This rose was a success. With glossy green leaves and generous blooms of deep pink/yellow fading to light pink it would stop me in my tracks every time I walked by. It pulled me in with its light rosy scent. I planted this rose facing west where it received full afternoon sun and kept it well-watered, especially during the heat. I fed it with Terosa, a once a year slow release fertilizer and soil amender, produced locally in the Northwest. It worked so well I had vigorous growth and an abundance of blooms all summer. I also spread some organic planting compost on the surface of the soil around the base. Chicago Peace looked good with the purple clematis I planted behind it.
There were a few problems during the season. Along with my first buds in the spring was also a nice crop of aphids. First I tried spraying them with soapy water, which only slowed them a bit but didn’t get rid of the tenacious little things. Next I tried a neem oil spray called Rose Defense which is an insecticide as well as a fungicide. After about three applications of this, they were gone for good. A few leaves with black spot appeared on the lower plant, but simply removing these, along with the neem oil, kept the black spot from spreading.
Blooms are produced on new growth, so pruning is essential. In February I cut back the canes to about 18-24 inches and removed inward-facing ones. After the first big show of blossoms in May I cut the canes back again by about a third. This encouraged more flowers in the summer and also kept my rose round and bushy, not tall and thin. During the summer I continued dead-heading, cutting out crossing or undesirable branches (like the ones hanging over my driveway) and any dead wood. I tried to keep the plant open in the center to provide good air circulation and prevent disease.
If you want to be dazzled by roses, visit the Woodland Park Rose Garden in Seattle. June is the best month, with flowers of all shapes and sizes everywhere and a captivating perfume in the air. This is a great place to find your favorites and see how they grow. I fell in love with the buttery yellow of Julia Child and the deep red of Opening Night. Visit their website for information and pictures: http://www.zoo.org/zoo_info/rosegarden/rosegarden and plant a rose in your garden this year for health and happiness!