Yes, you can STILL plant!

Spokesperson Ryan McEnaney spoke with the Minneapolis Star Tribune about fall planting trends and some of the best varieties to plant this time of year. Award-winning writer Kim Palmer dives into the story and gives great, actionable tips for planting in this great time of year. Click HERE or above to read the full story.

A Color for any Palette

Garden roses are more than just the pretty red, long-stemmed ones you see at the flower shop. They are plants with a variety of color, texture and use in the home garden. Easy Elegance® roses go even one step further. Easy Elegance® roses are shrub roses that are meant to last in the landscape. They are cold hardy, heat tolerant and naturally disease resistant. On top of that, the whole color spectrum is represented, so these roses can fit into any landscape. From white to yellow to pink and red, name your favorite rose color and we've got you covered! From long-stem type roses to compact varieties and those that grow in clumps, Easy Elegance® roses also provide a variety of sizes and texture to make your garden even more spectacular. Want more information? Visit the Easy Elegance® website, or follow this color wheel around to learn about some of the most popular varieties. Starting at the bottom left with the white rose:

Champagne Wishes Rose

Macy's Pride™ Rose

Yellow Brick Road Rose

Music Box Rose

Coral Cove Rose

Calypso Rose

My Girl Rose

Little Mischief Rose

Kashmir Rose

Screaming Neon Red™ Rose

Como Park Rose

Preparing Soil for Rose Gardening

GUEST BLOGGER: Katie E-P, Garden Editor & Writer

It’s planting time! Because your plants will get everything they need from the soil, it’s important that the soil has good structure, the right pH, and adequate nutrient levels. Here’s how to prepare the soil to give Easy Elegance® roses the best start.

Step One: Do a Soil Test

I used to be in the “do as I say not as I do” category of recommending soil tests until I finally did one (I specifically tested the soil in my vegetable beds because I was having some issues.), and lo and behold, there was an actual problem. The pH of the soil was too low. I added lime and voilà! Problem solved. You can get soil test boxes and instructions/forms from your local extension office. These tests will report on the soil pH, organic matter content, structure, the presence of the big three nutrients (Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium), and, sometimes, trace elements.

The reasons to get a soil test are multi-fold—but the main one is that it can save you money and time in the long run. It will identify problems to correct before planting that could potentially lead to the death of your new plants (low pH, low nutrient content, high nutrient content) or will identify that you have no problems and thus don’t need to spend money on soil amendments. Without going into an exhaustive botany lesson, the soil pH affects plants’ ability to take up nutrients from the soil, so it is important to get it right. It is also possible to have too much nitrogen or phosphorous in the soil, rather than too little.

Step Two: Amend the Soil According to the Soil Test Recommendations

If you didn’t get a soil test, don’t mess with the soil before you plant. You can skip directly to step three. If you find your plants aren’t doing so well, get a test and make adjustments later.

The soil test will indicate whether the pH needs to be adjusted. Roses are happiest in soil with a slightly acidic pH (between 6.0 and 6.5). To raise the pH, add lime. To lower it, add sulfur. The soil test will give you recommendations about how much to add. You can purchase garden lime and sulfur (usually in the form of aluminum sulfate) at garden centers and home improvement stores. Follow the instructions on the package and, if possible, add the amendments to the soil a few weeks before planting to give them a chance to break down and change the soil qualities. It is possible, but unlikely, that the soil test results will recommend that you add fertilizer before planting. Most garden soils have adequate amounts of the big three. However, if the test says to, go for it!

Conventional wisdom says to enhance the soil in the planting hole. Research shows that amending only the soil in the planting hole isn’t the best course of action, as it can turn the hole into a bathtub that traps water around the plant roots. The phenomenon is called “perched water,” and happens when water tries to move between layers with different particle sizes. What you need to know is that you should not mix a bunch of compost in with the soil you remove from the planting hole. If you’re redoing the entire planting bed working some compost into the whole bed can be helpful. Just don’t stop at the planting hole.

Step Three: Plant and Mulch

Sure, we are discussing soil preparation, but there’s a key improvement to soil that is made directly after planting, and that’s mulching. To plant, follow instructions here. Just make sure you’re not messing a lot with the soil you put back in the planting hole.

