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by Valerie (August 5, 2001)
miniature roses
Our climate is not the best for growing roses, but they are so widely available that it was practically guaranteed that we would end up with some in our gardens. There are a lot of people who grow roses as a specialty, so there are much better sources of information about the proper care of these plants than what is contained here. However, if one doesn't give them any extra consideration, the following account describes how well roses can grow. Although we have cactuses and a variety of other prickly plants, roses cause more injuries because of their sprawling nature and the way they grow mixed in with all the other plants. Their spiny stems can be likened to cat brier but worse.

We have three types of roses (Rosa spp.). The first we acquired were the large, grafted ones often sold at discount stores. Out of four plants, two are still alive. They produce a few blossoms in the spring, then promptly loose all their leaves when the weather gets hot. Both plants are still producing blossoms from their grafted portions as these have never frozen off. Because we only prune them to remove dead branches, they are about 4 and 7 feet tall. The taller one has brilliant red blossoms while the other produces yellowish with pink-tinged flowers, pictured below.

A much more successful type that we acquired are miniature red roses. These came in a pot bought for Valentine's day and I separated all the little plants and put them in a variety of locations to see if any would survive. I had little hope since they were grown in Canada, a far cry from our clime. However, they all managed to stay alive and now, years later and much more overgrown by other plants, several are still producing blossoms during the cooler parts of the year. When conditions are just right, there can be dozens of tiny red blossoms on the 1 to 2 foot high plants. The ones in drier areas of the yard lose all their leaves in the summer but a few actually keep some of their foliage.

Our most recent rose additions are tiny-flowered climbing roses. These were sent from Florida, where they grow very well. They manage to keep their leaves all summer, and even grow. The first year, none of the little plants bloomed, but the following year a couple did produce blossoms in a variety of shades from pink to red. The new branches are growing vigorously and seem to be able to compete successfully with trumpet vine, perennial morning glory and honeysuckle.

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