As a new or aspiring rose-grower, you’ve likely found yourself wondering, “What tools do I need for success in my rose garden?” I’ve gathered a list of our favorite items here at the farm to help you begin your journey with confidence and ease!
WHAT ARE THE BEST TOOLS FOR BEGINNING ROSE-GROWERS?
As you begin your journey of growing roses, you’ll need a few essential items in your tool shed. With so many products out there, it’s easy to get overwhelmed deciding which ones to choose. The truth is you don’t need very many gadgets to grow beautiful garden roses. I’ve done the hard part for you! With years of experience trying out everything on the market, I’ve narrowed it down to a select list of must-haves for beginners:
That’s it! Simple, right? Keep reading to find out why these are my top picks for new rose-growers!
SOIL TEST KIT
The journey to thriving roses begins with a soil test! I highly recommend testing your soil before planting to learn how to amend your soil with the ideal elements for your location. Already planted your roses? It’s never too late for a soil test! Save yourself the time and headache over trying to figure out what your roses need, or why they’re not performing as you’d hoped.
My absolute favorite test is made by Soil Kit and can be purchased right here on our website, Amazon or ask for it at your local nursery. I love it because it’s so EASY! All you have to do is register your sample online, collect your soil, and mail it off in the pre-paid and pre-addressed envelope. Within 2 days, you will receive your test results along with personalized recommendations for specific types and application rates of fertilizer and soil amendments.
Whether you’re growing roses to produce cut flowers or just looking to add some beauty to your landscape, the goal is to have a healthy, well-fed plant. Adding the right fertilizer to your rose bed can boost growth and help you get those big blooms you’ve been dreaming of! Now that you’ve tested your soil, you know exactly what your roses need.
If your soil is already high in nutrients, you may not even need to apply fertilizer! If your soil is lacking vital nutrients, take a trip to your local nursery to find a well balanced rose fertilizer. Believe me - I’ve tried just about every product on the shelf. Some of my favorite fertilizers are E.B. Stone Rose & Flower Fertilizer & Dr. Earth Rose & Flower Fertilizer, which we use regularly here on the farm at Menagerie. Remember, wait to apply fertilizer until you see the first set of five leaf sets in the spring, and stop fertilizing six weeks before your first frost date.
CLIPPERS & PRUNERS
As a rose-grower, clippers are essential for pruning your roses and harvesting blooms. Choose a non-slip, lightweight pair that fits easily in the palm of your hand to prevent fatigue like this one by ARS. This is our go-to pair, used and trusted by all members of our farm & nursery team because they are lightweight preventing hand fatigue. Remember to clean and sharpen your pruners regularly.
Every rose gardener needs a great pair of gloves! Look for a pair that is durable without being bulky and select the right size to prevent them from causing blisters or slipping off while you work. Choose fabrics that are water-resistant but breathable to keep your hands cool and comfortable. I prefer longer cuffs and leather to protect my wrists and forearms from thorns and to keep soil from getting in. Check out my favorite weeding gloves and gauntlet gloves right here on our website or see my recommended list on Amazon.
Keeping notes is one of the most important things you can do to grow garden roses successfully. Recording the when and what you do in the garden requires minimal effort - use the notes app on your phone, download our printable resources from the Menagerie Academy, or purchase a notebook. Record keeping is essential for tracking patterns that emerge as seasons change and gives you a historic reference to compare a rose variety’s performance year after year. Gathering data guides your decisions about your practices, as well as helps document which roses are superb performers and which ones need to be retired to make room for a happier variety. Refer to the list below for ideas of what to document in your garden:
Weather - high & low temperatures
Soil test results
General appearance of the plant
Irrigation application rates and dates
Fertilizer application rates and dates
Pest and disease control applications rates and dates
When you deadhead
Time from deadheading or harvesting to next bloom
When you harvest stems
How many stems you harvest
When you dormant prune
When you winterize (depending on your growing zone)
GROWING WONDER: A FLOWER FARMER'S GUIDE TO ROSES
Released this year, my book Growing Wonder was written for rose growers just like you! Whether your goal is to start a flower farm or simply to enjoy roses in your home garden, the book will provide you with sound advice and detailed horticultural knowledge from my twenty plus years of farming experience. Inside you will find tips for choosing varieties, caring for your roses year-round, treating common insects and disease, harvesting cut roses, and so much more! Purchase your author signed copy here. For a non-signed copy check here.
As you enter the world of rose-growing, it’s important to equip yourself with a few must-have tools. No need to waste time deciding which products you need for success - we guarantee that these tried-and-tested tools will help you get off to a great start!
Photos by: Jill Carmel Photography & Ashley Lima
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