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Love is a Rose!

Posted by presspass on
Love is a Rose!

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“Everything is coming up roses!” Ethel Merman

When Cupid shoots his arrow of amour on February 14th, more than 51% of the flowers bestowed upon the lovers will be roses.  The allure of roses dates back more than 5,000 years when rose cultivation began in China. Evidence in fossils indicates that the wild rose is as ancient as 35 million years. No wonder that the rose has symbolized beauty, love, politics, and war for the past five centuries in our modern world.

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Roses possess a classic beauty with an unrivaled diversity of shapes, sizes, colors, and fragrances. Blooms may be solitary and delicate, semi-double, open cupped, rosette, pompon, peony-like, buttoned, and ruffled. They may be single stemmed or present a bouquet of several blossoms on a stalk.  Newer disease-resistant varieties brag continuous flowering from the first bud in spring to the final pruning in winter. 

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Best of all, with a little know-how, roses are one of the easiest plants to grow in our gardens offering perennial joy.  Plant them in a formal garden bordered by boxwoods, or add varying heights of roses to a casual mixed backyard bed. Pop them in containers to add elegance to a porch, patio, or balcony. Train climbers and ramblers to grow on arches, gates, trellises, fences, and walls adding vertical appeal.

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February is an excellent month to plant bare root roses. 

How to plant bare root roses

1.    Decide where you want to plant roses. Although some varieties will tolerate a reasonable amount of shade, most roses require at least four hours of daily sunshine.

2.    Once you know the “where”, you can decide the “which”. Peruse rose catalogs and visit your nursery.  You want to purchase the right rose for the right purpose. Make sure that the bare-root roses you select are healthy and sturdy. If planting more than one, it is best to purchase the same color and type of rose in uneven numbers. For example, buy three or five of the same rose for preferable impact.

3.    Soak your roses overnight in a bucket of water to rehydrate them.

4.    Dig a hole large enough to allow the roots to spread.

5.    Spade the soil well and add compost.

6.    After removing each rose from the bucket, place the bare roots of each rose in a separate hole. The bottom of the stems needs to be two to three inches below the top of the hole.

7.    Replace the soil and tap around the rose with your foot until the ground is firm.

8.    Water slowly and deeply.

9.    Mulch with bark, shredded wood, or pine needles to three inches of thickness.  This prevents erosion, controls temperature variations, suppresses weeds, and makes for a prettier presentation.

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Maintenance of your rose garden

1.    Watering properly is key to healthy roses. Water deeply without flooding and be cognizant of your sprinkler system to assure that your roses are not over or under irrigated. 

2.    Fertilize in March, then approximately eight weeks apart starting in May through September. For my first feeding, I like to use alfalfa pellets mixed with diatomaceous earth.

3.    Although the new varieties of roses are more disease resistant, black spot, rust, and powdery mildew remain the culprits to control. Destroy any diseased, fallen leaves.

4.    If you have a plethora of other flowers, your garden will have developed a more natural eco-system, keeping most pests away. Aphids can be sprayed with soapy water, or introduce ladybugs. 

5.    Deadhead as flowers wilt and prune stems back one and a half feet after flushes of flowers to shape your plant.

6.    Once a year, usually towards the end of January, heavy prune roses removing any dead, diseased, or damaged stems. Old wood can be cut from older roses to encourage fresh growth. Shrub roses can be pruned 1/3 to 2/3. Hybrid teas and floribundas should be pruned to ¾. Leave ramblers alone or shape them according to your wishes. Remove the dead wood on climbers and cut the year’s flowering stems back to ¾.


Whether you decide to cultivate shrub roses, old roses, rambling roses, climbing roses, hybrid teas, tree roses, or floribundas, you will be rewarded with beauty, fragrance, and the ability to create sweet-scented arrangements throughout the year. 

For Valentine’s Day, consider giving your loved one a bouquet of roses and a bare root plant! Double the pleasure! Everything is coming up roses!

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Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for February

  IDENTIFY: With the rains, fungi are at their edible best. If you don’t know how to identify mushrooms that grow in your garden, do not eat them. Buy from a reputable source and enjoy the impressive nutritional benefits of this humble fungus. Whether you eat shitake white, oyster, hen-of-the-woods, Portobello, or others, mushrooms are brimming with phytochemicals, antioxidants, and fiber, all which are packed with anti-inflammatory properties that can protect you from numerous diseases. 

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  APPRECIATE: Daffodils and narcissi have unfurled their blooms suggesting the promise of Printemps.

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  BUY: Growing with the Goddess Gardener is a gift that will give perennially. Order copies with extra freebies at http://www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store.

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    PERUSE catalogs to create your plan for spring planting.

    FIND a rose with the same name of your partner. If you have the dollars, there are companies that will allow you to name a rose. 

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    ENJOY this final month of garden rest before the busy spring season arrives.

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Happy Love Day!

Read more and see photos at https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1225/Cynthia-Brians-Gardening-Guide-for-February-Love-is-a-rose.html

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Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, raised in the vineyards of Napa County, is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are1® 501 c3. 

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Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show and order her books at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy a copy of her new books, Growing with the Goddess Gardener and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. 

Hire Cynthia for projects, consults, and lectures.



