Monday, March 15, 2010

La Vie en Rose

My Florida Backyard has a very special visitor right now, a snowbird from up north who finds her way to Florida for two weeks every winter - my mom! She always makes wonderful contributions to the gardens when she's in town, and this year is no exception... My Florida Backyard now has its first roses.

My mother has an amazing rose garden up north in the summer. She babies her roses and they reward her delightfully. She's been urging us to grow roses here for a long time, but I've always resisted, for several reasons. First, roses can find it very hard to deal with Florida's hot and humid summers. Second, roses take a lot of care and specialized knowledge, and I wasn't sure they were a good fit in our mostly native gardens.

So what changed my mind? First of all, a prime piece of sunny real estate became available in my gardens - the croton bush by the front door went kaput in the freeze, and since I've never been that fond of it anyway, we decided to pull it out entirely.

Second, I've become acquainted with the amazing plant called the Knock Out Rose. Fellow gardeners have informed me that this is the rose for people who don't think they can grow roses. It's disease-resistant, heat-tolerant, and almost impossible to kill, even in Florida summers. Perfect!

After removing the old croton bush, we prepped the hole with some bone meal and blood meal, and popped the rose in. We added fresh mulch around the base, but left room for the plant to breathe. We watered it in thoroughly, and voila, our Double Knock Out Rose is in place to welcome visitors!

My mom also bought a couple hybrid tea rose plants for us to try as well. We planted these in the backyard where they can get some dappled shade in the hot summer afternoons. I'll be curious to see how these little fellows fare as the season progresses.

All of gardening is a bit of an experiment... even native plants can sometimes be a challenge. I'm not sure how successful My Florida Backyard will be with its roses, but we look forward to the effort and the possible rewards!


  1. You will love the knock-out rose. They are the closest thing to a "perfect rose." I guarantee you'll be planting more by the end of summer. :-)

  2. Beautiful! I just bought my first rose this Feb. I'm thinkin' I need more now. Love those colors.

  3. Try Angel Gardens in Alachua, Fl. They are Florida rose experts!

  4. I know it’s been a while now, but I’m so glad that you decided to plant and grow roses in your backyard. It’s really discouraging at first, given its sensitivity to various things. But when you're able to grow your first bloom, the feeling is very rewarding. Good luck on your Florida Backyard!

    Bethel Woodard