Thursday, July 23, 2009

Granny's easy roses

I am quite the opposite of the rose garden fetishist; I believe in the easiest roses possible. Especially when you consider that my "soil" consists three or four inches of decayed granite on top of more or less solid rock on a hillside. So I make do with pots. And not those big, beautiful, pricey pots, either, but pots of a modest size.

Nor do I buy my roses at the nursery. No, I buy around Mother's Day or some other sentimental holiday at the local supermarket. You know, those little containers with miniature roses that make such thoughtful gifts that usually dry up to be thrown away. But put the plants in an eight or ten inch, three gallon pot and they'll grow into a modestly sized bush, rewarding you with flowers throughout the warm months.

They're not those big, lush roses that fanciers prefer but instead pretty little blossoms, like my yellow and pink above.

Another solution is an Arizona wild rose. Next my front landing, which is one flight up the hill, I've a lusty bush growing in the hillside soil quite happily; I just make sure it gets a bit more water than would happen naturally. It rewards me with simple 5-petaled pale pink flowers in late spring.

You do have to be careful, of course; wild roses specialize in nasty little thorns.

At this time of year, the wild roses are spent, leaving me with a fine crop of rose hips. There's only one slightly domesticated rose that might survive, possibly prosper on my land -- those wonderful yellow Henderson roses (below) brought to Prescott by the pioneers. They border the Sharlot Hall Museum grounds on Gurley Street and I've seen them here and there in town. Unfortunately, they multiply only by sending out runners. No seeds or I could easily start a plant as I did the wild rose.

The nurseries do not carry these old fashioned favorites, as they are in demand only during that brief two or three week window when they bloom at Sharlot Hall. But they are survivors -- I recall two huge bushes along Iron Springs Road in Skull Valley that had been neglected for years, but they thrived. My kind of plant!


Steve said...

Most of our roses have come and gone. Beat up by the relentless rain. At least I didn't have to water much this year.

azlaydey said...

I agree with you Julie, I have mini roses from the market that have thrived for a few years now. I enjoy them on my deck.

Granny J said...

steve -- that's too bad about all that rain; I hope the rain is good for squirrels!

lady -- and I, in turn am still growing small gardens in those feed tubs you gave me a few years ago -- they're great!

Meggie said...

My kind of plant too. I dont have much luck with my roses. My potted ones have died & I only have one left. I love wild roses, & the simple ramblers are lovely.

Granny J said...

meggie -- if I had any soil, I might try simple ramblers, tho ther is a semi-double over at the Sharlot Hall rose garden called an Austrian copper that I really groove on.

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