Jun 21, 2010

A Year in the Life of a Rose

a Guide to Growing Roses Coast to Coast
by Rayford Clayton Reddell

I've never grown roses, but am a little familiar with them from the ones in my mother's garden. My daughter has been begging me to plant a rosebush, so I figured I should learn a bit more about them before committing to a real live plant. The first thing I learned from this book is that a person who cultivates or has a special interest in roses is called a rosarian.

A Year in the Life of a Rose seems an excellent book for basic, sound advice on growing healthy, beautiful roses. Written by an expert rosarian, it gives clearly-written, straightforward instructions on how to select, grow and care for roses. Everything from how to prepare the hole and plant your rose, check the soil pH, when and how to prune, what to feed your roses (different for every stage of growth) and how to properly cut roses and keep them fresher longer. All these details have specific variations depending on whether you're growing roses for garden display, indoor cuttings or for rose shows and competitions (which he points out, don't judge on scent or color, so I'm not sure what they judge on- form and size alone?) Most helpfully, in the final chapter "rose gurus" from all across the country give their advice on feeding and pruning schedules and other care specific to different climate zones. Not only do they help you know how to care for roses properly wherever you may live, and what varieties do best there, but also show there are many different methods of winter protection, mulching, etc.

Also very interesting is the author's assessments on rose cultivation practices and his theories on how it will develop in the future. As the book was written fourteen years ago, I was curious and looked some stuff up. Reddell thought there would never be a blue rose, but some Japanese geneticists created one in 2004 (still looks a bit violet to me though). As far as I can tell, he's still correct that there are no black roses although some very dark red varieties come pretty close!

So, if you're interested in roses or trying to grow some, this book is short, easy to read and full of helpful information. I'm certainly hanging onto it until I have roses in my garden! Found this book at a library sale. I read it for the Random Reading Challenge, it was #126 off my shelf.

Rating: 4/5 ........ 176 pages, 1996

1 comment:

stefanie said...

I love roses but the kind of roses I love most, the big blowsy David Austin English roses are not hardy in Minnesota. Because I don't like things in my garden that are fussy I have to go down the line of roses to the rugosas and the ones closest to them. I have one beautiful white rugosa and a medium pink climbing rose I planted last year that is doing tremendously well. I would love to have something deep red but have yet to find a hardy one that doesn't require fuss in my area. If you plant some roses you'll have to take some photos and share :)