Roses Are Plants Too!

A Rose Is Nothing More Than A Flowering Shrub

Oeillet Parfait in the garden at Mottisfont Abbey.  Romsey, England
Photo/Illustration: Paul Zimmerman Roses
Oeillet Parfait in the garden at Mottisfont Abbey.  Romsey, England
Photo/Illustration: Paul Zimmerman Roses

I realize the statement in the title of this first post likely runs contrary to what many of you have read or learned about roses.  Heck, it probably runs contrary to your own experience with roses!


Simply really.  You see, for the last 30-40 years most roses sold in the United States were Hybrid Teas really bred for the cut-flower industry or for exhibiting.  For that purpose they were great.  However, put those same roses in the garden and you generally ended up with a bush that left much to be desired.  You know what I mean.  Sticks with flowers on top.  The only way to get the plant looking half-way decent was to apply lots of fertilizer, sprays and sacrificing an azalea or two to the plant gods.

In truth there are many roses easy to care for and are truly just flowering shrubs in your garden.  They are called Garden Roses.  Knockout is a garden rose and I bet many of you grow it, love it and wish there were more roses like it.

Luckily there are!  Over time this blog will introduce you to other Garden Roses and how to care them in a simple and sustainable manner.  You will discover you care for Garden Roses pretty much like any other flowering shrub in your garden.


Because Roses Are Plants, Too!

Welcome to the wonderful world of Garden Roses

View Comments


  1. Rosomane 06/24/2010

    At last! Someone who knows and loves roses in the garden, all kinds of roses. I can't wait to see where this blog goes. Thank you, Fine Gardening!

  2. User avater
    MaryMD 07/21/2010

    Hear, hear! But, what if my plant which is simply a shrub decides to not bloom? I have a climbing rose, yellow, that I bought at a farmer's market. they fellow had no cultivar name for it. It is planted in my front garden, which in summer gets full sun from 10 am to sundown. In the four years it has been in the garden, it has never bloomed. It grows and looks great, but no blooms. I have put epsom salts on it, per some suggestions. I deep water it once a week if there is not enough rain. The soil in this area is sandy and so I amend it annually to improve water retention. I live in the mountains and our soil is naturally acidic. I have gotten peonies and iris to bloom by using lime to raise the PH. Could that also be a problem with the rose?

    I also have another shrub rose, one that spreads through underground runners, that I got from a friend over 10 years ago. It has never bloomed in the same garden bed. It has no problem growing.

    My rosa rugosa and two "carpet" roses in a different bed bloom. They get less sun and are on a sloping bed by the driveway. I have also given them epsom salts, but it has not really changed their bloom habits.

    I do not routinely fertilize any of my flower beds, other than a healthy dose of compost int he soil when I plant something and then top dressing with compost at least once a year. My neighbor has all kinds of hybrid teas she pampers and they bloom more than my two own-root, shrub roses. What am I doing wrong?

  3. PFZimmerman 07/21/2010

    Hi MaryMD.

    That's quite incredible to get no blooms at all for that long. Do you cut it back much or leave it alone? Sometimes cuttings climbers back too often will discourage them from blooming - same with large shrubs.

    PH may have something to do with it and I would try some lime. Roses like a neutral PH of around 6 - 6.5. At that point if it doesn't bloom it probably never well. Sometimes own root roses that are propagated from what are called "blind shoots" rarely bloom.

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