The history of roses is as bright as their flowers. Roses used to be symbols of love and beauty, but also played a role in war and politics. According to fossil evidence, the rose is 35 million years old. Rose cultivation first started 5,000 years ago in China. During the Roman period roses were used as confetti at celebrations, for medicinal purposes, and as a source of perfume. Roman nobility had large public rose gardens established in the south of Rome. After the fall of the Roman Empire, roses came in and out of fashion, depending on gardening trends.
When planting roses, select two years old, field grown and budded plants. Choose a sunny, well-drained spot in your garden. Get rid of damaged roots, cut top growth back to 6 to 8 inches. Dig holes large enough to fit the roots without crowding. Throw a few pebbles in the bottom of holes to facilitate drainage and add one tablespoonful of fertilizer, mixed with the soil to the drainage material. Cover it with plain soil. Set plant roots into the soil, spread them, and fill up the hole, firming the soil.
Roses have to be fed three to four times a year. First time in early spring, as soon as you see leaf buds swell, second time after the first heavy bloom, and third time in late summer. Each time work 1 tablespoonful of fertilizer per plant into the soil. In southern areas, where blooming extends into October, a fourth feeding should be made about the first of October. Some growers follow a monthly fertilizing program during the growing season for better results.
Fresh-cut roses also need special care. Put them in a tall container of warm water with floral preservative and place in a cool draft free room for an hour before you arrange them in a vase. The hydration process will stimulate better water flow along the rose's woody stem. To straighten bent necks on roses, fill a tub with clean warm water, put the entire rose in the water, re-cut the stem end under water and leave alone for 10 minutes. After the rose has begun to absorb water, slowly straighten the flower neck. Leave the rose for a while in the warm tub, then remove and rearrange the rose.