Hunter Valley Gardening – Roses

Winter is over and Spring is in the air. The sights, scents and sounds are all around with the garden coming back to life. Trees are coming into leaf, the blossoms are out and the roses are budding up ready to commence their 9-month flowering spree.
The rose is one of the most widely grown of all plants and dates back to ancient times, there are even fossil evidence discovered in Colorado dating back 35 million years.
The domestic rose most likely originated in Asia around 5 thousand years ago and has made its mark throughout history as symbols of love, beauty, war and politics. In ancient Egypt the rose was considered the most sacred of all flowers and was used as offerings to Gods as well as being used as wreaths in tombs. In 1492 a crew member on Columbuss ship picked a rose branch out of the ocean which was a sign of the presence of land and the next day Columbus discovered America, while in England in during the 15th century the rose was used as a symbol for factional fighting. Known as the War of the Roses- the white rose symbolised York and the red rose symbolised Lancaster. In the 17th century roses were in such demand that royalty considered roses and rose water as legal tender and Shakespeare refers to roses over 50 times in his works.
In modern times the rose continues to make its mark with the Netherlands being the world leader in the export of roses with over 19,000 acres under rose cultivation while Zambia being a small nation has 80 per cent of its cultivated land dedicated to the production of roses. The rose is also the national floral emblem of the US and was signed in by law in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan.

So what does all this mean? Not much really except that the rose has stood the test of time, not only due to its beauty and elegance but also because it is one of the toughest plants around. Full sun, a little fertiliser and some water and the modern rose will reward the even the most novice of gardeners. The biggest problem people face these days is which rose to grow. Roses come in all shapes, sizes and colours (except blue!) and the range can be a bit confusing – Bush, Climbers, Standards, Ramblers, Pillars, Hybrid Teas, Floribundas and landscape are few types but all will do well in our climate.
If you have never tried to grow roses before and not sure what to grow, here is a list of the top 10 we grow at Hunter Valley Gardens. All these varieties are tough, disease resistant and very free flowering and will reward with months of colour.

Apricot Nectar – A floribunda rose with large, very fragrant apricot blooms with pink tints. A compact bush with strong stems. An excellent cut flower.

Chameleon – A floribunda miniature rose with flowers that change colour as they mature on the plant. Starting at a mid yellow with the outer petals changing to pink while the centre changes to white.

Double Delight – A large flowering hybrid tea rose. A very fragrant rose with high centred double flowers. Creamy white with red streaks around the edges of the petals.

Fiona’s Wish – A vigorous hybrid tea. Large vivid pink petals flushed with a white underside. A full classic rose with fragrance. Bush. Excellent for cut flowers.

Iceberg – The best rose available. A white flowering cluster floribunda with slightly scented flowers. A very free flowering rose that will show colour all year round.

Just Joey – A large flowering hybrid tea. Full petalled flower in tones of fawn, copper and buff. Very fragrant in warmer climates with extremely large flowers that fold out.

Peace – A vigorous large flowered hybrid tea. Very large flowers are a bright yellow flushed with pinkish-red at the edges and are lightly scented.

Pierre De Ronsard – A pillar/climbing rose with very full double cupped blooms with a slight fragrance. Flowers are centred with mid pink and fade to white on the outer petals.

Seduction – An open flowered floribunda rose. Buds start at mid pink and fade to a white. Flowers open completely to expose stamens. A delicate, elegant flower.

Simply Magic – A spreading floribunda rose. Very heavy flowering variety with carmine-pink clusters of open petal flowers. A low and spreading variety with a very long flowering period.

For those who enjoy their roses or want to try something new, there are some exceptional new releases available for 2008 that are sure to inspire.

Tequila La Savillana A floribunda with bright yellow-orange flowers blending to pink. Loose medium flowers that offer a continuous display.

Blooming Miracle Highly perfumed repeat flowerer with apricot, cream blooms. Very hardy.

Fire & Ice A hybrid tea with a white petalled flower with cherry red tips. Excellent disease tolerance and dark glossy green foliage.

My Hero A Classic shiny pink flower that will not fade and is self-cleaning. Massive flowers borne above dark glossy foliage.

Love-In A psychedelic rose with swirling lemon, pink flower that ages to a rose colour. Voted the most disease resistant rose at the 2006 rose trials.

Make sure you visit your local garden centre to see all the latest releases and enjoy the spring weather and Happy Gardening.

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