Photo: Manuel M. Ramos
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.