Rose gardens can be daunting; you hear horror stories about spraying, constant pruning, not enough sun, and thorns. Well these tales of woe are not unfounded, but the rewards of tending to and enjoying your own roses is fabulous.

How to Start a Rose Garden

  1. red roses in bloomHave the right mental attitude. Rose gardens require work; however, the rewards are well worth the effort.
  2. Choose an area with at least seven hours of direct sunlight. If you can find a spot that is visible from your patio or house you can enjoy the garden even when you are not in it. Allow at least a 4’x4’ area for each rose.
  3. You will need to amend your soil as roses need very good drainage and lots of nutrients. Plan to spend more money on soil than you do on roses. This is an investment. First till your area, removing any grass or weeds (do not till into the soil), add a good compost or landscape blend soil. The richer the soil the better. We recommend Mr. Natural’s Complete Landscape Mix. Add about ½ cubic yard of amendment per every 10’x10’ area (seven 2-cubic ft bags = ½ yard). Rake smooth.
  4. Install your rose bushes at least 4’ apart to allow room for them to grow and help maintain adequate air circulation. Plant your roses at the same depth as they are in the container.
  5. Sprinkle a large handful (approx 1-1/2 cups) of rose fertilizer around the plant. Sprinkle the fertilizer about 8-12” out from the trunk. Do not clump against the trunk or throw into the foliage of the plant. We recommend Mills Magic Rose Mix (all organic and long-lasting).
  6. Mulch your garden with straw or bark about 3-4 inches thick. Keep the mulch away from the trunk of each rose.
  7. Water your plant in well as soon as possible. Try to saturate the entire bed, not just around each rose.
  8. Plan to water 2-3 times per week using a soaker hose (or drip irrigation, if possible) to help reduce the chances of fungus from the foliage staying wet too long.
  9. Determine a program for preventive maintenance to help ward off insects and diseases before they become problematic. Autumn Hill is happy to discuss different products and a pest-control schedule with you.
  10. Prepare to be hooked! We have customers with hundreds of roses in their yard.

This is an overview of the steps involved in starting a rose garden. We will be glad to sit down and discuss your project with you, and help you determine how much soil you need, and what roses to try.

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