Once you’ve planted, mulch around the plant with wood chips, compost, or shredded hardwood mulch. This will a) help retain moisture in the soil surrounding the roots and b) will break down slowly over time, adding organic matter and nutrients to the soil.

What sounds complicated really isn’t: get a test, follow the recommendations, and mulch. No more double-digging!

Roses You Can Grow™

GUEST BLOGGER: Colleen M., Landscape Designer

Spring has sprung, so let’s talk about roses. More precisely let's talk about roses that you can grow. We have all heard the comments, "I love roses, but they always die,” or “roses take too much of my time and energy." With the Easy Elegance® rose collection, we can now put this aside and treat roses like any other shrub. Since they are grown on their own root [link to glossary], they perform better, are hardy, and don't require heavy chemical sprays or intricate winter protection. Unlike other roses that are budded on a different variety’s root system, even if Easy Elegance roses die back to the ground after a tough winter, they will grow back the same rose you purchased. If you plant a budded rose and it dies back to the ground, you end up with a completely different variety in your garden!

Want a powerful floral display that everyone talks about and wants in their yard? OK, then let’s discuss some superior qualities that make Easy Elegance roses a stand out from other shrubs:

• Summer-long color tops this list. An exciting array of bloom pigments that range from white, blush, yellow, coral, pink, orange and red will add a pop of color to any landscape.

• These classic blooms with such a nostalgic fragrance also activate site and scent consciousness. Often you will see people slow down and stick their nose into the blooms…truly “stop to smell the roses.”

• Repeating full, strong flowers are begging to be cut and displayed. These blooms champion floral arrangements.

It’s effortless to use Easy Elegance roses for a fresh eye catching display. A low front border in front of evergreens or a taller hedge planting behind a perennial garden will draw anyone’s attention. How about making it really simple and plant your favorite roses in your favorite containers, and then setting them around for a single focal point? Personally I want life to be a "bed of roses," so that is what I favorite colors are mixed and planted in a very visible location that I can see, smell, touch and enjoy daily.

Preparing Roses for Winter

Easy Elegance Rose Winter Prep

Old Man Winter's arrival is late for most of the United States, but it's inevitable. So now what do we do with our roses? Since you're so smart and planted Easy Elegance® Roses, the answer is pretty simple. It's not like the old days when you had to tip the roses or cover them with cones, thank goodness! These rose shrubs were bred specifically to withstand Zone 4 winters with little to no protection. In fact, the Better Homes & Gardens Test Garden - in Zone 5 - doesn't use ANY protection to give a real hardiness test, and Easy Elegance® Roses are consistently at the top of the list. All that you've got to do is give a layer of mulch, leaves or straw around the base of the shrub to give some protection in case you get a cold snap with no snow cover to provide insulation. That's it! There are a few more tips and tricks on the Planting & Care section of our site. Click here to get the extra details and help your roses come back beautiful and blooming next year!

IF YOU PLANTED THIS YEAR: If you just planted your Easy Elegance® Rose this year, give it a little extra winter protection since it's probably not fully established in the ground. Pile those leaves or mulch up a few extra inches to be extra safe.

Welcome to the new Easy Elegance® Website!

Welcome to the brand new Easy Elegance® Roses website! We are proud and excited to share updated information about our rose collection, provide easy care tips, and inspirational designs and images to help plan your gardens. Please feel free to browse the image library and choose from the 24 Easy Elegance® varieties that come in a multitude of colors, sizes and petal shapes. Even though the design and look of Easy Elegance® has changed, one thing remains constant: this collection is full of Roses You Can Grow™. They are easy to care for with no added chemicals, require very little pruning and are disease resistant. These aren't your grandmother's roses; the Easy Elegance® Collection truly are roses that will thrive in your garden without all of the fuss. So give the website a spin and find the best fit for your garden, landscape and patio.

New Year. New Rose!

Screaming Neon Red™What’s more exciting than finding a new plant for your garden? Nothing! We are so excited to introduce our newest rose, Screaming Neon Red™. And, boy will it ever scream! Its bright neon-red color will brighten up your landscape with such minimal care. The petals on this new rose are wave-like, giving it a unique look that your neighbors will be asking all about. Not only is the color amazing, but also it’s compact and highly disease resistant, so it can fit in almost any garden and will stay looking fresh all summer long. Keep your garden current and bright with Screaming Neon Red™!