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Vertical Roses
by Jerry Filipski
by Jerry Filipski


Gerald (Jerry) Filipski is the gardening columnist for the Edmonton Journal, a position he has enjoyed as a freelance writer for the past 12 years. Jerry also writes for Canadian Gardening, the new Alberta Gardener as well as for the lifestyle magazine of P&O ferries. Jerry also does numerous public speaking engagements including some major gardening conferences and workshops as well as question and answer sessions for Wal-Mart and Rona.

April 20, 2008

One aspect of gardening that is often overlooked is the vertical plane of gardening. This maybe even more true for the second home landscape. Second home owners tend to concentrate on the shrubs, trees and perennials that grow on lower levels. They tend to ignore the vertical plane. Climbing roses are an excellent choice when it comes to vertical gardening. They can be used to soften the lines of a home at the same time adding colour and texture. A simple wooden trellis with a climbing rose can easily transform a drab view of plain siding into a focal point. To me there is nothing worse than approaching a home and seeing this massive expanse of wall and siding.

Today the Explorer series of roses include some very hardy and beautiful climbing roses that deserve more use in the second home landscape. The Explorer series of roses was developed to survive Canadian winters by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at the Morden Research Station in Manitoba. Many are hardy down to -35 C. The plants are disease resistant and require minimal pruning and they will bloom throughout the summer. These plants are not the climbing roses of old. They are tolerant of many growing conditions and do not require a great deal of maintenance. Since roses are heavy feeders you will need to fertilize for optimum performance. Use a fertilizer with a higher second number such as 15-30-15. You may also choose to use a slow release granular fertilizer. This will keep nutrient levels more even and free you from having to fertilize at regular intervals. Roses do require to be in full sun for at least 6 hours a day and will not perform well in semi-shaded or shaded locations.

If you are not sure how to display these roses properly all you really need is a trellis, wall or even a fence where the roses can be supported. Once established, these roses will basically look after themselves. The occasional pruning to maintain shape and a little fertilizer and water is all they need. For a striking effect try growing a climber such as the pink 'Wlliam Baffin' intertwined with a purple Jackmanii Clematis. The effect can transform the drabbest siding into a work of art. Growing 2 varieties such as 'Williiam Baffin' and 'Henry Kelsey' also creates a spectacular focal point.

I think you will be amazed at how adding a vertical dimension to your garden and to your home will soften the lines and create a look that you will enjoy.

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