A Beginners Guide to the Rose Garden

Roses are one of the most popular domestic plants around the world today. Protected and treasured, they hold universal appeal; whether around the cottage doorway or the grandest palace grounds. Today there is a rose for every place and purpose, from the formal garden, arbors, trellises and wings to hedges, accent plants and decorative features on patios or terraces. One of the most versatile plants, the rose is an exciting plant for any one interested in gardening.

There are several factors in successfully growing roses of fine quality in your home garden. They include: location, fertile soil, drainage, correct planting, pruning, fertilizing, mulching, winter protection and the control of pests.


In order to produce a good bloom, roses need a minimum of six hour of sun light a day. While not necessary, roses should get a good dose of light shade in the afternoon as this will help their blooms retain color longer. Shrubs or hedges which are heavy surface feeders as this will deprive the roses of much needed nutrients and water. Roses also need good air circulation and do not like confined spaces.


The most important requirements for the soil in which you will grow your roses are drainage and fertility. Roses can thrive in fairly heavy clay or sandy loam soils if these two requirements are met. The Ideal soil for growing roses is a good garden loam with lots of organic matter. Roses also favors a slightly acid soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5


While roses need large quantities of water for their best growth, it is absolutely essential that they have good drainage as they will be seriously injured in standing water. To fix areas with high water tables or poor drainage, laying tiles or crushed stone under the planting will assist the water draining away.


Roses may be planted in the autumn after the bushes have stopped active growth and are dormant but before the ground freezes. They can also be planted in the early spring while the plants are still dormant or they can be planted as potted roses after growth has started. Spring planting should be done as early in the spring as the ground can be successfully worked. Care must be taken when planting potted roses to not break the ball of earth it was planted in.

Growing distances will depend on the type and variety of the roses you will be planting. However, because of their very lively growth habits most roses should be planed about 2 feet apart in general.

The roots of the rose should never be exposed to the sun or wind before planting, but should be kept wrapped in wet paper or moss and left in a dark place like a plastic bag or the garden shed.

In a hole of ample size, place the rose so that the roots are in a natural position and the point of union between the stock and the scion is between 1 and 2 inches below the surface. Planting to high will cause the rose to not have enough support and planting to deep will starve the rose of oxygen. After back filling and packing in the soil firmly, thorough watering will be needed.


The purpose of pruning is to remove dead or weak wood and to maintain height and form. Pruning is dependent on the type of rose you have planed and the part of the world you are in. However there are several fundamentals which apply to all varieties and locals.

1. All dead cane should be removed at the base.

2. Winter damaged canes should be cut back to sound wood.

3. Canes interfering with the height or shape of the plant, or canes that are rubbing other canes should be cut back or removed.

4. Sharp pruning should always be used. Dull shears will damage the plant making fungal and bacterial growth easier.

5. Cuts should be made just above the bud, slanting in the same direction of the bud and as close to the bud as possible without causing damage to it.

Mulching and winter protection

Roses benefit from mulching in the summer. Mulch roses with your desired material making sure not to exceed 1 inch in depth.

Winter protection is dependent on local, climate, exposure and hardiness. Make sure that the ground is well supplied with water. Soil should be brought up around the roses to a height of 10 to 15 inches. After the ground has frozen, mulch with hay or a similar material.

There are few flowers which bring the Touches of warmth and graciousness, of the color and beauty to the surroundings of the modest home like the rose.