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by Pernell Gerver

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"The Easiest Roses Anyone Can Grow"

The rose, our national flower, is perhaps one of the most popular flowers grown today. Roses come in a wide array of different types including hybrid tea, floribunda, grandiflora, climber, miniature, shrub, old garden roses, and David Austin English roses to name just a few. Many are in full bloom right now.

Depending on which ones you grow, roses can be a challenge to grow successfully, but there are many roses that are very easy to grow for anyone. Click on a plant name below to order it from Pernell Gerver's Online Store.

One of the most easiest roses for here in western Massachusetts is shrub rose 'Carefree Wonder.' This wonderful shrub rose is an All-America Rose Selection and one of the best shrub roses to grow. It grows four feet high and three feet wide and is in bloom all summer long. As its name implies, it's a very carefree rose. Diseases and insects are not a problem. Glossy-green foliage, bright-pink, large semi-double flowers, and showy, bright-orange rose hips in fall and winter make this shrub rose the perfect choice for any garden, large or small. It grows and blooms reliably here in western Massachusetts.

Climbing miniature rose 'Jeanne Lajoie'Climbing miniature rose 'Jeanne Lajoie'Miniature roses are hardier than hybrid tea roses because they are growing on their own roots. They don't have a bud union which is the most vulnerable part of a rose bush. One of the best climbing miniature roses is 'Jeanne Lajoie.' Large clusters of clear pink, miniature blooms cover the rambling stems nearly all season, from early summer to fall. The flowers are very double with high pointed buds. It's a vigorous, well-branched mini rose that grows eight to 12 feet tall. It's great on a tall arbor or trellis. I have one planted on either side of my arbor and they meet in the middle at the top.


'Seattle Scentsation,' another miniature rose, is probably the most fragrant rose around. Its mauve-pink blossoms have a strong, classic rose fragrance, even when in tight bud. The fragrance lingers once the blooms have faded, making the spent petals good candidates for potpourri. It forms a mounded plant up to 30 inches high and wide.


Miniature Rose 'Rainbow's End''Rainbow's End' is another miniature rose with eye-catching flowers. Ibears hybrid-tea-shaped flowers with very high centers. The flowers are bright yellow edged with bright red. It's a vigorous miniature rose with an attractive shape, forming a mound under two feet high and wide.

Miniature Rose 'Amy Grant''Amy Grant' is a miniature rose that is nearly as large as a standard rose. Named for the country singer, this miniature rose bears large, beautifully-shaped flowers. The flowers are creamy-white with a pale pink center. They have a hybrid tea form and are lightly fragrant. The foliage is dark, glossy green. The flowers and foliage of this miniature variety are quite large and more closely resemble a hybrid tea rose than a mini.

Pernell Gerver's Gardening Q & Aby Pernell Gerver

"Rejuvenate Strawberry Bed for Best Berries"

Q. I have a question on gardening that maybe you can help me with. My strawberry plants produce great plants, but very little fruit. I was told I was feeding them too much, but that's not the case because I didn't fertilize them at all. I have tried different varieties but I always get the same result. Thank you for your help.

A. Strawberries are a popular berry this time of year. From pick-your-own farms to festivals, it's strawberry time here. It's hard to top the taste of a sweet, ripe strawberry. There are three different types of strawberries. The most familiar kind is known as June bearing. This type produces its one, large crop of fruit in June. Everbearing varieties produce a large crop of berries in June and then a Strawberry plantsmaller one in late summer or early autumn. Day neutral strawberries produce fruit all season long. They produce fruit buds regardless of day length and continue to produce flowers and fruit throughout most of the season.

For strawberries that aren't bearing well, as long as you have a productive variety that is suited to your soil and climate, it might help to fertilize and water the bed on a regular basis. This spring has been pretty dry with not a lot of rainfall. The tastiest berries are produced when the plants are adequately watered and regularly fertilized. Also strawberry plants produce the most fruit when grown in full sun.

If the strawberry bed is crowded, it may need some thinning of the older, unproductive plants. Strawberry beds need to be renovated every couple of years so there is always a good batch of healthy, young plants. To help rejuvenate the bed, select runners from each plant. Place a pot of soil beneath the small plantlet at the end of the runner. Pin the stem in place with a piece of bent wire and allow the plantlet to root. Once it has rooted, cut it away from the mother plant. This new young strawberry plant can then be planted in the bed in place of an older, less productive one. Do this every year to always have young plants in the bed. Regularly remove older plants and replace them with young, healthy ones to ensure a good crop of berries every year.

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