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Roses have deep history and many styles to choose from

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Jennifer Moore
You need this in your perennial border.

Roses have a deep history behind them as well as their beauty. There are fossils of roses dated 35-40 millions years ago and are thought to originate in Asia. The oldest fossils were found in Colorado, Oregon and Montana, with younger fossils found in Yugoslavia and Germany. The oldest identified rose is Rosa gallica, commonly called the French Rose, can be dated back as early as the 12th century B.C.

Since then, many varieties and classes have graced gardens all over the world. The turning point between the two classifications of roses is 1867, when the first Hybrid Tea "La France" was introduced. The two classifications are Old Garden Roses and Modern Roses, with different types broken down underneath them.

The Old Garden Roses include the China, Damask, Gallica, Species and Tea Roses to name a few. These have four distinct sections to their blooms.

China Roses - Are extremely tender, bloom small flowers repeatedly all summer amongst green glossy leaves. They provide the foundation of many hybrid tea roses seen today.

Damask Roses - These are still grown commercially in the Near East for the production of rose oil. The arching canes provide medium-sized, semi-double or double, very fragrant clustered blooms.

Gallica Roses - The oldest identified type of rose. They spread rapidly by underground runners, with plants being compact and having rough leaves.

Species Roses - These are the wild, original roses. Requiring little care, many are hardy in our area, are large plants and most have single flowers. The commonly used is Rosa Rugosa, with its dark green, crinkled leaves and fragrant pink blossoms. The fall brings bright orange rose hips to decorate the bush.

Tea Roses - Brought from China in the 19th century, these provide the long pointed bud that has been passed on to modern roses. It is a tender plant with large double flowers that appear all summer.

The Modern Roses include the Hybrid Tea, Floribunda, Grandiflora, Miniature and Climbers.

Hybrid Tea Roses - Many are fragrant and produce one semi-double or double blossom to a stem all summer long.

Floribunda Roses - as the name suggests, it has many flowers in clusters or sprays. Plants tend to be hardy, low growing and produce single or semi-double flowers. They are the most versatile of roses, as they can be used as a hedge, mass planted, specimen or an edging.

Grandiflora Roses - The rose "Queen Elizabeth", was the reason for creating this class. It is a hardy cross between a Floribunda and Hybrid Tea, has a long stem for cutting and produces clusters of blooms throughout the summer. They are best placed at the back of the border because they are the tallest of the modern roses.

Miniature Roses - These are roses that have miniature flowers, leaves and stems, yet resemble the larger varieties. They have gained popularity over recent years, as they can be grown as a house plant as well as in the garden.

Climbing Roses - These roses require support for their canes, as they do not have tendrils like vines to attach themselves. Instead, they have long pliable canes that can be tied vertically or horizontally, and when tied horizontally they produce more flowers. Most climbing roses produce large flowers in clusters, either blooming just in the spring or on and off all summer. Many are sports or mutations of bush roses, therefore you will see the original species named as well, such as; Climbing Floribunda, Climbing Grandiflora and so on.

The American Rose Society created another classification, simply called Shrub Roses. These roses can't fit into the above two classifications, are modern roses with large growth habit and include Hybrid Moyesii and Hybrid Rugosa, as well as others.

Roses will grow vigorously and give the gardener many years of pleasure when properly cared for. Such things to consider are a proper planting site, site preparation, proper plant selected for the area, fertilization, disease control, pruning and winter maintenance.

Roses need a minimum of 6 hours of sunshine per day and like a well drained soil. Before planting your rose bush consider your location; along a fence, at the front of a border, a small space and so on. These will all determine what type of rose you will need to purchase.

Watering should be done deeply once a week, applied at ground level and not in the hot sun. The leaves should be dry at nightfall or blackspot and mildew will appear. If water is applied in hot sun, the leaves will burn, therefore watering is best done in early morning.

Diseases and insects affect roses, with chemical and organic powders and sprays available to help control these. Try to purchase varieties that are mildew, rust and blackspot resistant as well.

Fertilizers with a doubled number in the center and are a 1:2:1 ratio work the best for roses. These comprise of 10:29:10, 5:10:8 or 6:10:8. Never apply granular fertilizer to a newly planted rose bush, instead use blood- or bone-meal until it's first bloom, then apply granular fertilizers sparingly. Compost, liquid fertilizers and organic fertilizers are alternatives that can be used.

I have many varieties of roses throughout my gardens, but I can always find room for more. I mix them through the perennials, because I find they are in a more relaxed setting that way. I have approximately 25 bushes thoughout my gardens, all requiring different care in their setting, but in the end I find their care is quite minimal, so I suppose that is the reason for my purchasing another this year.

Roses have been used for centuries; in art, literature, religion, medicine, food/scents, music, festivals, legend and among leaders. Is it any wonder why roses are seen all over the world, gracing many gardens.

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