You can’t grow roses in Florida!
This is a statement I have heard on more than one occasion and I’d like to reply with 6 little words: My rose garden begs to differ.
Growing roses in Florida, especially South Florida isn’t easy, it’s not for the faint of heart or the lazy landscaper who wants to plant it and forget it. But it can in-fact be done and it has been done for many years even in Miami, even in homestead and I would bet even in the Florida Keys.
I began gardening when I bought my first home in 2010. Until then I always liked houseplants and flowers of all kinds, but I had no yard. Living in apartments most of my young adult life made it difficult to grow more than the occasional African Violet by the kitchen window. But even when I got my first, very own apartment in South Beach, I made a little bed of flowers in my entrance way and had a little row of annuals by my back door.
I suppose I get it from my grandmother who loved roses and grew all sorts of flowering plants in Puerto Rico where I spent every summer growing up. She had everything from key limes to guavas and orchids to tropical plants and even the infrequent rose.
Within a month of owning my home, my mother came over to help me create a flowerbed and liven up the back yard area around the pool. We had a great time chitchatting and digging up the dirt. That’s when I was truly bitten by the gardening bug. Soon I was hitting the gardening centers almost every Saturday morning, looking for new and exciting flowers to add to my garden. Most plants didn’t last long for me, but that didn’t seem to bother me. I just replaced the old with the new and kept the garden fresh and teaming with color as much as I could.
But, I still had a lot to learn. South Florida, unlike most of the country, has its own unique climate. We have no frost or snow. No winter dying and emergence of spring to rejuvenate the garden. Things must either grow year round here or perish after a few months depending on the species and the season. When flowers I was very fond of died only a couple of months after planting, I began reading and researching everything I could get my hands on in order to create the garden of my dreams.
To my dismay I found it hard to find information on my very specific and quite unique environment. Gardening seemed to be going out of style. A hobby for little old ladies that was dying out and not being passed on to the next generation. My neighbors mostly had boring landscaping with palms and other perennial plants that didn’t do much more than just sit there year after year. I wanted color, I wanted flowers, I wanted roses!
I quickly grew tired of the same old annuals and perennials at the garden centers. These were the same tried and true plants that I had seen all around me growing up in South Florida. I wanted a garden full of extraordinary beauty. Something you don’t see everyday driving passed your local shopping center and I vowed to do it. When I came across a website that sold roses online my true passion was ignited. I had no limitations now, nothing to stop me from growing the roses that I so badly wanted.
To this day, my garden is an ever-evolving plethora of blooms, color and variety. But with that comes the many challenges that face our region. Disease, insects, intense heat and humidity, nematodes and every creepy crawly plant-eating creature known to man, affect us. It hasn’t been easy. But nothing that’s easy is ever worth doing. I push forward because nothing is more rewarding than seeing the garden thrive and the roses bloom.
It is my pleasure to introduce to you South Florida Rose. This blog is about getting more people into the garden. It’s about helping people become more involved with their environment and hopefully passing on the skills to a younger generation. There is no hobby as rewarding and growing your own flowers or fruits and vegetables and it’s a skill we should all have. The bees and butterflies depend on us!
Welcome to South Florida Rose! A place to learn, try and err and most importantly…a place to grow!