New rose collection could win back growers who were put off by fussy plants

In the Garden

March 14, 2004|By Kathy Van Mullekom | Kathy Van Mullekom,Daily Press

Growing roses can be an intimidating experience, especially for a new gardener.

Roses are often regarded as fussy plants that need too much time and too many chemicals to keep them blemish free and full of beautiful blooms.

That long-held notion is changing.

An evolving new collection -- New Generation Roses by Jackson & Perkins -- makes it easier to enjoy almost-perfect roses.

"They're bred to be simpler to grow," says Mike Cady, a horticulturist with Jackson & Perkins.

The new roses grow on their own roots, not grafted onto the rootstock of other plants. The bare-root roses are slightly smaller when you buy them, but the plants are easier to fit into a planting hole and they establish themselves quickly.

"Younger roots acclimate quicker," he says. "They suffer less transplant shock."

The plants also come with more canes per plant, giving them a natural, rounded habit and more blooms. Their winter hardiness is superb because the surviving roots rejuvenate themselves as the same plant, rather than the rootstock variety.

In addition, you'll find that no suckers appear below the bud union, which is a slight swelling where the grafted pieces unite and grow together. Plants grafted onto robust rootstock generally grow faster and produce larger results. Fruit trees usually are grafted plants.

New Generation Roses also are marketed as easier-maintenance plants, especially when it comes to pruning.

"You can use hedge trimmers if you want and get a nice landscape rose," Cady says. "You don't have to worry about exact pruning."

Roses now available through the New Generation line include golden yellow 'Peace,' dusky lavender 'Moon Shadow,' copper-apricot 'Disneyland Rose,' black-red 'Black Magic' and cherry-red and cream 'Cherry Parfait.'

Jackson & Perkins will continue to offer varieties that perform best as grafted plants.

To find out more about New Generation Roses, call toll free 800-292-4769 or visit online at www.jacksonandperkins.com.

The Daily Press (Newport News, Va.) is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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