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Donate to Fire Disaster Relief via Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 at www.BethestarYouAre.org


Roses by Any Other Name…

Posted by Editor on
Roses by Any Other Name…

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Digging Deep-Gardening with Cynthia Brian

“I don’t know whether nice people tend to grow roses or growing roses makes people nice.”   Roland A. Browne

Roses are the most popular bloomers in the world with a long and colorful history as symbols of love, war, beauty, friendship, and politics. According to fossil evidence, the majestic rose is older than humankind, dating to over thirty five million years ago. The cultivation of garden roses most likely began in China over five thousand years ago. Throughout the Northern Hemisphere, the genus Rosa includes one hundred and fifty species.  Roses were used for celebrations, perfume, medicine, fashion, and décor.

The Persians considered the rose a representation of love, the Romans planted extensive public rose gardens, the Greeks wrote about roses, and pagan goddesses were associated with this fragrant flower. During the fifteenth century, “The War of the Roses” saw the House of York with its white rose fighting against the red rose House of Lancaster for control of England. In France, Napoleon’s wife Josephine planted an extensive rose collection at Chateau de Maimason which is where the famed illustrator, Pierre Joseph Redoute completed what is considered one of the finest records of botanical illustration with his watercolor collection, “Les Rose”.
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Contrary to popular belief, roses are extremely easy to grow with relatively low maintenance and rewards that far outweigh any efforts on their behalf.  This is the time of year when heavy pruning is in order as well as planting bare root specimens.

Let’s look at the different kinds of roses and how to care for them.

These versatile sun-loving shrubs have the most blossoms of the hybrid teas setting clusters of three to fifteen blossoms per stem.

Hybrid Tea
Ideal for cutting, these tall,  striking long stemmed roses are the ones you’ll find in florist bouquets. Hybrid teas have only one flower per stem with many varieties revealing a lovely rose fragrance.

These repeat bloomers are a cross between a floribunda and a hybrid tea. Growing up to six feet tall, these elegant roses feature clusters on shorter stems.
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Shrub and Carpet
Disease resistant, compact growth, impressive clusters with little to no maintenance makes these a great selection for hillsides. These landscape roses spread growing close to the ground, which is why they are often referred to as “carpet roses”.  Wack them off at the end of the season for even more blooms in the months to come.

Trained to a trellis, fence, or arbor, these roses produce long, arching canes with prolific blooms. On a wall or wire, they will dress up any garden.

Hardy root-stock is grafted to a long stemmed rose then grafted again to a rose bush at the top of the stem to make this elegant rose.  Additional care is necessary to maintain these specimens.

Perfect for container gardening, these very resilient roses range from six inches to two feet in height. They flower consistently and are great for small spaces. My favorite is called Sun Sprinkles with creamy butter yellow florets on a plant that is only about one foot tall.
Grades: When you buy a rose, you’ll see a number on the tag: 1, 1 ½ and 2. These are grades showing the size and quality of the plant with the best being #1 which will have bigger and better canes, will grow faster, and provide more blooms in the first year. It is always worth buying the best quality rose appropriate for your particular microclimate.

Patents: Some breeders have registered their roses with the patent office so that they cannot be duplicated. This means that you cannot legally propagate it without permission.

Growing Roses: The most important thing to remember for pest protection is to buy a top quality specimen that is appropriate for your conditions. Although most roses prefer full sun, there are varieties that grow beautifully in light shade.  Roses need good drainage in acidic soil. Improve clay soil by working organic matter into the beds to a depth of twelve inches. Gypsum, pine needles, redwood leaves, and coffee grounds will reduce alkalinity.  Fertilize in March with a mixture of alfalfa pellets and diatomaceous earth.  For insect control, companion plant with lavender and alliums.

DeadHeading and Pruning: After blooms are spent, deadhead to encourage repeat blooming. Don’t worry about how you cut the stems. Roses aren’t fussy. You can pinch off the blooms with your fingers or use a sharp shear to cut to the fifth leaf. Once a year at the end of January, prune the wood to half size for all modern varieties. For floribundas, hybrid teas, and grandifloras, early spring just as the buds are swelling is a good time to prune. Old-fashioned roses and climbers need pruning after flowering as they bloom on old wood. If you don’t know what kind of rose bush you have, don’t worry. Prune in late January or February and let nature do its magic. Roses can not be killed by heavy pruning.
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Rose Hips: If you don’t deadhead, you’ll notice tiny little orange to red balls forming where the bloom used to be. The birds love these rose hips as nutritional food and they are also food for humans, especially flavorful in teas. However, by allowing rose hips to form, the bush will stop blooming as the hips signal it is time for a rest. Make sure to prune them off to enable lots of spring flowers.

Thorns: Most roses do have thorns, some more so than others. I am willing to put up with a few cuts now and then because of the pleasure roses provide. I repeat what our great President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, had to say about roses: “Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses.”

At this time of year you’ll find numerous bare-root varieties available at your nursery and garden center. If you are seeking special roses, peruse rose catalogues. Order David Austin English roses through February 19th and receive a 20% discount off your order. Go to www.DavidAustinRoses.com. Use promo code UHA.

Being a rosarian does breed kindness in people. This year plant a rose garden and enjoy years of beauty, fragrance, and armfuls of bouquets to share throughout every season. 2016 is coming up roses.

Happy Gardening and Happy Growing!

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Cynthia Brian
The Goddess Gardener
Starstyle® Productions, llc
Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show at www.StarStyleRadio.net
I am available as a speaker, designer, and consultant.

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