Roses were my first flower-love and the first flower I ever tried to grow. Decades ago, I had a lovely Iceberg Rose bush growing in a container and every time I moved to a new rental place, I lugged along that huge planter with my precious Rose bush in it.
While our summer annuals slowly fade away and we say goodbye for the year to our Subscribers and Farmer's Market, I'm thrilled with the arrival of Roses. In North Texas, there's usually an Autumn flush and this year, they're more beautiful than ever.
If you plan to grow Roses, you can get them established in Autumn (September) or Spring (March). If you have established plants, September is a great time to fertilize/feed them for a strong Autumn flush. I also like to take my Rose cuttings this time of year for new Rose plants (only do this with heirloom Rose plants that are not patented). There's an excellent YouTube video by Mike Kincaid on how to propagate Roses and I've used this method many times with success.
February is a great time to prune Roses while they're still dormant. A good mental reminder is to always do it around Valentine's Day. Cut out center canes to allow for more air flow to prevent disease and canes that are pretty close to the ground (rain splattering mud onto the leaves can also cause disease). In a pinch, there's also plenty of good videos online about Rose pruning.
There's SOOO many wonderful Rose varieties you can grow and North Texas is lucky to have a climate that Roses love. These are a few of my favorites:
1. My hands-down favorite for no-fuss growing and plentiful blooms is Belinda's Dream. It's light pink blooms are full and large. I also get incredibly long stems!
2. Thomas Graham is a wonderful yellow that comes in bush or vine form. Lady Banks is a prolific vinning Rose that is incredibly easy to grow and often seen around the Dallas area for good reason.
3. Blaze Improved is prolific and a gorgeous deep red. It's a vine so be sure to give it a trellis or structure for support - otherwise it can get quite wild looking (which is also fun!)
4. Princess Alexandra of Kent is a little fussier as a plant but if you can keep her happy she'll reward you with deep pink, almost heart-shaped blooms loaded with petals upon petals. A stunner in arrangements!
5. I let Erin from Floret talk me into growing Distant Drums Roses and I've never regretted it! Surprisingly easy to grow, the dainty blooms have such a range of colors it's almost impossible to describe. But every flower is stunning!
6. Ducher is my prolific, gorgeous white rose - it's widely considered the only true white China rose. Never fussy, it takes neglect and keeps on blooming. I love it's light morning fragrance and it's fluffy layers of petals.
7. My Princess Charlene de Monaco has one of the longest vase life of any Rose I've grown. It's hard to describe the super light peachy/pink color but the modest petal count and smaller size compliments the soft color and light fragrance.
8. A deep brilliant scent makes me absolutely love Chrysler Imperial. It's red color is just as bold as it's scent and it simply feels like a quintessential Rose in every way.
I've bought my Rose bushes from these wonderful places around Texas and I just can't recommend them enough!!
Texas Rose Emporium - you may not know it but in the late 70's, there was a group of adventurous Rosarians that traipsed around the state looking for and saving the old rose bushes neglected and overgrown in the wild. From that rose-saving mission, the Texas Rose Emporium was born. Offering those old Texas roses plus new varieties that they hybridize themselves (called Pioneer Roses!), they remain my most trusted source for Roses in Texas.
North Haven Gardens - an veritable institution in Dallas, this nursery was utterly devastated by the October 2019 tornado. Yet, having served the Dallas community for over 70 years, they rebuilt just in time for their annual Spring Rose event. I'm always thrilled with a wide selection of Rose bushes (including David Austin and Heirloom varieties sourced from the Texas Rose Emporium).
Marshall Grain in Grapevine always has excellent plants and every Rose I've bought from them came in great condition. My hard-to-find Ducher came from Marshall Grain and it's been one of my favorite Rose bushes. They also have a great selection of tools and implements that we've sourced for the farm.
The investment in just one Rose bush is the most rewarding decision a flower-lover can make. Plenty of them do well in containers too, so if, like me, you want to take your Rose with you when you move, you can! When bringing your Roses inside to enjoy, cut them with sharp snips in the early morning before the sun has evaporated some of the plant's moisture. Keep your vase clean and add some flower food if you have it on hand. You'll be rewarded with beautiful Roses inside for up to five days. Our first year of farming, we had a Rose flush around Christmas and it was so magical! You never know what Texas is going to throw at you but in the case of Roses, it's almost always good!