Years ago a really stuffy up tight and out of sight guy said “Oh, it’s too late to plant roses.”
Let me tell you….it is never too late to plant a rose bush. Roses are EASY…don’t let any slob tell you otherwise. I’m not saying you stick them in the ground and walk away…this is a living creature we are speaking about. The most important thing to remember about planting a rose is that it must be planted where you see it everyday and where other people, like total strangers can also see it every day. Why…’cause roses are the magic moments of a garden…they are an ancient species and carry the ages in every leaf, every petal, every thorn and every bud. Oh…remember…if you get pricked by a thorn it means great great luck is on the way!
So now down to the practical stuff. You need at least 8 hours of strong sunshine throughout the day for a rose to bloom. June is indeed the month of the rose and is when your rose will have its first blush of beautiful blooms. So you need 8 hours of sun ALL SUMMER LONG at the location you want to plant…not just 8 hours in June.
If you have enough light, go get yourself a rose. I suggest ONLY CANADIAN BRED roses. If the tag doesn’t say MADE IN CANADA, go to the next or ask for Canadian Roses Only. The Explorer Series invented by Agriculture Canada after WWII, to encourage people to garden and beautify their neighborhoods (and to sooth the tattered souls of returning soldiers, nurses, docs and all others who fought in Europe) are TOUGH, disease resistant and because they are Canadian to their roots, are way too nice for bugs to bother. I have a George Vancouver and it is gorgeous…see pic! I LOVE it. It blooms all summer, it’s blooms work well in vases and it has a beautiful gentle scent when warmed by the sun. It is right by my front door.
Oh: Before you head off to buy your rose, fill your watering can and set it in the sun. If you don’t have a watering can (?????I thought you were a gardener?????) fill your kettle and leave the lid open and set it out in the sun.
So, you’ve got your rose. The first thing you do with it when you get it home is set it in the shade and give it a long drink from your sundrenched watering can or your sundrenched kettle. Chlorine has burnt off, the temp of the water is perfectly ambient and your rose will immediately be able to drink up without any shock factor. NEVER WATER A ROSE FROM THE GARDEN HOSE. You water it with left over water in your kettle or water from boiling potatoes, corn, NOT FROM THE HOSE.
Now that the rose is happy for a few hours, get to work. Dig a hole – A REALLY BIG HOLE. Much bigger = wider than rose pot. Let’s say 3 times the width of your pot and deep enough to meet the same spot on your rose as does the soil in the pot.
Fill the whole to the top with water…from the hose is OK here because you are going to let the water sit and soak into the soil. When the water has disappeared, place compost (you know I love Nincompoop compost) or any organic matter will do – old leaves, vegetable matter, potato peels, carrot peels and fill the hole again and let it soak in again. Now, go water the rose again, really well with ambient water. You’re almost ready for the big moment.
If you are going to be very conscientious, you will wait 24 hours and let the hole rest, let all the soil creatures calm down and let the soil cities adjust. Or, if you just can’t wait to see that rose in your good earth, at least wait until your hole is shaded and the sun has passed over it. Do not stress the new rose and you by planting in seering sun. Give the little sucker a chance.
After giving your rose another good soaking, take the pot out of the shade and move to your new hole. With one gloved hand splayed across the soil in which the rose sits, tip the pot upside down and slide the pot off the plant. Still holding the entire rose upside down, gently loosen the roots at the bottom of the pot. If some soil falls away, relax. Lower the plant into the ground and turn it around to the way you wish it to face you and the sun.
Gently fill (back fill) in the hole with soil….half way then douse with water ….not from the hose….from a watering can. Fill the rest of the hole. Gently tap down the soil WITH THE FLAT OF YOUR HANDS. Never stomp on newly planted plants like they advertise….it crushes all the capillary roots that draw in the water. Stand up and stand back and decide if you like the actual positioning of your new rose. Yes (I hope so) Now, kneel down and with the flat side of your hand, pressing down to make a gully, draw a circle about 10″ away from the main stem. This is where you are going to water from your watering can.
NEVER GET THE LEAVES WET. NEVER WATER A ROSE WITH A HOSE. Slowly pour water from your watering can every day for the next 10 days. Doing this first thing in the a.m. with your coffee in one hand and your watering can in the other is the best time to water roses (or anything for that matter) Within 10 days you should be seeing new little buds, new little green shoots. HOORAY! All is well.
Hooray….you have a rose in your garden….you have made your world and ours immeasurably better, more beautiful place. The universe thanks you.