Friday, March 29, 2013

Rose Gardens: Pretty in Pink!

The woody perennial Rose has over 100 different species that range in color from white to reds, pinks, and yellows. Although roses have been grown in China for over a thousand years, the founder of the modern rose garden as we know it today was Empress Josephine de Beauharnais, wife of Napoleon Bonaparte. Josephine’s lifelong patronage helped to popularize the rose as a common garden plant. Between the years of 1799 and 1814, she employed a horticulturist with a passion for roses named Andre Dupont and as a result developed a great personal interest in and knowledge of gardens and roses. Josephine formed the first written history of rose cultivation and hosted one of the first ever rose exhibitions in 1810. By her death in 1814, her garden included over 250 varietals. Thirty years after her death, the rose variety Souvenir de la Malmaison, originally cultivated at the Chateau de Malmaison, was named in her honor by a Russian Grand Duke and was one of the first planted in the Imperial Garden in St. Petersburg.

Even beginning gardeners can successfully cultivate roses. In California, February is the best time to plant, and gardeners should wait until longer stalks are more readily available to prune. Drastic pruning should be done after the blooming season is finished. According to expert horticulturist and garden designer Tania Gybels of Environmental Concept, the best way to feed your roses is with horse manure, alfalfa meal, and fish powder. Tania also cautions against excessive water and dampness in your rose garden as the buildup of water on leaves can encourage the growth of mildew fungi that impairs the plant’s ability to photosynthesize. The mildew is identifiable by its white or gray powdery splotches on leaves and stems. Regular thinning and pruning improves air circulation to prevent excessive water buildup, and a simple fungicide can help clear up any contamination. To safeguard against pests like aphids Tania recommends using a fertilizer rich in phosphorus and potassium such as bone meal, instead of a traditional nitrogen-rich fertilizer.

One of Tania’s favorite pink roses is the Cape Cod variety. The Cape Cod rose grows as a shrub and is perfect to integrate into your garden landscape. The beautiful, bright pink flowers are the reason why so many people, like Tania, love to grow roses.


Founded in 1992, Environmental Concept provides landscape design and installation services to the finest residential and commercial properties in Southern California. Environmental Concept has completed projects for the Spelling Mansion, Dustin Hoffman, Roland Emmerich, 3.1 Philip Lim Boutique, the Ambrose Hotel, Sunset Millennium Shopping Center, Hotel Casa del Mar and the Aquarium of the Pacific. Environmental Concept has been featured on HGTV and Oprah. For more information about Environmental Concept visit