Guest Author - Charity Armstrong
The rose gardening season is upon us. Now is the time to plan your new rose garden for this summer. By taking care to insure the proper soil and location for your future rose garden, you can give your roses a start in the right direction.
First, you want to select a site that receives at least eight full hours of sun every day. If you have a choice morning sun is preferable. The sun coming up in the morning and drying the leaves of your new roses will help to prevent fungal diseases from developing. In general roses that receive the first sun of the day are always happiest.
Second, you want to select a site that has excellent drainage. If your roses are planted in an area that frequently is muddy or has standing water your roses will grow slowly and be prone to disease. If the area youíve selected does seem to have poor drainage, you can build the bed up through grading the area. You could try a raised bed with a wood, stone or brick border. Another option would be to simply change the grade by creating a hill of garden soil.
Roses are particular about their soil. Itís highly important to properly amend the soil in your flower bed if needed. Your roses will never grow to their full beauty and potential if the soil in the bed is poor. Clay soil will be too dense. Clay will hold water for too long when it rains and it wonít absorb water well when itís dry. Sandy soil will have difficulty holding water and cause your roses to dry out far too quickly. The best soil mix for your rose bed should be an equal mix of clay, sand and hummus or compost. This mixture will hold water, yet drain well and will also hold nutrients found in the soil and in any fertilizer you apply.
Another concern is the ph of your soil. Roses prefer a soil ph from 5.8 to 6.8. Itís easy to have your soil tested if youíre unsure of your ph. Simply contact your local Master Gardener office and you can take them a sample. Each local office will have a different policy, but generally the soil ph test is free. Theyíll give you guidelines of how to take a small shovel of soil from a variety of areas in the bed, place it in a clear zippered bag, and drop it off at their office. If your soil doesnít fall within the ph necessary they can recommend exactly how much lime or sulfur youíll need to apply.
Though the extra planning for your new rose bed may seem a bit involved, the results will be well worth your time. Once your rose has been planted, you canít properly change your bed without digging your roses back up. Extra flower bed preparations now can insure healthy, happy roses that will require less maintenance in the future.