Ring Around the Roses

Blog Author: Ellie Rafoth, Community Engagement Intern

With summer in full bloom, so are the roses at Fellows Riverside Gardens! Known for its beautiful displays of annuals, perennials and bulbs, Fellows Riverside Gardens is also home to roses of all classes. Despite their delicacy and beauty, roses have the stubborn reputation of being hard to care for. With that in mind, the Mill Creek MetroParks Horticulture Department’s Assistant Horticulture Director, Ellen Speicher, provided me with helpful tips for tending to these beautiful flowers!

Roses-KidstonER: Roses have a reputation of being finicky flowers that are hard to care for; is this true?

ES: Actually, no. However, because of the climate in this area, some roses are very susceptible to fungal diseases, such as black spot. Hybrid tea roses, with their long stems and large flowers, require more maintenance as opposed to other types of roses. Old-fashioned shrub roses and the newest modern shrub roses, often called landscape roses, require little care. These are vigorous shrub roses that have greater disease resistance and don’t require frequent pruning or fertilizing.

ER: What are some helpful tips for caring for roses?

ES: All roses require full sun and at least one inch of water per week. During the hot summer weeks, they may need to be hand watered if there has not been enough rainfall.  Fertilizing helps! I recommend mixing 2” of compost around each plant every year which adds nutrients and helps loosen the soil. It also helps to supplement with additional fertilizer. This is done once a month at Fellows Riverside Gardens. Also, don’t prune your roses in the fall! Pruning promotes growth and the new growth will just be killed by cold winter weather. It’s best to prune your roses early in the spring.  At the Gardens, we prune the roses in March or April, depending on the weather.

ER: What type of roses can we expect to see at Fellows Riverside Gardens this summer?

ES: We have so many roses at Fellows Riverside Gardens! We have hybrid tea roses, English roses, floribundas, grandifloras, hybrid perpetual roses and many old-fashioned shrub roses.

SingleRoseER: What is your favorite type of rose at Fellows Riverside Gardens?

ES: It’s so hard to pick! I would have to say the hybrid perpetual roses that are located around the Gazebo. Hybrid perpetuals are large plants that bear large flowers which are extremely fragrant! My favorite color of rose is pink.

CHECK IT OUT: Located in the Modern Rose Garden at Fellows Riverside Gardens is an unusual lavender rose. Can you find it? Take a picture and tweet it @MillCreekMetro!

ER: Any final tips for caring for roses this summer?

ES: With all of the rainy weather, conditions for black spot are heightened. Black spot is a fungal disease that attacks the leaves of plants. If conditions were drier, black spot would not be as much of a threat, however the humidity and wetness provide the conditions for this disease to spread. If you begin to see spots of black on the leaves of your roses, pinch them off to stop the spread of black spot.

Thank you, Ellen, for all of the helpful advice on tending to roses!

Come to Fellows Riverside Gardens to explore, experience, and enjoy the MetroParks beautiful display of roses!