Preparing A “Show” Rose Garden





In a member’s spare time or as a retirement hobby, RCMP Veterans develop a passion for a particular interest.  Some decide upon photography or travel or model trains.

Veteran Phil Juby developed an interest in Rose Garden Shows.  The following article was forwarded to us by Phil and for the benefit of others.





There are several steps of construction and soil preparation in order to provide what you want in a “show” rose garden. The size depends on the number of roses you wish to have. Tea Roses come in all colors and degree of fragrance but all require room “to breath” and flourish. The rule is to have your rose plants at least 3 feet apart in all directions. That would be the closest and 4 feet would be better. So, 6 plants require 12 feet X 12 feet area.

Use an edger if you are developing a garden from an existing lawn area. Use some string (baler twine is cheap) and outline your garden, placing the string tied or wrapped around pegs of some kind, and lye the string on the ground. Then use the edger to cut the sod. It is easier to cut on your side of the string (closer to your feet) as it will eliminate accidental pull out or cutting the string accidentally.

Once you have edged the sod, use a long handled garden fork, and start removing the sod in small sections. Your wheel barrow will be needed to remove the sod and put it in your compost pile. Dig deep, at least 4 inches into the soil to attempt to remove the entire sod root, deeper if you have weeks like dandelion and others. Remember balls of soil left behind are usually containing roots that have bound the soil. Just remove them. There are roots everywhere.

Once you are satisfied the sod and roots are removed, dig in with the same fork and loosen the surface soil, along with any stone or larger roots. Three inches would be the minimum depth. This will allow the mixing of what is to come, and leave you with several inches of good soil.

Now comes the soil treatment. You have gathered “Maple Leaves” and try not to get Norway Maple. You will notice leaves that have “black spots” about 1 inch in diameter. This is a fungus of the Norway Maple, and you should avoid using these leaves. Note: Use only maple leaves, and never oak. They are sweeter. Pile you leaves beside your newly dug garden, and use the lawn mower to mow them onto the soil surface. This is an easy way to chop the leaves, making them easier to break down. Do the same with straw. Shake the “flakes” of straw and mow them onto the surface. In all 4 inches in depth is not too thick.

Now you should have either bags of sheep manure or cow manure. One bag per square yard is good. Then put 3-4 handfuls of peat moss on every square yard on top. Now the soil is getting the future food it needs. One more thing, lime. A fist full of lime per square yard is good. Take your garden fork and start churning these additives up into that loose soil you dug up after removing the sod. Mix it as best you can. Now you are ready to leave you new bed for the winter.

In the spring, once it has dried and the earth has some heat from the sun do another “dig” and mix the soil/compost so it will dry and warm quicker. Add more manure as you go, where you plan to plant your roses. Remember roses may have to be ordered in late fall or in January in order to receive them in May.

Prepare the holes where your plants will be placed. Ensure the first soil the plants will be placed in is loose and not compacted by the earth or your shovel. Place the entire base from the rose plant pot into the ground, and carefully roll in surrounding soil including the manure you have placed there. Give you plant 2 gallons of water upon planting. Water again every other day for 10 days. You will be required to water should you have a dry spell, as roses like good drainage, little wind, warm sun, and plenty of water. Now, wait for your roses to grow and provide bloom. The first year may not produce what you expect, but repeat the manure application the first part of August, and in late fall; add more leaves, manure, straw, and lime. You should do fine the following year.

Good luck. Phil Juby. Residential Landscape Technician (BC)