story tease

By Marilyn McKinley

OSU master gardener volunteer

I’m done. I have dedicated too much energy trying to grow roses. Don’t get me wrong, I love everything about roses. That is, when someone else has grown them. What’s not to love? There’s daintiness, the romance, so many colors, petal configurations, fragrances, sizes and heights, etc. They are truly diverse and amazing flowers. I look forward to visiting the Rose Garden at Mill Creek Park. I marvel at rose beds in other people’s yards.

Let’s be clear. This is not an article on how to grow the prettiest roses in town. It is an article about my frustrating years of experiencing less-than-positive results for all my hard work.

I know there are many people who will have difficulty understanding how a master gardener volunteer is not able to grow roses. I have the same question.

But it is time to admit my shortcomings and move on with the beautiful flowers I can grow with no problems.

Why do roses have to be so fussy, so particular, needy and finicky? They need just the right soil, the right nutrients, the right amount of air circulation, and the right amount of sunlight, and that’s just a few of their many demands. From root to blossom, every part of a rose can so easily fall victim to one bad thing after another. There’s black spot, Japanese beetles, aphids, powdery mildew, spider mites, suckers and rust, just to name a few. I feel like a gardener needs to inspect daily with a magnifying glass to stay ahead of all the maladies!

When Knock Out Roses became so popular, I thought I had it made. They seemed so much less needy and more dependable.

But then came the winter of 2013-14. Most of our Knock Outs succumbed to the winter damage. The few bushes that survived, despite much TLC from me, only produced a combined handful of blooms — and not until August. Those few roses that did survive must remain tough because they are on their own now. If they make it great; if not, there will be no replacements.

They, too, will just have to be happy in rose heaven.

A few words to gardeners who are able to grow outstanding roses every year: I’m happy for you, really I am. I used to be so jealous, but I am over that. I have accepted my failures. Congratulations to you. A few words to those gardeners who are still willing to give roses a try: Go for it. I wish you the best. I’d love to see your garden. By the way, if you have some real beauties and you want to share, I love a nice bouquet.

For those of you like me who have given up: There are lots of other things to try. You have a green thumb. You just need to find the plant that works best with your gardening methods.

But if you want to try again, you can check out lots of great information on growing roses at: http://go.osu.edu/roses.

Subscribe Today

Sign up for our email newsletter to receive daily news.

Want more? Click here to subscribe to either the Print or Digital Editions.