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Central Iowa Garden
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Photo courtesy of a_carl76
Private rose garden   Listing last updated on 28 Jan 2023.
Des Moines, Iowa 50321
United States
USDA Zone: 5b (-15 to -10 F / -26.1 - 23.4 C)
I grow about 300 roses, but that number is always growing. Most of the roses I grow are hybrid teas, grandifloras, floribundas, miniatures, mini-floras, and climbers. I am currently expanding into growing polyanthas, shrubs and some ogrs. I live in Des Moines with a medium sized yard. The soil is mainly clay, but I am slowly improving that. Most of the roses are grown on their own roots so I don't have to worry about harsh winter conditions killing the bud unions on my roses. The few budded plants I do have (usually bought this way because they are not available with their own roots) are planted deeper so that the bud union is between 1 and 2 inches below the surface.

I am most passionate about my older hybrid teas. I absolutely love the ones that predate Peace. Don't get me wrong about the modern hybrid teas, I love them about as much as I love the older ones, but there is a charm about the older ones that have not been replicated in the newer ones. I really enjoy growing their scents and colors as well as the many forms they take. The best thing about these roses is that not very many grow these varieties make my garden truly unique. Conveniently, these are the ones that are most likely to be found on their own roots. I also like many of the uncommon varieties bred in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.

My main concern about my roses is winter care. Winters can be quite cold and I spend each fall making sure I put my roses to sleep properly. I have employed several methods using leaves donated by my neighbors. For my bush roses (HT, Gr, Fl) I mound the leaves all around each rose bush. For some of the smaller plants, I place pots with their bottoms cut out around the plants and fill them with leaves. This ensures that the leaves do not blow away.

My miniatures are planted all along the front of the main rose bed. This makes it easy for me to put up a short solid barrier behind and pile leaves on top in one big row. The barrier prevents the western winds from blowing the leaves away.

Climbers take a little bit more care than the bush roses. First, I have to tie them down toward the ground. I then bury them with leaves. I have tried to tie them up and, taking some old sheets, filling leaves all around the plant but this method is time consuming and the guarantee of preserving more of the canes is lower.

For the few standard roses I grow, I plant them in large pots and bury the pots in the ground during the summer. In the Fall I place them in the garage.

I have tried to collect as many of the Brownell roses as I can find. This is mainly because they are what I started with when I first got into growing roses despite being advised not to. The plants were pretty pathetic when I got them, but I had them blooming on great looking plants by summer's end. I am always looking to expand my Brownell collection so if any of you out there have some of his roses that I don't have, I'm begging you to send them my way. I am also trying to grow my Buck collection.
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