GardenSmart :: EPISODES :: 2005 show40
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Show #40

This week we're in Chattanooga, Tennessee visiting the Chattanooga Choo Choo. Their Rose gardens are beautiful; some Roses have received the designation All American Rose Selection. We'll look at old varieties, varieties that haven't yet been introduced, we'll look at pruning, deadheading and disease control.

The Chattanooga Choo Choo is a restored train station. It was originally constructed in 1909; the last train departed from this station in 1970.The song of the same name immortalized the train that now sits in their formal gardens.

Lori Martinez is the resident horticulturist and started at the Choo Choo in 1992. At that point the hotel and grounds had floundered. The Rose bushes were nothing but stickers. Lori cut them back and the following spring they came up and were fabulous. Management and Lorithen decided that the Rose gardens would be the featured flower at the hotel. This seemed a logical move since the Rose is internationally recognized, everybody knows the Rose and many know the song Chattanooga Choo Choo. There is a lot of history to the Chattanooga Choo Choo and a lot of history with Roses. The train station was in its' prime during the 1930's, 1940's and 50's, it was an exciting time for rail travel. Because of this rich history many of the Roses in this garden are from this era.

There are over 800 varieties in this All American Rose Selection (AARS) Garden. Lori feels fortunate and privileged to have that designation, the only garden with that designation in the state of Tennessee. As mentioned, many of the Roses date back to the 1930's. "Charlotte Armstrong" dates back to 1941 and is the parent of a popular Rose the "Queen Elizabeth." Another is called "World's Fair" and dates back to1940, it isn't easy to find these Roses anymore, and they're not widely grown. "Rubaiyat" was introduced in 1946 and received its' AARS designation in 1947. It is beautiful with deep pink blooms that are very fragrant and born on dark leathery foliage. That is something Rose growers should think about, the foliage. There are different types of foliage. There are types with leathery foliage, shiny, glossy or even a matte finish. Many think the foliage is the key to a beautiful Rose.

There are thousands of different Rose varieties. Lori selects varieties that perform well in her garden and selects varieties that are recognized by their visitors. For example they have a "Dolly Parton" variety. Lori believes it is called that because it matches the color of Dollys' lipstick. "Patsy Cline" is a beautiful bi-color Rose, lavender and dark rose, and very fragrant. "Chicago Peace" has a large open bloom and a very light scent. It does well in this climate, was hybridized by a Chicago breeder, thus the name. As mentioned, the designation, All American Rose Selection Garden is very special to Lori. Every year the American Rose Society selects between 3 and 5 Roses, depending on how many are introduced, to be their All America picks for the following year. These are the best of the best. They don't even have names at this point. It is very secret process, Lori is not even mailed name plaques until the names are revealed. This garden allows people to come see the Rose, see how it performs in their area, then look for it the following season. An All American selection may or may not do well in every part of the country. Even though these are the best of the best, countrywide they may just do "pretty good," they may perform better in one area versus another. It's important to check how they grow in different parts of the country. For example, they might do well in humid conditions versus dry conditions. Lori shows us another past winner from the All American Rose Selection. "Love and Peace" is bi-color, the two colors are combined on one Rose. It is a compact Rose, doesn't get particularly tall but is a prolific bloomer.

Lori can't keep the names of all of the different Roses straight. She utilizes books and local Rosarians from the local Rose Society to help in this regard. Check with your local Rose Society for valuable information about Roses - growing and care. These folks are growing Roses in your area and region and can provide expert advice specific to your region. Many think Roses are a lot of work, too much trouble. Lori doesn't think that is the case. Instead, she thinks there is work involved but as long as a gardener likes going into the garden and will develop a routine to maintain their Roses - fertilize them, water them and some spraying -anyone can have a fabulous Rose garden. One just needs to know what to do and when to do it, it is fairly simple.

Roses don't fit into one specific plant category. They flower like an annual, they have large blooms and require a lot of energy, but at the same time it is a woody shrub.

