The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

November 15, 2011

Garden Club gets lesson on growing roses

Dee Long

TARBORO — The Edgecombe Garden Club October luncheon was at the Fountains of the Albemarle.  After President Marilyn Douglass greeted everyone, Sandra Joyner read the devotion titled “The Right Words.”

Hostesses were Sandra Joyner, Chairman, Sallie Carlisle, Willie Gupton and Shirley Wainwright. Their table centerpieces contained many different colors of roses in small glass bowls.

President Marilyn announced the club won a blue ribbon for their yearbook at the recent District 12 meeting in Rocky Mount. Small grapevine wreaths made by club members were sold at the meeting.

On Oct. 20, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Karen Andrus’ home the home owners who opened their homes for the recent Home Tour and docents who described the homes were honored.

Candis Owens introduced David Pike, President/CEO of Witherspoon Rose Culture in Durham. He spoke on “Successful Rose Growing for Southern Gardeners.”

To grow the best possible roses you need to make sure that you have a good location in which to grow them. Roses like 6-8 hours of sun and need soil that is well-drained and does not have tree roots or large shrub roots with which to contend. Use the native soil in your landscape and dig down 16 inches deep and turn the entire area over.  

For a double row of 18 roses you need an area 6 feet wide by 28 feet long. Once the area has been dug, amend the soil with Witherspoon Premium Planting Mix and Essentials OR well-rotted cow manure, soil conditioner, permatill, lime, gypsum and bone meal. Use a rototiller to mix the soil well. When possible, prepare the bed in the fall for spring planting. There are two forms in which to plant your roses-- either bareroot or potted. Bareroot roses are planted January – March while potted roses are planted April – October.

Once you have planted your roses, it is very important to maintain them.  Roses grow well and produce well in North Carolina but do need regular attention. For them to produce the most they need to be pruned each year.  This applies to all roses: Hybrid Teas, Floribundas, David Austin Roses and Knockouts. Typically, pruning takes place in February. Roses are also heavy feeders meaning they need to be fertilized regularly during the growing season. The amount and the frequency of feeding is determined by which type of fertilizer you use. I recommend using the Witherspoon Premium 2-in-1 Fertilizer to obtain the best results and it only requires one application.

Roses also need regular watering. If your garden does not receive an inch of rain during a week, you will need to supplement with irrigation. If you do not have an irrigation system, the rule of thumb is one 5-gallon bucketful of water per bush per plant. Roses like their water all at one time as opposed to a constant drip since they do not like “wet feet”. Watering is particularly important during the growing season (April – October).

Lastly, roses need regular spraying to control the diseases and insects that like to feed on them. A combination of two fungicides and one insecticide will control most problems. Start protecting your roses in April and continue through October.  By staying on a regular schedule, you can produce many wonderful roses to enjoy and to share with friends.  No other plant in the landscape blooms as much and as beautifully as a rose does.

To learn more about Witherspoon Rose Culture and the services they provide or to receive their rose catalog you can contact them by calling 800-643-0315 or