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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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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Nov. 26:

Concentrate on helping your garden stay comfortable during these frosty nights – and clean up all those leaves!

* Irrigate frost-tender plants such as citrus in the late afternoon. That extra soil moisture increases temperatures around the plant a few degrees, just enough to prevent frost damage. The exception are succulents; too much water before frost can cause them to freeze.

* Cover sensitive plants before the sun goes down. Use cloth sheets or frost cloths, not plastic sheeting, to hold in warmth. Make sure to remove covers in the morning.

* Use fall leaves as mulch around shrubs and vegetables. Mulch acts as a blanket and keeps roots warmer.

* Stop dead-heading; let rose hips form on bushes to prompt dormancy.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs.

* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.

* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.

* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location – and definitely indoors overnight. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they’ll bloom again next December.

* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.

* Plant spring bulbs. Don’t forget the tulips chilling in the refrigerator. Daffodils can be planted without pre-chilling.

* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers and plant such spring bloomers as sweet peas, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.

* Plant trees and shrubs. They’ll benefit from fall and winter rains while establishing their roots.

* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.

* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* Bare-root season begins now. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb.

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