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Growing your own roses at home

By SEETA PERSAD Thursday, August 9 2007

click on pic to zoom in
 Roses in full bloom ...
Roses in full bloom ...

There is unquestionably no flower as beautiful or as loved as a rose. This according to Roger Jason Teeluck, manager of Agro Flora in Princes Town. “They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. More beholders carry, display and grow roses than any other flower. They are the undisputed favourite of growers and flower buyers alike in this country,” he said. He was at the time addressing a group of YTEPP trainees on the growth and propagation of flowering plants.

Roger emphasised that this particular flower not only beautifies the yard and adorns the rooms of your house, but also provides a light and sweet scent.

He explained that growing roses is easy and rewarding. He noted that a mostly sunny location and a little gardening basics are all you need to get started. “With a little learning you can turn your rose into a perfect garden providing a profusion of roses. Like any other form of gardening the more gardening care and information you know for the particular plant you are growing the more successful you will become.

“How you plant roses is as easy as rearing any other plant. Many times the young plants are sold at the plant shop.” He went on to say that it is easier to get the young plants than planting the stems. In that, home owners tend to work in “rough” surroundings as compared to the plant shop where the temperature and soil substance are monitored for the early development of the rose plant.

Choosing a good location for your rose bed is important. Roses should have a minimum of one-half day’s sun, but will do better with two-thirds to full sun. A little shade in the heat of the afternoon helps prolong the life of the blooms. Roses should be grown in good garden soils. The addition of organic matter, such as peat or well-rotted manure, will improve the growth and vigour. Choose an area of well-drained soil. Roses won’t withstand wet, soggy soil.

When to plant roses may depend upon whether you buy bareroot dormant bushes or potted plants that are already growing and sometimes even in bloom.

The instructions for transplanting the rose are as follows: Dig a hole large enough to hold the entire root system of either potted or bareroot plants without crowding, and deep enough so that the graft (a distinct knobby joint on the stem between the branches and the root) is two inches below the soil surface. Place the plant carefully in position and put loose friable soil around the roots and firm with your hands. Water well. If plants are dormant, mound up loose soil to a height of 10 to 12 inches above the normal ground level to protect the stems from drying. Do not remove this mound of soil until the plant is growing vigorously. Rains and hoeing will gradually level the soil mound.

The plant normally takes three weeks to settle in the new ground before it starts shooting new branches and flowers.

Roger said, “Watering is important if you expect your roses to continue blooming when rainfall is insufficient. Roses require about one inch of water each week. To avoid damage to the flower and splashing of dirt and other substances from the ground to foliage most rose growers prefer to water by soaking only the soil rather than overhead sprinkling.

“Proper fertilisation will help the plants produce more and larger blooms and will shorten the rest periods between flurries of blooms.”

On a lighter note Roger told the students that planting the different colours of roses will provide all the reasons to give a roses.

According to his research, the meaning of each colour is important in TT as both men and women look for roses to say what’s in their heart. “It sends a silent, yet extremely important message from the sender to receiver,” he said.

He warned to make sure you are sending the right message when you select roses for someone, else he or she will get the wrong message!

Here is a list of the colours and their meanings: Red - Love, beauty, courage and respect; White - Purity and innocence, silence or secrecy, also reverence and humility; Pink - Appreciation, “Thank you”, grace, perfect happiness, and admiration; Dark Pink - Appreciation, gratitude; Light Pink - admiration, sympathy; Yellow - Joy, gladness, friendship, delight, the promise of a new beginning ; Orange - Desire, and enthusiasm; Red and White - Given together, these signify unity. Red Rosebud, he noted, is a symbol of purity and loveliness while white Rosebud is symbolic of girlhood. A thornless rose signifies “Love at first sight”.

On a final note Roger said that while roses are popular for Valentine’s Day in February, more and more people are looking for roses throughout the year. He noted also that many of the interior decorators are now using fresh roses for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and other functions in TT. He lamented the fact that so many of the local companies must import roses when they can be grown in TT.

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