Every month the men and women of the Hasbrouck Heights Garden Club gather at their regular meeting spot at the library to discuss club business, share gardening experiences and learn from others.
Wednesday night the group got a lesson in rose gardening from Rocco Lapenta, of Nanuet, New York an avid gardener who has been growing roses for more than 55 years. He told the group that he still has one of the first roses his wife ever bought him back in 1955 when they first got married.
Growing roses has its difficulties as many club members agreed but Lapenta was there to show them the easiest ways to keep their rose bushes thriving and he focused his discussion around four basic concepts – making sure they get sun, water, food and spray.
Lapenta said he knows that many people do not want to spray their plants with chemicals but walked them through some products that could be used in the event their rose bushes are prone to what is known as “black spot” or are really affected with insects that are hard to remove naturally such as a bug known as a “midge.” However recognizing the green needs of today’s environment there are some pests that can easily just be washed away with the most natural ingredient of all – water.
For example if one notices a salt and pepper dusted look on the greens of their plants that is most likely spider mites, Lapenta explained. Hosing the bushes down with water two or three times will prevent most of the mites from returning to the leaves.
Lapenta and the Garden Club members also discussed the many different types of roses and color classifications. One of the most common roses is the hybrid tea but Lapenta also talked about climbers, mini rose bushes and floribunda. He walked them through different pruning needs for different roses. (Watch the video to see Lapenta demonstrate pruning tools.)
He also focused on the importance of fertilizing and the many different methods one can use. Fertilizing is the number one thing gardeners should be doing for their roses right now, Lapenta said.
There really is no one method for doing this, Lapenta said as one could ask 10 different rose growers and get 10 different answers but there are many things can be used from compost, to cow or horse manure to products like Rose tone. It should be done three times a week during the spring months until the end of June, then again at the end of the summer but he does not recommend heavy fertilizing in the fall as one will not want substantial growth before the cold months set in.