wild, rocky drive to your home, you could take a few extra precautians– wrap your bundle up in a towel, and place it in a slightly snug container (such as a box) to prevent excessive jarring.

Bareroot roses (at least all that I have purchased) generally don’t have any flowers in bloom yet and probably, you could get by with placing your roses in the back of your pick up truck (but let’s not take any chances).

Bareroot roses have an unfair reputation of being the least desirable choice of roses.

But why? Almost every rose I have planted, without exception, was a discounted, bareroot rose on it’s last leg. (I don’t recommend that you buy this way.) But certainly, my success with roses has proven to me that bareroot roses can absoulutely be grown successful. And while I’m on the subject, let me mention that alot of people fail at growing roses not by choosing the wrong rose, but by incorrectly caring for it. Whether in a pot, or wrapped in a plastic sleeve, no rose will thrive without proper maintenance.

Anyway…off of my soap box.

Published in: on December 23, 2006 at 1:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Right Rose For You

   STEP One   Planting the right type of rose for your area

There are many different types of roses, but the most important consideration in choosing a rose, is selecting one that will perform well in your climate.

It’s a good bet that most of the roses on sale right now at your local gardening center are well -suited for where you live.

 (Naturally, if it’s snowing outside, nothing is available in your area–yet:))

Congratulations if you live in a pleasant climate year round.  You have a wide variety of roses to choose from.  If you live in a colder area, you can still grow lots of different roses; just make sure to check that the rose is winter hardy, if you live in a very temperate  zone.

             Different Categories of Roses

 Yes, I know that  this  blog  is  titled  “English  Roses”, but I am not in England:  I live in the Midwest.

Obviously, I prefer the classic, well formed “rose-like” rose (if that makes sense), although there are many more varieties out there (some of which look nothing like roses).

Basically, I prefer your classic, “gee I love you and won’t you be mine” type rose, in just about every single color there is.

But I also like the miniature roses, and the climbing variety which so romantically trail off of walls, and over arbors.

Probably, you already know what type of rose you like, but if you would like some points to ponder, consider the following:

                    Classic Roses (Bush Variety).

When you think of one red rose, you are probably envisioning a classic rose from a single, hardy rose bush.

These are the kind with sturdy stems (unlike vine roses)  that stand unsupported when placed inside of a vase, and look so nice amassed in groups of 6 to one dozen.

Horticulturally speaking, there are many different botanical varieties to choose from in this category, but I’m not fussing with all of that–I am trying to reach people who have a desire to grow roses.  Simply put, if you like the kind of roses that look good in bouquets, then you want the kind of roses which grow on a bush.

Now, maybe you just like the way that the actual flower itself looks.  You like that classic rosebud look, but you aren’t necessarily stressing about it’s stem.  If you just want well- formed roses that look great in your garden, you might like the look of the:

                    Rambling rose (Climbing Roses)

  As the name suggests, rambling roses like to ramble–as in, across the lawn, over a stone wall, or even up the sides of your home.  They rarely need pruning (as rose bushes do), and they come in  plenty of thornless varieties.

Depending on which kind you choose, they look every bit as good as the roses from bushes, though many climbing roses have smaller buds comparatively speaking.  Just read the description of your rose carefully before buying.

If you want alot of blooms, you almost can’t go wrong with rambling roses.  You will get far more blooms per square inch then you  could ever dream of with even the most prolific rose bush.

These roses are simply wonderful for landscaping, for framing front doors, and for tucking into toddlers’ hair.

But given all of that, maybe you are still hesitant.  After all, roses have a daunting reputation, and if this is your first rose ever, you almost certainly have some reservations.  May I appeal to you with the easiest rose ever:

                  The Moss Rose  

Now, I’m not about to tell you that I know the botanical name for this performer, or even that it looks like a rose, but if you are looking for something that’s practically foolproof, this is your sure bet.

Moss Roses are actually succulents.  You’ve probably seen them in a rock garden sometime, somewhere.  Ah, yes, now I remember; I believe these babies are called “portacula” and they look like something that would grow in Santa Fe.  I loaded up the crevices of some cement blocks with these, and stuffed a few of them inside of  my rock wall–literally.  My husband’s a carpenter, and he’s always building something.  He placed some of his leftover building materials on our lawn (photo pending) and then he sort of, well…forgot about it.  Oh what to do?  With stray bricks strewn across my garden, there was only one solution–create a rock garden thriving with moss roses.  These beauties spread wonderfully, and thrive in full sun.  Just make sure that they are well- watered until they are established.

 Well, the day is dawning to a close  (11:23p.m. in  my  neck of the woods).  I hope  I’ve provided enough   information here to whet your whistle and pique your interest.

If you have any questions you’d like to ask me, you can email me at e-ternal at live dot com.

Put the word “English Roses” in the subject line, or I will mistake you for spam.

Good Night for now, and God Bless,

                                                                     Victoria Sue


Published in: on December 15, 2006 at 5:32 am  Leave a Comment  

Anyone Can Grow Roses

So what’s all the hoop-de-doo about growing roses?

Yes, they are heavy feeders.

Yes, they are prone to mold.

And, yes, to bloom their best, they need to be pruned.


But so what? Everything worthwhile requires maintenance.
All gardening success boils down to a few simple foundational truths, and growing roses is no different.

It’s as simple as this—


If you will plant the right type of rose,
In the right kind of soil,
At the proper time,

In the right location
You WILL have roses.

Treat for pests and mold occasionally, and you will have robust, healthy roses.

Feed them occasionally, and you will have beautiful roses.

Do all of the above, be willing to prune, prune, prune, and you will have lots and lots of robust, beautiful, healthy roses.

It’s just as simple as that.

Read the next few posts for elementary info on getting started!

Published in: on December 15, 2006 at 12:57 am  Leave a Comment  

Growing Roses

I decided to make this info site after discovering for myself that it really IS possible to grow your own roses.

Let me tell you about it..

My first rose from my husband.

I was sitting at my kitchen table, a nervous wreck over this guy I had met at my church. I knew he liked me, and I had no idea why I was having feelings for him. I hadn’t dated since conceiving my then 8 year old daughter, and had no interest whatsoever in meeting someone.

Suddenly, a knock at my front door brought me back to reality. There stood prince charming with a Starbucks gift card, and the perfect “I like you” type rose…yellow with peach tints.

It was love at first sight (with the rose, I mean…the love for my husband came later).

Married three years later, and in our first home, my husband decided to choose a beautiful rose for our flower garden. Of course, we chose one that looked like his first to me. I can not tell you it’s name, I only know that it was, and is, completely beautiful.

And thus began our love affair with roses.

Today, roses line our rock wall, and grow up an arbor by our front  door.

On any down day, I can snip a cutting for propogation, put it on my window sill, and smile, knowing a new plant is on the way.

There’s no feeling quite like it.

Published in: on November 14, 2006 at 4:50 pm  Comments (1)  
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