Wednesday, February 12, 2020

February Roses

A dark pink rosebud dusted with snow
February is the perfect time to think about roses, for any number of reasons. Many people are still in the doldrums of winter and the simple act of browsing through images of beautiful blooms can transport a person into the warmer and more fragrant days ahead. There is also a rose care factor to this month; certain maintenance is recommended in this time spot. There is Rose Day; which you may or may not be aware of (but we’ll get to that later). And then there is Valentine’s Day; when more than 224 million roses are grown every year for this day alone.

Hands in orange garden gloves pruning some pink roses.Most rose care calendars recommend pruning in February. If you do so and how you do so will depend on the region you live in and your personal preference. Many people have strong opinions on what is “right”. There are some standard recommendations according to which type you grow; but, when it comes to rose care, the varieties are more alike than not. If you are not committed to a care regime or just need some input, the people at the American Rose Society may be helpful. Here is a link to help you find a chapter near you.
Lovely lavender rosesA dew-kissed yellow and pink Peace Rose
Should you choose to prune this month, follow up with these steps to keep your roses happy as they bounce back:  (1) Dispose of all cuttings carefully (they are great hiding spots for pests). (2) Apply a nice layer of mulch (approximately 3”) around the plant base. (3) Apply products to treat preventatively for mildew, such as Monterey Bi-Carb Fungicide and (for larger applications) Milstop. (4) Keep weeds away (they are also great hiding spots). (5) Fertilize – we recommend DTE Rose & Flower Mix.

Sun shining down on a garden of pink roses
As long as your ground is not frozen and the worst of your winter is over, February can also be a good time to do some rose planting. Bare root plants take to the soil well in this dormant stage and should be established by spring. They are also cheaper than the larger sized plants you’ll find in warmer weather. Transplanting can be done in February as well, with the same stipulations as the bare root plants. If you plant accordingly and keep maintenance going, you should be all set to sit back and watch the flowers pop out as their season arrives.

Close-up of a beautiful yellow roseFebruary 7th is Rose Day (not to be mistaken with National Rose̒ Day for wine lovers). Rose Day, unlike Valentine’s Day, is not necessarily for lovers. Since the different colors of roses are supposed to mean different things, this may be a good day to send some lavender or yellow roses instead of the more romantic-leaning red ones. For more than you ever thought you’d want to know about the meanings behind rose colors, check out this article. Rose Day is apparently meant to be the opening salvo in the war to win the heart of one’s beloved. There is a whole week of warm-ups to the big day of Valentine’s (aka Valentine’s Week): the 8th is Propose Day, the 9th is Chocolate Day, the 10th is Teddy Day, the 11th is Promise Day, the 12th is Hug Day and the 13th is Kiss Day. Does this sound completely unfamiliar to you? It does to me. But, it is apparently a big thing in India.
A bottle full of a clear liquid with pink rose petals in an around it
A perfect white roseSure, roses are beautiful and all, but they are more than just their good looks. Rose water and rose oil have been used for thousands of years for skin and hair care. The heady fragrance has been sought after just as long and has been distilled down from the petals and (in more recent history), manufactured artificially (just not the same). People just love that rose smell and they want it on themselves, in their homes and cars, on their dogs and more places that defy a proper classification (like the human bowel). Luckily, one can appreciate all these rose products year round.

A brick house with climbing pink roses surrounding a windowPlease excuse the awkward segue, but roses are also coveted by many as food. They are a close
relative of other fruits like apples, almonds, cherries, peaches and pears and can be cooked and eaten in the same ways. In case you would like to grow some roses as a way to explore their culinary attributes, here is an excellent article to inspire you. For more recipes, go here.  Get your roses taken care of in February and enjoy some deliciousness in the months to come.
A coffin-shaped black box with a skeleton on front opening to show some more illustrations inside and long-stemmed red roses.

Valentine’s Day is a couple of days away and the kitsch and sweetness level is at an all-time high. And there are a lot of people reaching for those 224 million roses previously mentioned and putting them in lovely vases. There is not much room for sentimentality in my world, so my preference would be the Nightmare Before Christmas roses.

Happy Roses, Everyone!

Submitted by Pam

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