April 5, 2014
Roses are a woody perennial flower in the Rosaceae scientific family classification. There are over one hundred and fifty known species, and more than two thousand different varieties. Most species are native to Asia, although some species are native to Europe, North America, and northwest Africa. Roses range in size from miniature to climbers that can reach more than twenty feet in height. Roses are best known as ornamental plants grown for their flowers in the garden, although they can be grown indoors under the right conditions. They have also been used commercially in perfume and sold commercially as a cut flower. A dozen red roses are given as a sign of true love on Valentine’s Day or wedding anniversaries. In addition, they are known to have minor medicinal uses.
Roses have a very long and rich history. Throughout history, they have not only been symbols of both love and beauty, but also that of politics and war. Fossil evidence dates the rose to at least thirty-five million years old. Garden cultivation of roses date back some five thousand years ago to China. With popularity spreading westward, Roman aristocrats established large public rose gardens in Rome, during the height of the Roman Empire. Roses are most often divided into one of two broad categories: old roses and modern roses. Old roses are those varieties discovered or cultivated prior to the cultivation of the hybrid tea rose in 1867, by French nurseryman Jean-Baptiste Guillot. Modern roses include miniatures and dwarfs; the modern shrub and landscape roses; and climbers.
The leaves of a rose alternate along both sides of the stem. In most species, leaves are two to six inches long and are serrated. Thorns, technically called prickles, grow along the stem to assist the plant in hanging onto vegetation, walls or fences, and as every gardener is well aware, are an aggravation whenever working around any rose bush. Flowers vary in size and shape, although they are usually large and showy, with colors ranging from white and yellow to red. The flower of most species has five petals. Each petal is divided into two distinct lobes. Beneath the petals are five sepals.
Roses are rather finicky flowers, and the gardener need be aware of the right growing conditions in order to grow a healthy, flowering plant. The plant needs between six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day, although in hot climates, they need some protection from the intense afternoon sun. In cooler climates, a south or west-facing wall or fence will provide some needed warmth to boost flower production and reduce any damage due to winter’s wrath. Roses need a well-drained, rich soil, with a pH between 6.5 and 7. Roses require more water than most other landscape plants, especially during its first year, while the plant is establishing its roots. A thick layer of organic mulch will help to conserve moisture, while reducing weeds, and will also help promote a healthy root system. Roses also like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, and should be fertilized using a mixture ratio of 5-8-5. Weak, sickly or dead stems need to be pruned as they can lead to disease problems. Pruning away these unhealthy stems will also increase air circulation to the center of the plant and minimize fungus problems. Pruning also stimulates new growth and allows the gardener to shape the plant in a manner they wish. Spent flowers should also be removed during the growing season to encourage re-blooming.
If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too much or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment. Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!
Steven H. Spring