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Erica Galindo
Celebrating Food, Faith and Family
Last edited on: December 19, 2014.

There’s Still Time for Roses

Let’s talk roses! It amazes me when people tell me they think roses are hard to grow or take a lot of work. When planted in the right conditions, good soil, plenty of light and a good fertilizer, roses can be the most rewarding flowers in your garden. Regular deadheading helps to encourage new growth.

Even though this is still May, there is still time to plant bare root roses. My favorite source is Hortico in Canada. You can access their catalogue at or call (905) 689-6984. They are going to take orders up until June 15th.

You will be dazzled by the gorgeous online catalogue that has photos and descriptions of all their roses. If you order from Hortico, don’t be put off by the small trunk of the rose, just look at the length and number of roots. This is where the plant will get its strength. The roses I buy have to be repeat bloomers, have a great fragrance and are disease resistant. I you’re looking for a good climber, try Blossomtime. It’s hardy, has beautiful pink flowers, a good fragrance and is a good cut flower too.

I used to grow mostly hybrid tea roses, but have lately come to appreciate florabundas. Perhaps it is because one gets so much more color from them.



To plant roses, dig a hole big enough for the plant and make a mound in the bottom over which you can spread the roots. The rosarian at Balboa Park in San Diego told me adds a little bit of ammonium sulfate followed by Osmocote when planting bare root roses. The ammonium sulfate stimulates the roots and the Osmocote is a time-release fertilizer that will feed the plant for up to four months.  This gives the rose a kick-start and then keeps it nourished until it’s really established.

Another great tip for promoting growth and health is to make up what’s called “rose tea”.  You can make your own and it’s more economical than the expensive rose food from the nursery. This stuff is dynamite!

  • 10 Cups of alfalfa pellets (animal feed grade)
  • l Cup of liquefied fish fertilizer (Maxicrop or Neptune brand)
  • 1 Cup liquefied seaweed fertilizer (Maxicrop or Neptune brand)
  • ¼ Cup Epsom salts (optional and only use once a year) found at most  pharmacies. Helps with healthy roots
  • 1 bungee cord (optional)
  • 1 clean 33-gallon trash can with lid. Must be leak proof.

Pour all ingredients into a trash can on stable ground near the area to be fertilized and add water with your garden hose turned on full blast to dissolve and aerate the dry ingredients. Use the bungee cord to keep the lid on. Let the tea steep for at least 24 hours, but no longer than four days. Stir occasionally to prevent the mixture from becoming anaerobic. This “liquid gold” will have an earthy odor that will dissipate within a day or two. This fermented concoction will show a foamy consistency and will be slightly warm. It’s now ready for use.



The best time to apply is in late March for the first bloom cycle and then again in mid-to-late summer to promote new roses’ forming. Be sure to water the plants before using the tea because the damp soil will allow more up-take of the nutrients. Use a gallon per plant and avoid runoff by making a moat for each bush. Use less for miniature roses and those in pots.

Try not to get the leaves wet by pouring the liquid at the base of each bush. Any leftover sediment at the bottom of the can, may be spread around the garden.

There is still a large selection of roses available at nurseries and home improvement stores and there will be bargain prices toward the end of the season, but fewer choices.

Roses last many years and will give you endless pleasure in the garden and in the house. Save your empty jars and wrap them in colorful tissue to take flowers to friends and family. There is nothing like a home-grown bouquet to convey love and affection.

There is always a spiritual application when discussing the garden. We need  the same things that our garden does: being planted in good soil; the soil of our hearts, having the warmth of our Father’s love,  good food by way of His Word and the tender pruning that a caring Father does to promote our growth.

Thank you, Lord for the joy we receive through our gardens and the examples we see in your creation that reassures us of your presence and continuous care.


Your gardening friend,

Marianne Farrier



If you share Marianne’s love for gardening, you might also enjoy God’s Little Bloomers



One Response

  1. Ruth Stafford

    I love your shares. Please consider adding more people of color. I can help with that if you need help. Thanks.

    Ruth Stafford,
    Author, We Were Born To Shine…Because We Believe.


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