Many of us think of a beautiful garden as an almost unattainable goal, and certainly, a rose garden seems even more intimidating. Rose gardening has earned a reputation as being very difficult, a task only the most ambitious gardener with plenty of time on her hands would undertake. In reality, however, rose gardening just takes a little planning, a bit of maintenance and some patience.

As with any garden, a rose garden should be cleaned regularly. Keeping fallen leaves and other garden debris away from the roots of the plants will enable you to water the plants directly at the roots as well as keep fungus and other problems at bay.

Mulch is a wonderful ally to rose gardens. It weeds away and helps to keep the moisture level of your plants consistent. For this benefit, add mulch to your regular care shortly before the first bloom appears. In winter, careful mulching will protect your roses from a dangerous cycle of freezing and thawing, causing the plant to shift underground, damaging the root system. By reinforcing the plant with several inches of soil and covering that soil with mulch, you will protect the plant’s root system from the harsh conditions of winter and you will see a healthy plant emerge in the spring.

One of the most important tasks in any garden is watering. It is always important to maintain adequate moisture content for your plants, not too wet and certainly not too dry. Both extremes are detrimental to the health of your whole garden. When watering your rose plants, it is essential to water only around the base of the plant. Introducing water to the leaves and stems of the plants invites both rust and fungal diseases to your plants. The roses will enjoy a good root soaking when the weather conditions require it, saturating the soil to a depth of six to eight inches, rather than simply spraying the plants.

Careful feeding of your rose bushes will keep them looking their best throughout their flowering season and will keep the plants healthy during the dormant period. Your local garden center will have many choices for fertilizer for your roses, and you should carefully follow the instructions for the product you have chosen in measuring the fertilizer according to your type of rose. In general, you should feed your roses in early spring, as soon as you can see buds beginning to swell. Feed again after the plants have produced a full bloom. Another feeding should follow in late summer for most climates. If you have a long growing season, a fourth feeding in early October will hold your plants through the winter.

Following just a few simple guidelines will enable you to grow a beautiful rose garden that will add so much to your home landscape. Your effort will pay off with blooming, healthy plants that will be sure to impress your friends and neighbors.

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