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The Fairy Rose

Greek frescoes from the second millennium B.C. show what is believed to be the earliest known representation of a rose.

'the fairy' roses

Photo: Manuel M. Ramos

“The Fairy” is low maintenance, and therefore an excellent choice for home gardens.

Greek frescoes from the second millennium B.C. show what is believed to be the earliest known representation of a rose. The name, according to legend, is because a woman of exquisite beauty, Rhodanthe, was turned into a beautiful rose.

Roses grew abundantly in medieval gardens where the rose petals were compressed to make rosaries.

Roses have been loved since antiquity, and today there are countless species, hybrids and cultivars represented in the genus “rosa.” Those with the showiest blossoms are often difficult for the weekend gardener to grow. However, one polyantha rose “The Fairy” is low maintenance, and therefore an excellent choice for home gardens.

It blooms throughout the growing season with clusters of small pink flowers which though they are not perfumed, last well in a vase. It can be planted in the spring or fall, preferably in full sun, though it will tolerate light shade.

It prefers moist but well drained soil with plenty of compost mixed in. It is a low spreading plant and needs about an inch of water each week.

Each spring prune off any dead canes, and fertilize monthly until august. This is a lovely informal rose bush that rewards your minimal attention to its needs, with a luxuriant and continuous display of flowers.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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