Rebuilding My Rose Garden
Ed Bradley

My original rose gardens were built in 1986 and 1990. I had felt for a few years that I needed to add more organic matter to the soil, or replace the soil with a soil rich in organic matter. This could not be accomplished by simply adding mulch to the top and scratching it into the upper soil. So, I decided to undertake the task of removing all of the roses and all of the soil, and basically starting over. Since we were growing about 125 hybrid tea roses, I also wanted to downsize to about 75. Less quantity; more quality. (We are still growing about 17 Floribunda and Grandiflora, 70 miniatures, and 12 shrub roses, plus sundry others in containers.)

My end objective was to have an "exhibitors" garden, one which would produce trophy winning roses. And, since I was going to all this work and expense, I decided to convert to the Fortuniana rootstock which has a much more extensive root system and therefore produces a much larger and healthier rose bush.

Of the 125 original roses, I trashed about 20 and gave about 85 to other rosarians. I saved about 20 on commercial rootstock that I was unable to procure on Fortuniana. The new garden was planted with 76 hybrid tea roses, 56 being on Fortuniana rootstock. (I have since replaced some of those not on Fortuniana by grafting my own, or purchasing others. As you read this, I will have only 6 not on Fortuniana.)

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