History of Handel Roses:
The rose Handel was first bred in Ireland in 1965 by Samuel McGredy IV. McGredy operated a very popular rose nursery in northern Ireland with his sons up until 1972 when he took his entire company to New Zealand because the climate allowed him to grow without the use of greenhouses. He created Handel by crossing the Columbine rose with the climbing floribunda Heidelberg rose. The result is a gorgeous pink rose that develops dark pink to red edges.
Handel roses will grow to heights anywhere from 5 feet tall, all the way up to 15 feet tall. They will reach a horizontal width about 7 or 8 feet across. The blooms on the rose Handel are quite big and will reach an average diameter of about 4 inches across. The blooms will be very full and contain up to 30 or more petals each. This rose has a very subtle fragrance that isn't overly pervasive. If you are wondering if this rose will grow in your particular climate, it will thrive in zones 6 through 9.
Growing Handel Roses:
Growing the rose Handel is not terribly difficult however it is somewhat susceptible to the common rose disease blackspot. Because of this you should take care that your rose isn't planted in a location where the soil stays damp for long periods of time. One good way of combating diseases like blackspot and mildew, which frequently affect roses whose leaves are constantly damp, is to plant your rose in a location that gets good air circulation through your garden. The more air that moves across the leaves, the more they can dry out and the easier it will be to keep them healthy.
Handel roses are also repeat bloomers, which means they will need a lot of sun light if you want to get the most out of them. Try to pick a location where they will get a minimum of 6 to 8 hours each day of direct sun light. If you are able to give them more, then that is even better. Another trick you can use is to find your rose Handel a location where it will get exposure to the early morning sun light. This helps to dry the dew off the leaves early and goes a long way towards keeping them healthy and disease free.
Planting Handel Roses:
Planting the rose Handel is not all that difficult and you can get the job done with a few basic hand tools you probably already have in your shed. The first thing you should do before you even start digging is take a trip to the local garden center and pick up a bag of a good organic compost. This stuff makes a great amendment for just about any soil type and when you dig your hole, mix it in with the loose soil at a ratio of 1 part compost for every 2 parts soil.
If you bought your Handel roses locally, then chances are they were already established in containers and probably ready to bloom. These are the easiest to plant because all of the guesswork has already been done for you. All you need to do is dig a hole that is at least twice the diameter of the container, and equally as deep. This will allow ample room around the root ball for your new soil mix, while still keeping the bud union at the same depth it was originally planted. This is very important.
If you bought your climbing rose Handel online, then it was most likely shipped to you as a bareroot plant. You should first soak the plant overnight in a bucket of lukewarm water, prior to planting day, to rehydrate the roots. Then dig a hole that is as wide as the longest roots, and deep enough to allow you to set the plant atop a mound of soil and still keep the bud union about an inch or two below the surface.
Set your rose Handel in place atop the mound and spread the roots out in all directions. Take your new soil mix and back fill the hole about halfway to start. Then use the garden hose and water the loose soil heavily, until it flows around the roots like mud. Once this is done, you can go ahead and back fill the hole the rest of the way and give it one more heavy watering. Top off any final settling that may have occurred. It is also recommended that you cover the exposed canes of the bareroot plant with a mound of mulch while new growth is forming. This will help prevent the canes from drying out and you can remove the mound once new growth has formed.
Caring for Handel Roses:
Taking care of the rose Handel is pretty straight forward and you can follow basic rose care guidelines. You need to make sure that you give your roses ample water, but you must also be sure that you are not overwatering them. A good rule of thumb is one deep watering per week, unless you live in a very hot or dry region.
You can also give your Handel roses a dose of a good all-purpose granular fertilizer in early spring when the leaves begin to bud. Since this is a repeat bloomer, it will benefit greatly from additional feeding throughout the growing season. I will typically give my roses a second dose right before the first big bloom, and then a third dose sometime around midsummer to encourage late season blooms.
Pruning Handel Roses:
You should always prune the rose Handel in early spring before the leaves start to bud. Start off by removing all the dead wood, along with any canes that are discolored from disease. Next, prune back any lateral canes that overlap one another as these will eventually compete with each other for sun light once the leaves fully open. Lastly, you can give your climbing roses a light pruning for shape, and to encourage new growth.
This is also a great time to rake up around the base of your rose Handel and clean up all the dead leaves and debris that may have collected there. Throw away this material in the trash along with your cuttings. Never let rotting material lay around your roses as it could become a breeding ground for certain pests and diseases. I always finish up my pruning by giving my roses a fresh layer of mulch to start off the growing season.
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