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Mon, Feb. 24

A rose for every landscape

Roses are easier to grow at this altitude than other parts of the country. High mountain roses are less likely to have trouble with mildew and rarely have black spot, problems which plague roses in other climates. Our roses have some issues with bugs, but they're easily controlled.

Because there are literally thousands of rose types, they serve many purposes in our gardens. Roses are grown for cut flowers, screens, borders, hedges, ground covers, wall covers, for use in containers, and as specimen plants. Though all roses are closely related to one another, each type has its defining characteristics. It's easy to find a type that suits your tastes and meets the requirements of your landscape.

Shrub ­ the term shrub covers a variety of roses, from bushy specimens to hedge roses. Generally hardy and disease-resistant, shrub roses provide a lot of blooms. Size varies with the variety, and heights range from three to 10 feet or more. The Knockout rose I mentioned last week is jewel of a shrub rose because it requires little pruning and continually produces dew flowers.

Hybrid teas ­ are the most widely grown roses. Their traits include large single blooms on longstems with the best shows in spring and fall. If you receive a Mother's Day rose, it's probably a hybrid tea. These roses are ideal for cutting as most bloom steadily during the entire growing season. Hybrid teas grow three to six feet tall and need at least six hours of sun for best performance.

Floribundas ­ blooms are slightly smaller than those of a hybrid tea and they appear in clusters on the stem. You don't have to speak Latin to know that the "bunda" part means abundance, referring to this variety's many stems loaded with flowers and its longer bloom cycle. If you want to add an abundance of color to your landscape, the floribunda is the rose for you. Its height is generally three to five feet tall.

Grandifloras ­ are a cross of the hybrid tea and the floribunda. Like floribundas, they usually have several clustered blooms on each stem. However, from the hybrid teas they have inherited larger blooms and longer steins, Grandifloras can grow to a height of six feet.

Climbers ­ also called ramblers, climbing roses don't really climb. These plants produce long arching canes that must be attached to supports such as fences, arbors, trellises or walls. They bloom continuously or at least several times during summer and fall. The arching canes can be 20 to 30 feet long; so if your garden space is limited but you want to plant some of these "climbing" wonders, use vertical space to fit them into your landscape.

Ground Covers ­ are among my favorite plants to use in containers and flower beds. Any variety of spreading or low-growing rose used for covering banks or planting between taller shrubs fits this category. These short roses are no more than knee high. They are welcome additions to gardens because of their repeat flowering and good resistance to disease.

Trees ­ not truly a separate rose variety, a tree rose is any rose plant (probably a hybrid tea or floribunda) that is grafted onto a straight sturdy trunk. This variety is not for the novice gardener because of the special pruning and winter protection it requires. Tree roses make good container plants that bring a formal look to the garden.

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