Tom Karwin, on gardening | Monterey Bay Rose Society Rose Show Returns as In-Person Event – Santa Cruz Sentinel

Take care of your garden

April has been an amazing month for gardeners. In recent columns, we’ve highlighted the return to in-person events by Monterey Bay Area leaders of the most popular garden plant groups: dahlias, succulents, irises, and California natives.

Today we are focusing on another of the most popular garden plants: roses.

This comes at a good time because of the Monterey Bay Rose Society’s 41st Annual Rose Show, which returns as an in-person post-COVID-19 event. The show will be performed from noon to 5 p.m. on April 30 at the Alladin Nursery, 2905 Freedom Blvd., Watsonville.

Today’s column features scenes from past MBIS rose shows to show the presentation of individual flowers. Gardeners also appreciate displays of whole roses, especially climbing roses, especially when visiting private or public rose gardens.

As with other flower shows, this is an essential opportunity to appreciate the flowers of well-developed plants and to identify varieties to add to your garden, either because of their singular appeal or their desired contribution to design. of your garden.

Although we don’t have annual awards for the most popular plants, roses are perennial candidates for the most popular garden plant of all.

Rose flowers satisfy almost everyone’s concept of a beautiful flower. We say “almost” only because there is always someone who has another first choice, but there is a good chance that they will choose the rose as their immediate second place.

Roses please us with several characteristics, starting with their range of colors and mixtures, only missing true blue. (My garden includes Rosa ‘Veilchenblau’, a 1909 hybrid called ‘Blue Rambler’, but its almost blue flowers are fairly described as purple-crimson-purple.)

The flower shapes of roses are also quite varied. There are “singles”, defined by the American Rose Society as a rose with four to eight petals. These have a lot of appeal, but other popular shapes are “semi-double” with 9-16 petals, “double” with 17-25 petals, “full flower” with 26-40 petals and “very full flowers” with 41 to more. more than 100 petals.

There are too many kinds of roses to explore – or even list – in this brief column. For now, we will stick to the three main categories: wild roses, old garden roses (once flowering) and modern garden roses (varieties developed after 1867).

Growing and caring for roses has inspired an extensive collection of tips, with considerable emphasis on pruning. Again, there’s too much to summarize in this limited space, but we’ve included selected links under ‘Improve your knowledge’, below.

At the same time, roses take care of themselves and have earned the reputation of “graveyard roses”. These are often older varieties that have maintained a healthy life despite the lack of regular irrigation, fertilization or pruning. For more on this topic, see Thomas Christopher’s book, “In Search of Lost Roses” (2002), about the “rustling” of old garden roses from abandoned lots and secret gardens.

This is not a recommendation to neglect roses in your garden, only to suggest that roses can grow on their own with remarkable persistence.

This is especially true for wild and old garden roses. Many modern garden roses are grafted varieties, in which a desirable bloom has been grafted onto a rootstock that brings rapid and vigorous growth to the plant. This is fine in many ways, but leaving such a rose to grow unattended would allow it to be taken over by “suckers” from the rootstock.

I prefer roses with “clean roots”, that is to say those that have not been grafted onto a rootstock. This is not to neglect them, but because I appreciate the character of a pure strain and don’t like removing the suckers.

The Monterey Bay Rose Society’s 41st Annual Rose Show will feature many varieties of roses, based on entries brought in by local rose growers. If you would like to share exceptional flowers from your garden, registrations will be accepted from 7am to 9am.

When you see roses at the Show that you’d like to add to your garden, take note in anticipation of bare root season (January through May), when the roses are naturally dormant. Roses planted while dormant establish themselves quickly in the garden and will bloom the first year. Some mail-order rose nurseries accept orders year-round and deliver plants during bare root season.

Advance your knowledge

Many online resources offer detailed information on roses.

For an overview of the genus Rosa, visit and search for “Rose”. Explore the American Rose Society website ( for articles and videos on growing roses. For recommendations specific to our region, see “Find a rose for your garden”.

The Monterey Bay Rose Rose Society’s website ( provides tips and information on events specific to the Monterey Bay area, including its show garden at the Santa County Fairgrounds. Cruz.

The California Landscape and Garden History Society will be sponsoring the webinar, “Garden History of the Monterey Peninsula,” at 6 p.m., May 11. Garden historian David A. Laws will discuss the area’s Spanish and Mexican adobes, the grounds of the former Hotel del Monte, the Pebble Beach estates, and the historic landscape styles of the Monterey Peninsula. Laws’ presentation will be based on his writings on the rich horticultural history of Spain’s capital of Alta California and surrounding communities.

CLGHS will also be sponsoring a related “Secret Gardens of Old Monterey” walking tour, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 14. This in-person event will be led by David Laws and architectural and landscape historian Mimi Sheridan. This tour will be available only to CLGHS members until April 27, after which it will be open to non-members.

For more information on these paid events and to register, visit and click on “Events”.


The Monterey Bay Iris Society’s annual Iris Show takes place from 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the London Nelson Community Center, 301 Center St., Santa Cruz.

The 2022 Monterey Bay Area Cactus & Succulent Society Spring Sale is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Portuguese Community Hall, 124 Atkinson Lane, Watsonville. Parking and admission to the sale are free.

The Garden Conservancy will present the webinar, “Reimagining Vita Sackville-West’s Sissinghuert: A Garden Rediscovered,” at 11 a.m. on April 28. To register for this paid event, visit and click on “Virtual Programs”.

Enjoy your garden!

Tom Karwin is Past President of Friends of the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum and the Monterey Bay Iris Society, Life Member of the Monterey Bay Area Cactus & Succulent Society, and UC Life Master Gardener (certified 1999-2009). He is now a board member of the Santa Cruz Hostel Society and active with the Pacific Horticultural Society. To see daily photos of her garden, For information on gardening coaching and an archive of previous On Gardening columns, visit Contact him with comments or questions at [email protected].

Comments are closed.