Top dressing is important for Roses. Add one or two inches of good organic matter in and around the plants, taking care not to disturb the roots. Lori likes a material that is well composted, something with a lot of different sized particles, a product with a little nutrient charge included. Something with Phosphorous, Nitrogen, even some Bone Meal as well as some Iron is good, since these ingredients tend to green the leaves. Top dressing will keep Roses looking good year after year.

In selecting a site for Roses remember that they require 6-8 hours of sunlight every day. They should be away from competing plants like trees. Their roots shouldn't compete with the roots of trees or shrubs. The bed should be completely tilled providing good, loose soil. If roots as big as a finger are found they should be cut. The soil should have good drainage, they don't like moist soil, a raised bed is good and an organic content is needed. In Lori's area she uses a mix of finely ground Pine bark, organic manures and meals, some people even add a little sand. When digging the hole make it as deep, but not deeper than the hole the Rose is already planted in. The base of the Rose shouldn't be choked. The hole should be large allowing the plant to spread its' roots. Lori uses gloves when planting since they have thorns. Tap the bottom and sides of the container in which it is planted and pull it out. This particular plant is grafted. Its' root stalk is different from the top, the part above ground. When planting make sure to plant the Rose deep but not over the graft, this will keep moisture out of the graft area. Roses need good air circulation so keep plants about 4 feet apart. In this case the bed is surrounded by hedges and Lori likes to have plenty of room to work on the plants so the Roses are even further apart. In planting this Rose she uses loose soil and lightly presses it around the roots being careful not to damage the root structure. This done she waters the plant and adds mulch. Mulch is important in her part of the country, it provides a good barrier. In the south with hot, dry conditions, mulch helps keep moisture in and hot air away from the roots. In the winter she covers the graft with a mound of finely ground pine bark. This protects it from winter damage, depending on the region the entire plant might be covered.

Black Spot is always a concern. Lori monitors it on a daily basis and sprays periodically with a preventative spray. This eliminates the majority of problems in this area. She starts this process in the spring when the foliage begins to emerge. Powdery Mildew is a problem indifferent parts of the country. Lori uses preventative measures here as well. Japanese Beetles can skeletonize a plant, completely removing the blooms. Normally they will move through an area and they have done that in this location. When Lori sees these pests she picks them off and squeezes them.

Pruning is done throughout the year. During the growing season deadheading, taking off old blooms will encourage new growth and new blooms. Also trim tall, wild looking branches. When removing a spent limb, find the first set of 5 leaves, find the leaf bud that is outward facing, then cut 1/4 inch above the leaf bud and cut at a 45 degree angle facing out. During the fall, before winter hits she cuts the Rose bush to about waist high, that prevents winter winds from damaging the bush. In early spring she gives them their major haircut, at that point she takes all Rose bushes down to about 12-18 inches tall.

If insects are a problem in your garden, consider using indicator plants. This particular plant is a Contorted Philbert, it is a magnet for Japanese Beetles (they also love Roses). They go to this plant first, so by putting it in your garden it provides a way to track when Japanese Beetles arrive. Granted it won't look good but this plant is sacrificed for the Roses. There are many different categories of Roses, all with a lot of distinctive characteristics. We show a few varieties. Hybrid Tea is one of the most popular types of Rose. It has a single stem and is very tall. The Grandiflora is similar but has a smaller bloom. Both work well as cut flowers. Floribunda, one variety Queen Elizabeth, is also a wonderful cut flower. It will have a bloom but with many buds, has other flowers that will follow. As one fades, others open. Floribunda means there is another flower continually coming although not a number of flowers at the same time. Climbers, in this case Dortman, have a very open, flat bloom. They have huge clusters and make a nice display. A Shrub Rose, Ballerina, has teeny flowers with multi-colors in one cluster of blooms. They weigh heavily on the branches. Miniature Roses, Rainbows End, also have a range of colors.

Lori believes that in selecting a Rose for your area, you should first visit a local nursery. See what they have available, ask locals, even the local Rose Society, find out what works in your area. Then choose a selection, because you'll be constantly surprised.

This has been a great place to learn about Roses. With over 800varieties and an AARS selection site this has been a learning experience. Thank you Lori for showing us your wonderful Rose garden. You've done a wonderful job.

Link :: Chattanooga Choo-Choo


   
 
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