Monday, May 5, 2014

The Roses in My Yard

Once upon a time I had over 30 roses in my yard in the house on Carol Dr., in Melbourne, FL. Then I became involved in Little League, Youth soccer, Teaching Sunday school, Band parents and more. By the time we sold the house on Carol Drive only 7 roses were left! Most fell victim to Black Spot and mildew, a real problem in humid Florida.

I didn't try to grow roses in Georgia. The clay soil and a 4.5 year drought discouraged me. Shortly after we moved to South Carolina Jim bought me three unknown name roses for Valentine's Day. It was later identified for me as Mr. Lincoln. My mom loved this roses as it was a large bloom and so easy to see from our screened porch.

A very well-known hybrid tea. Long pointed buds open into large, well-formed, long stemmed, fully double 4" blooms (petals 24+) of velvety, deep red. The velvety texture of the bloom is almost unbelievable. 'Mr. Lincoln' has outstandingly strong damask fragrance that seduces the senses. A vigorous, tall, upright continual blooming bush with dark green foliage. Makes a good cut flower.The Mister Lincoln rose is a popular choice because of its hardiness, fragrance, and color vibrancy. The Mister Lincoln rose bears a famous ancestry, as it is named after President Abe Lincoln. Requiring surprisingly little care once its rose bushes are established, the Mister Lincoln rose is a great choice for beginning gardeners who are seeking a fragrant, delightful addition to their gardens.

After trying several different plants by my mailbox I decided to give the Knockout Rose a try based on the 'easy care' label. For me it has worked out to be an easy care rose. The biggest problem for me here are the Japanese beetles that seem to love them.  But they recover and keep on blooming. I prune mine heavily once a year and lightly as needed to keep them full and in check so thy don't take over the mailbox.

Knock Out™ is a compact, tidy shrub rose and resistant to black-spot.  Blooms are fire engine red in cool weather and a cherry red in the summer months. The foliage is a dark purplish green and turns to burgundy in the fall. Tough foliage and blooms. Knock Out™ is drought tolerant and If left un-pruned, The Knock Out® Family of Roses can easily grow to be more than 3-4' wide x 3-4' tall. Periodic trims will keep them maintained at a smaller size. A once a year cut (to about 12-18" above the ground) in early spring (after the last hard frost) is also recommended for maximum performance.

Having some success with these two roses I decided to try one of the noisette roses. You may not know about this rose, I only discovered them when I moved to Charleston. The horticulturist where I work  gave me one about a year ago. It didn't do a lot the first year but is taking off this spring. Not sure which noisette I have but it may be a climber. 

  • Bloom: heavy in both spring and fall, scattered flowers in summer
  • Range: all South--though some may be tender in Upper South
  • Light: at least six hours direct sun
  • Soil: any well drained
  • Water: Soak root zone with about 1 inch of water weekly during growing season.
  • Fertilizer: Apply a slow-release fertilizer (such as Mills Magic Rose Mix) at pruning times (usually February and August). Apply a liquid fertilizer (such as alfalfa tea or fish emulsion) every two weeks when rose is blooming heavily. Do not feed after October.
  • Nice to know: Noisette roses, while not impervious to black spot, thrive without being sprayed. 

A common rose trivia question is to name the only rose class that originated in the US. The answer is the noisettes around 1811. An American rose with a French class name. John Champneys was from South Carolina and liked to tinker with hybridizing. Allegedly he crossed the musk rose, Rosa moschata with a china, possibly Old Blush. From this he got a repeat blooming climber with clusters of pom-pom like blooms that was named Champneys' Pink Cluster. He soon lost interest in the rose, but a gentlemen (a friend or worker at his plantation) named Noisette sent seeds of this rose to his brother Philip in France. Philip bred several roses from the seedlings of Pink Cluster and the new roses caused quite a stir. They honored him by naming the class noisettes.

If I continue to have some luck with these 3 roses I may have to find a way to add more to my garden!