June is National Rose Month

I love the smell of roses! Every long snowy winter, as I study my mail order catalogs, I think "I should plant roses this year." Somehow, when the time comes, I always end up blowing the garden budget on more tomato seeds or some new gadget before I even get to the rose on my list.

This rose, Apricot Princess Rose , caught my eye in the Springhill Nursery catalog. But I ordered another Nectarine tree instead. Ah well, there's always next year.

Rose Lovers

Americans have been fascinated with roses for over 200 years. President George Washington is recognized as the first rose breeder in the US.

Did you know there is an organization devoted specifically to all things rose? The American Rose Society does not have a Pocono Mountain chapter, yet, but there is a Penn-Jersey District chapter.

Rose Classifications

  • Wild or Species
  • Old Garden
  • Modern

Wild or Species

Wild Roses are properly referred to as Species Roses and are the origin of every other rose class.  They are easy to identify, as they normally have five petals, bloom only once per season and are usually thorny shrubs or climbers.

Species Roses flourish in our temperate climate and can be found throughout the US, Canada and elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere.

Several popular Species Roses include: 

  • Cherokee
  • Dog Rose (Briar Bush)
  • French 
  • Pasture
  • Redleaf 
Blaze Climbing Rose Blaze Climbing Rose

Old Garden

Old Garden Roses are identified as a major class containing roses recognized before 1867. Most Old Garden or Antique Roses have a strong, sweet scent and bloom once per season, usually at the arrival of summer. Old Garden Roses occur in a variety of shrub and vine sizes.

Although colors vary, most are white or pastel in color. These antique roses are generally preferred for lawns and home gardening because they are easy to care for.

Roses classified as Old Garden Roses include: 

  • Bourbon
  • China
  • Damask
  • Hybrid Perpetual 
  • Moss
  • Noisette
  • Tea


Any rose which has been identified or developed after 1867 is considered a Modern Rose.  Growers of roses is this group are so enamored with them, and they are very popular because they come in a wide range of vibrant colors and many, when cared for properly,will bloom repeatedly. 

Modern Roses are not adapted to colder environments and need protection to survive winters colder than Zone 6.

 Popular examples of Modern Roses are the:

  • Floribunda {Cinco de Mayo}
  • Hybrid Tea {Diana Princess of Wales, Arctic Flame Subzero Rose }
  • Grandiflora {Dream Come True}
  • Landscape or Shrub {Carefree Celebration, Jens Munk}
  • Miniature {Ruby Ruby}

Rose Growing Tips

I've heard a lot of different tips from rose growers. When I was growing up, my friend's mother used to give us a pitcher of milk to pour at the base of her rose bushes. We were small enough to get under there without becoming tangled in the thorns.

She had roses of every color and they were always beautiful. I have heard of using unpasteurized milk as an anti-fungal foliar spray but I never knew what pouring at the base of the plants did. If anyone has heard of this practice and knows what the benefits are, please let us know. Use the Contact PG button on the left.

Another tip is to put a few banana skins in the hole when you plant a new rose. This one is popular with tomato growers too. The banana skin is thought to cure blossom end rot on tomatoes because it adds potassium to the soil.

Roses need potassium to bloom. So this is probably an effective, organic way to get a little more potassium to your roses. You will notice plant food for roses and other flowers usually has a high potassium content as expressed in the familiar 10-10-20 format. The last number of a fertilizer format is potassium.

To make a foliar spray that will keep the aphids and Japanese beetles at bay. Some gardeners use an alcohol based mouthwash diluted to 50% strength with water. Apparently bugs do not want minty fresh breath.

Roses like lots of sun and water. They need good drainage though, because they do not like wet feet. If you have an area in full sun with thick, lush grass, do not plant roses there.

Grass can only stay thick and lush in full sun with an abundance of water. Probably too much water for rose roots to tolerate. Make sure you plant your roses in an area with good drainage.

You can compensate for poor drainage or clay soil by adding compost and sand to the soil prior to planting and planting your roses in mounds that are 6 to 8" above the surrounding soil surface.

When shopping for roses that can withstand our cold winters, look for Sub-Zero Roses.

Hardy Sub-Zero Rose Collection

For tons of great information about roses and flowers of all kinds, visit the Flower-Guide.

Leave Rose for the Vegetables page

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