History of John Davis Roses:
The rose John Davis was first bred in 1977 by Dr Felicitas Svejda out of Canada. It was introduced to the marketplace later that year under the name John Davis. This variety was created by crossing a kordessii seedling with a pollen plant that was created by crossing the Red Dawn rose with the Suzanne rose. The result is one of the most winter hardy climbing roses ever created!
John Davis roses produce blooms that are a vibrant pink color and will average about 3.5" in diameter. The blooms will be somewhat full having as many as 40 petals each. If you decide to grow this variety in your own garden, you can expect to be rewarded with a pleasant fragrance that smells like spice. The rose John Davis will only grow about 7 feet tall so it is not an overly large climbing rose, however what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in its hardiness and resistance to diseases. The John Davis will thrive all the way down to zone 2, which is almost unheard of among rose varieties.
Growing John Davis Roses:
The rose John Davis is extremely versatile throughout the garden due to its hardiness and disease resistance, and new growers will find it very forgiving to grow. You should try to find a spot that gets a lot of sun light. A good rule of thumb is to give your roses a minimum of 6 to 8 hours each day of direct sun light. You should also make sure that the soil you plant them in drains well because too much constant moisture around the roots can lead to all sorts of problems down the line.
If you are unsure about the quality of your garden soil, read on to the next section for an easy way to make sure you have a great soil mix for roses. You should also try to select a location for your John Davis roses that gets good airflow through your garden. This is one of those things that many growers often neglect. Airflow is important because it will help keep the leaves of your rose John Davis drier and in turn, healthier.
Planting John Davis Roses:
Before you begin planting your rose John Davis, you should consider taking a trip to the local garden center to pick up a bag of organic compost. This stuff makes a great soil amendment for roses. When you dig your hole, mix the compost in with the loose soil at a ratio of 1 part compost for every 2 parts soil. Your roses will absolutely love it.
If you bought your John Davis roses locally, they were more than likely already established in containers. These are the easiest to plant. You will want to dig a hole that is about twice the diameter of the container, and equally as deep. This keeps the bud union at its current depth but still leaves you a lot of room for your new soil mix.
If you ordered your rose John Davis online, they might have shipped it to you as a bareroot plant. You should soak these overnight in a bucket of lukewarm water prior to planting day. Then dig a hole that is as wide as the longest roots and deep enough to set the plant atop a mound of soil while keeping the bud union an inch or two below the surface.
Once the plant is in place atop the mound, back fill the hole halfway with soil and water it heavily until it flows like mud. Backfill the hole the rest of the way and give it one more heavy watering, being sure to top off any final settling that may occur. This method should prevent air pockets from forming around the roots beneath the soil.
You should consider mounding up some mulch around the exposed canes after planting, as this will help prevent them from drying while they take root. Once you see some new growth on your rose John Davis, you can remove the mound back to ground level.
Caring for John Davis Roses:
Taking care of the rose John Davis is pretty easy. You will need to make sure that you provide it with ample water while being careful not to overwater it. Typically a good rule of thumb for most roses and climates is one deep watering per week whether you do it or if Mother Nature takes care of it for you.
You should also give your John Davis roses a dose of a good all-purpose granular fertilizer in the early spring just as the leaves begin to form. This variety is not much of a repeat bloomer however you can give it additional feedings over the growing season to try and encourage additional blooms. I will generally give a second feeding after the first big bloom, and then a third feeding around midsummer to help the late season blooms.
Pruning John Davis Roses:
You should prune your rose John Davis in the early spring before the leaves start to open. This will make it much easier to see what you are doing. Start by cutting away all the dead and discolored wood from the plant. Then start pruning back any lateral canes that overlap one another as these will compete with one another for sunlight when the leaves finally open. Lastly you can give your rose John Davis a light pruning for shape.
This is also the time when you should really rake up around the base of your roses and clean up all the dead leaves and debris that have collected there from the previous season. Always throw away this material in the trash, along with your cuttings. Never let them lay around or throw them in the compost bin as some spores can survive the winter only to reinfect your roses the following spring. 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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