The Rose Garden I Never Promised

My wife, Mary, and I have been married a little over 33 years and we’ve seen a lot, as most couple have.  Battled too many Red River floods to count, (lost the battle in ’97), moved an old house twice, worked side-by-side in our greenhouse business for 20 years, raised 4 children (2 married, 2 in high school) and nearly lost our home to a house fire 4 years ago. And that’s just for starters. Most married couples could write a book, probably two.

We’ve always worked with plants and gardening, but I never quite got around to making a rose garden. We planted a rose bush here and there – mostly shrub roses – in the landscape at our old place, before the latest house move. Creating an actual rose garden was always on my to-do-someday list. Sometimes I’d sing Mary a line from “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden,” and we’d laugh.

‘Peace’ Hybrid tea rose, blooming this past summer.

Well, this summer it happened. Starting a landscape over from scratch has some positives. When debating what to plant by the back door, we decided it would be a perfect spot for a rose garden – a genuine little rose garden that we could see up close every time we walked back and forth from the garage. And not just winter-hardy no-work shrub roses, but genuine hybrid tea roses, the type that reward you when you fuss over them and tuck them in for winter under a blanket of straw or leaves. The type that require work.

I like shrub roses too, and we planted 8 of them in our landscape. But shrub roses are “hybrid tea wannabees” in flower form and fragrance. I decided if we wanted florist quality flowers and the heavenly rose perfume of hybrid teas, then we should plant hybrid teas. I suppose you could call them high-maintenance, but it isn’t work if you’re having fun.

Now the rose garden I never promised, but always intended, exists, and is currently nestled safely under a blanket of straw. The Peace roses in the photo below were extra special. The fragrance alone made any extra work well worthwhile. Happy Gardening!

6 Responses

    1. Don Kinzler

      I didn’t. This was their first year, and they hadn’t grown overly large. In the past I’ve had best luck leaving the tops intact, unless they’re very tall, and letting the tops help hold the straw (or leaves). Then I prune them back in spring. Roses respond very well to pruning, which forces out vigorous growth that has more bloom-power than the older canes. Thanks!

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