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Grow your own vase-worthy roses

Podcast shares tips on best roses to grow for bouquets

Red rose
Olympiad is one of the best red roses to grow for use in bouquets. (Photo:
Debbie Arrington)

The rose is overwhelmingly America’s pick. Four out of five people say roses are their favorite flowers. Roses make up 84% of all purchased cut flowers – and seven out of every 10 of those are red.

But how do you grow bouquet-worthy blooms at home? Which varieties make the best cut roses? And how do you get them to last longer in the vase?

These are some of the rosy topics discussed by yours truly, master rosarian Debbie Arrington, during this week’s “Garden Basics with Farmer Fred” podcast, hosted by Farmer Fred Hoffman.

“Roses are beginning to put on a show throughout most of rose-growing country, especially USDA Zones six through 10,” says Hoffman. “What are the best roses to grow that not only look nice in the garden, but do especially well as cut flowers in the house? What are the roses that have outstanding shape and color, but also can last a long time in a vase, and aren’t a hassle when it comes to dealing with their prickles, in other words, ones that aren’t a thorny mess?”

Debbie suggests more than two dozen varieties that fit that description plus offers tips for keeping those roses looking good, on or off the bush.

Among the best long-stemmed red roses to grow in your own garden: Olympiad, Mister Lincoln and Veterans’ Honor.

Prefer pink? Consider Pink Promise, Queen Elizabeth, Friendship, Gentle Giant and Hot Princess.

Want longer stems? Cut lower on the stem (farther away from the bud) – even when deadheading (removing spent blooms). Hybrid tea roses tend to grow to a certain height and stem length. By always cutting long stems (instead of snipping off spent flowers near their base), the bush will continue to grow new stems the same length.

Listen in and learn more: .


lavender clematis
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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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