Growing Roses Made Easier

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By Deb Quantock McCarey

Contributing reporter/Nature blogger

Growing up, my Dad grew roses along the side of the house.

White, yellow, red and pink.

As I write this now, I can still smell those roses and remember how my Dad cared for them.

Some 50 years later, now in my edible garden I grow a climbing rose vine up a trellis on the side of my garage for its beauty, fragrance, and, of course, to attract pollinators. 

A local birding naturalist told me that the vine's rose hips attract Northern Cardinals in winter.

And, they do.

From the American Rose Society, here is more.

Over the weekend, I did a stint as a University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener volunteer, where I sat at an Information booth and answered all sorts of gardening questions.

Directly behind me was the Show's gorgeous rose garden installation.  Standing in the exhibit were two rose enthusiasts, Tony Abruscato, Director, Chicago Flower and Garden Show and Susan Fox, a consulting Rosarian (a person with expertise or a special interest in the cultivation of roses).

Susan told me that "85 percent of people say roses are their favorite flower and they want them in their garden.  But there is this idea they might be a little more difficult to take care of.  But that is just a wive's tale," she said.  "They are easy care and these roses are disease-free, and are prolific bloomers.  Gardeners can put these roses in their gardens and have great success."

Happily, Tony plucked some time out of his busy Show schedule to talk about the trends in rose growing with me.

The Chicago flower and Garden show runs through Sunday, March 20, so there is still time to establish your rite of Spring... as I do year after year.

I always thought I could not grow roses in my small, urban backyard.  Now I know that absolutely everyone can.

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