Roses and Sustainability

Ahhh…Roses.  They are the stuff of legend and lore.  Revered for their beauty the world over, there are over 100 species of roses worldwide and many cultivars and hybrids.  Roses come in almost every color of the rainbow, and many are symbols in love and literature making them the most widely recognized flower today.

Roses are the prized treasures of many a garden and receive much care and attention to preserve their perfection.  Rose horticulture has, in the age of genetic “improvement,” given rise to many very beautiful, popular, but problem plagued varieties.  These delicate beauties have needed much time, attention, and chemical intervention to maintain their picture perfect performance.  This did not stop them from being vigorously promoted worldwide by both the rose growing industry and the various rose societies.

This is a trend that is changing.  Today there is a growing concern about traditional rose care and while the love of roses has not dimmed, many people are interested in growing them in an environmentally responsible way.  Going green with sustainable rose gardening means you don’t have to worry about being the Wicked Stepmother handing Sleeping Beauty the poison rose.  The search for “sustainable roses” is on. 

So just what is sustainable rose gardening?  The question often arises, “Is there even such a thing as sustainable rose gardening?  There are a lot of points of view.  We believe there is, but it is surprising to see the broad spectrum of responses to this question.

One good workable definition?

“Sustainable rose gardening is managing our gardens with minimal effects on the environment. A sustainable rose garden is one that is adapted to and managed without extraordinary demand for chemicals and care while maintaining a healthy balance and emphasis on healthy soil.”   -- Bob Martin, (American Rose Society Candidate for SVP)

This is not the only definition, by a long shot, but it gives a place to start the discussion.

Roses are a very hot topic when it comes to sustainability.  From environmental advocates, Universities, home gardeners, the horticulture industry and even the prestigious Rose Societies there is much debate over what constitutes rose sustainability, and what constitutes rose gardening practices that are acceptable.

Since even the experts cannot agree, we at Landscape and Garden Today will present some of the various points of view on growing sustainable roses, rose culture tips, interesting rose varieties and rose gardening practices that are currently accepted as sustainable.  This will allow you, the reader, to come to the best decision about what meets your needs within this sustainability spectrum.

Happy rose gardening!

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