Since March, the Franklin County Garden Club has been essentially inactive due to the ongoing pandemic.
Club President Lola Eslick explained that with many of the members considered in the high-risk category for catching Covid-19, meetings were put on hold.
“We looked at our planned meeting in July,” Eslick said, “And at that time, things were opening back up and it seemed that the peak in the Covid-19 cases had occurred. So, based on that information, we were able to hold our July meeting.”
Ron Daniels was the clubs distinguished guest speaker for the July meeting. He is a master consulting rosarian and member of the Nashville Rose Society as well as a consulting rosarian for Belmont University’s Adelicia Acklen Rose Garden.
He is also a marketing representative for Holy Cow Premium Soil Mix.
Daniels, who has grown roses for 20 years, maintains a plot of 150 of the colorful delicacies in his garden. He enjoys sharing his knowledge and years of experience with others. He admitted to members that growing roses can be addictive.
Daniels outlined the following recommendations for growing beautiful, healthy roses. As with any plant, location is important.
He pointed out that roses should be planted in a place that will allow them to get four to six hours of sunshine each day.
Amended soil is also a big plus for optimal roses. Daniels shared the following recipe for a soil mixture that should bring much success. The mixture includes 1/3 topsoil, 1/3 sand and 1/3 organic material.
Raised beds allow for good drainage as roses do not like “wet feet.” Additionally, beds are easy to maintain and should be 18 to 24 inches deep.
Water is a must, Daniels said. He advised members not to depend on rainfall for watering, but to use soaker hoses instead.
He explained that with Wi-Fi options available, one can simply set up products for timed watering.
He highly recommended a product called “B-hyve,” which allows the gardener to control their sprinklers straight from their cellphone.
Another important factor in growing roses, Daniels said, is the pH value of the soil.
Soil pH or soil reaction is an indication of the acidity or alkalinity of soil and is measured in pH units.
Soils with a pH value of 6.5 to 7.5 are considered neutral and optimal for most plants. Roses, however, do best with slightly acidic soil with a pH reading of 6-5. He advises using a pH monitor to keep the pH in check.
Eslick said, “His PowerPoint presentations showed us simply beautiful roses and provided further definition of the many classes of roses.”
Old roses from as early as 1867 are categorized as hardy and disease-resistant with a strong fragrance. Wild roses are an example of these types.
Modern roses from 1867 to today include such types as the Marilyn Monroe and love and peace roses.
Daniels said grafting is a technique often used to yield lots of color and long stems.
He stressed to members the importance of keeping rose bushes healthy and beautiful by using fertilizers, treating diseases and incorporating mulch.
He recommends watering roses before and after fertilizing. This will deliver nutrients more efficiently to the root zone and prevent root burn or shock.
He also advises using fungicides and organoids as needed to treat diseases caused by fungus. Another important tip is the use of a collar of mulch eight to 15 inches around each bush.
Pruning roses above five leaves will also produce better flowers.
Members were inspired and impressed by their guest’s expertise on the subject.
For those who want to learn more, Daniels recommends the book, “American Rose Society Encyclopedia of Roses: The Definitive A-Z Guide.”