Soon after I moved to Asheville, I decided to plant a few roses in memory of my mother. I remembered my mother’s small rose garden, set off to the side of our house in the sun, and how the bouquets picked from that garden would fill our house with fragrance. Since then, I have talked with many people about growing roses, and they have shared similar memories with me.

At that time, I was a novice gardener and knew nothing about growing roses. I had only heard of one company that sold roses (I didn’t even think to check out local nurseries), so I looked them up online and bought their fragrant rose collection with four different roses. Soon a large box came with four bare root roses. I had never seen bare root roses before and could hardly figure out what end to put in the ground. I finally got them planted and hoped for the best.

A few months later, I had blooms – and was I ever amazed! I had no idea roses could go from sticks to flowers in such a short time. I even wrote the company a fan letter telling them how pleased and excited I was. And, of course, I added more and more roses to my garden.

I learned that although we think of roses as delicate and fussy plants, given the proper site (full sun), well-prepared soil, a little fertilizer and water, even a novice gardener can successfully grow roses.

There are many reasons to grow and enjoy roses. Few other perennials bring as many blooms to our gardens and homes. Roses come in all colors (except blue), and modern roses will bloom repeatedly throughout the growing season. In Western North Carolina, we can expect roses to bloom from late spring until frost. You might even have roses for your Thanksgiving table!    

I started growing roses over a decade ago. Today’s roses are now increasingly bred with better resistance to black spot, a fungal disease that is the bane of rose growers. No one wants to spend their time spraying roses – and growers have learned this. And, since people want fragrant roses, we are seeing an increasing number of fragrant roses – with good disease resistance – become available as well.

The Asheville-Blue Ridge Rose Society is dedicated to helping the average gardener grow beautiful, low-maintenance roses. For more information about the society, visit its website, Visitors can meet members of the Asheville-Blue Ridge Rose Society and learn more about these fragrant beauties at the society’s annual rose exhibition, Memorial Day Weekend, May 27 and 28, at The North Carolina Arboretum. Hundreds of roses will be on display, from old garden roses to the newest hybrid teas. In addition, there will be lectures for novice rose growers and knowledgeable rosarians will be onsite to chat with visitors and help educate them about the best roses for their own garden. For more information on show hours and details, please click here.

About the Author

Judy Deutsch is a member of the Asheville-Blue Ridge Rose Society and previously served as president. She started growing roses about 14 years ago after moving to Asheville, North Carolina. She is now a master gardener and consulting rosarian. She grows roses in mixed beds with other perennials and delights in cutting roses to bring them into her home to enjoy.