A trip to the rose garden

Roses are among the oldest cultivated ornamental plants in the modern garden. Roses in some form grow wild all around the globe, and they have been extensively studied and bred.

To avoid confusion, they are classified into several groups. A rose is assigned to a particular class on the basis of its ancestry and, sometimes, how long it has been in cultivation. Understanding this whole classification process would take considerably more time and space than we have here, so let's just go for the main classifications.

Master Gardener Ron Bombick, head rose gardener at the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center, said hybrid teas are the most popular class of roses. There are many varieties of these long-stemmed beauties, available in several colors, and they are good for cutting. At the rose garden, you might especially enjoy Dainty Bess, Memorial Day, Mister Lincoln and Rio Samba.

Floribundas are a modern group of roses resulting from crossing hybrid teas with polyanthas. They typically have many blooms per stem. Bombick favors Julia Child, Moondance, Pumpkin Patch, Vavoom and Cinco de Mayo.

Grandifloras also are a modern group, having come into being in the 1950s, established for the rose named Queen Elizabeth, the first of a class of large-flowered, abundantly blooming roses. Melody Parfumee and Love are good choices, especially for cutting.

Climbing roses can be trained to grow up a trellis, arbor or even a building. There are several groupings within the climbers. Bombick's favorites include Cecile Brunner (an heirloom climber), High Hopes and Dublin Bay.

Miniature roses are another popular group. They look like their larger cousins in every way, except for being smaller, which makes them good for growing in containers as well as outdoors. Bombick recommends Feisty and Rainbow's End.

Old garden roses have been in cultivation since 1867, with many classes in their category. They tend to be thorny, have flatter blooms, but are disease and pest resistant. Sometimes called "heritage" roses, they generally bloom on year-old canes.

Shrub roses is a catchall class that does not really belong with either the old garden roses or the more modern types. These include, but are not limited to, the English rose, rugosa, eglantine and hybrid musk.

Species roses are the naturally occurring roses found in the wild. Most of the 200 or so species have five petals.

Fall and early spring are the best times to plant bare-root roses in our climate. Roses grow best when they receive a minimum of six hours of sun daily. Although roses will grow in a wide variety of soils, they will do best if the soil is well drained and high in organic matter. Before planting, be sure to remove and discard any packing material such as shredded paper, bark, burlap or box.

Coming up: Bombick will teach a workshop from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 2, on how to plant, prune and otherwise care for roses. The cost of the class, to be held at SOREC, 569 Hanley Road, Central Point, is $10. Call 541-776-7371 to register.

Carol Oneal is a past president of the OSU Jackson County Master Gardeners Association. Email her at diggit1225@gmail.com.

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