Date: June 17, 2018
When I first fed my craving for roses the ‘Queen of Flowers’ I followed the advice of online nurseries. Also, I had breezed thru “Roses for Dummies” and a few books with lots of color with flowers of all kinds.
I learned about the USDA Hardiness Zone Map. USDA Hardiness Zone Map. I lived in Proctor MN just across the road from Duluth MN.
Look closely at the map and you will see Northern Minnesota in the color designated as Zone 3. Duluth is right on the shore of Lake Superior which is Zone 4.
That little blue strip along the lakeshore made all the difference in being able to grow hybrid tea roses or like my experience, add to the compost pile.
This hardiness map is accurate for plant selection and care. Another thing crucial to your garden is that within any zone or an area of a zone you will find microclimates.
An example is my yard. While it is all zone three there is an area next to the house which protects from the north and east. This has allowed me to plant roses and other flowers that say they are for Zone 4.
An example is the rose“Darlow’s Enigma” (so named because the creator is not known). It is a Zone 4 rose which did well in this snug corner. I have since moved it to another which full Zone 3.
I hoped it had hardened to withstand the vagaries of Zone 3. My experiment is only somewhat working out.
Hoping they would survive cost met one plant but one is still going after quite a few years.
A rogue winter will knock it back on its heels. But gentle nurturing and good fertilizer will win the day.
This is a good time to discuss fertilizer.
Good soil and good fertilizer are required for most roses. (Some rugosas do well on sandy beaches and highway berms.)
You can buy compost and manure as a mixture in a bag at almost any garden center or big box store like Menards and Home Depot, my preferred places to shop.
When they run sales on items like mulch and topsoil you save a lot of money. In addition, they are easy to drive to and you can fill your other maintenance needs at the same time.
I used Miracle-Gro Tree and Shrub Soil because it has pieces of branches etc. in it.
Wood adds long-lasting organic matter to the soil which permits nutrients to reach the roots and creates a long-lasting rich soil. There is also a soil for roses explained here.
I found a great product at Home Depot. Moo-nure is real manure without an overabundance of compost. It works well on roses.
Roses are one of the few flowers that love a lot of nitrogeMiracle-Gro.
You will see fertilizer listed as having the mixture of 30-10-10. The first number is “N” for Nitrogen. The second is ‘P’ the amount of phosphorus and the third is ‘K’’ for potassium.
All commercial fertilizers use cow manure unless they specify “Chicken’ or ‘Sheep’ and so on.
Roses love nitrogen as I have noted. If you know someone that has horses you may what them to become your next best friend. Horse manure is high in nitrogen. Well-aged horse manure would a real treat for your roses.
Another good discussion on fertilizer is here. This is a good article on the macro and micronutrients in fertilizer.
Nitrogen provides the green color and generates the growth of plants. A word of caution, I have killed many plants because I used too much fertilizer. Too much nitrogen will burn the plants.
Fertilizing on a hot sunny day should also be avoided for the same reason.
The other fertilizer I used is Miracle-Gro. I used the lawn fertilizer on all of my plants and the grass. I bought the hose attachment that allows you to a bottle of Miracle-Gro liquid.
In the early morning on a Saturday I would fertilize the lawn and also spray the leaves of all the plants including the roses.
Fertilize the roses in the spring, after leaves have developed and several times throughout the summer.
Each book you read may have a different opinion on how to fertilize. I developed my system and encourage you to sometimes forget the books and venture out on your own.
It may reward you or you may end up with something else. The main thing in my mind was to keep learning.
Every few weeks I would gather up two 5 gallon plastic cans, a bag of dry Miracle-Gro for lawns (in the box I would buy at Sam’s there are several individual bags), a stick or some device to stir the solution, and a hose.
The food for lawns has a good amount of nitrogen and is a good price at Sam’s Club.
I would go to the where several roses bushes stood, put the dry crystals of Miracle-Gro in the pail and turn the hose on. Fill the bucket about 80% full.
While the water was filling the bucket I would stir the crystals to help dissolve them. There is no point in using the water to fertilize if all of the crystal remains in the bottom of the bucket.
Now here is where I would throw caution to the wind. Instead of 1 spoonful, I would use two large spoonfuls. (a spoon comes with the fertilizer. It has a large spoon and a small one. I only used the large one).
I would fill both buckets of the well-mixed solution. Then I would go to a rose bush and toss ½ of the bucket at the base of one bush. I would go to the next bush and toss ½ of that bucket on the bush.
I would go back to the first bush and toss the remaining solution on the base of the bush. Then the remaining solution of the other bucket on the second one.
This method allows the fertilizer solution to soak in without flooding them all at once or running off and just helping weeds grow.
It also allowed me to stand up and stretch my back and shoulders. Both had begun talking to me. Standing bent over holding a 5-gallon bucket of water is challenging when there over 20 bushes to fertilize.
One big secret I will share with you. I took almost twenty years to figure out it was easier to bring the empty bucket to the bushes and then fill them with water.
When I was first learning I would fill the buckets at the faucet and carry the full buckets (approximately 30 pounds to a bucket) to the bushes. I am a slow learner!
It is so much easier to carry two empty buckets all over the yard. !?!*
Well, this has grown longer than I expected so I will close with that remark about my lack of efficiency when it was staring me in the face or maybe I should say staring me in the back and shoulders.
The next post will start the process of looking at each garden as I called them and the characteristics of the several types of roses and other plants.
We will look at this fabulous rose for northern gardens. Snow Pavement is her name.
Thanks for stopping by.