A Quick Guide to the Bonica Rose
The bonica rose has been around for two dozen years, and during that time it has not only won awards but the hearts of gardeners around the world. It is a shrub rose, which is closely related to wild and old fashioned roses. It is a rose which can be used in a row to make a hedge or which can be enjoyed as just a single bush.
The bonica rose is a great rose for beginners because it is very hardy and can be planted in locations as cool as USDA zone 4. It is low maintenance, compared to other roses and quite resistant to disease. It has double petals and colors from pink with shades of white to more fully rose-colored. The rose can grow three or four feet high and has a width anywhere from one to four feet.
The bonica rose has won several awards, including being named the “World’s Favorite Rose” by the World Federation of Rose Societies in 1997. Ten years earlier, bonica was an All America Winner.
If you decide to give this rose a try, you will want to have soil that is either a clay loam or a sandy loam with good drainage. With roses, you should know the content of your soil because they need fertilization to have consistent blooms. This rose prefers a pH in the range of 4.5 to 8. The bonica rose likes full sun as do most roses. It is a constant bloomer from the middle of spring until the middle of the fall. This is one of the reasons for its high popularity.
Another great feature of the bonica rose is that it does not require the difficult pruning of many species. It is resistant to most diseases and virtually pest-free. And, many northern gardeners who thought they could never grow a rose because of snow and cold winters, can grow this variety of rose with great success.
People who think that roses are just too hard to grow should try the bonica. All you have to do is give it direct sun, plenty of water, fertilizer, and have good drainage. If the weather is not cooperative, you will want to be able to water it with a hose or sprinkler. Watering will also be necessary just about every day when you first plant your roses, and will be necessary until they have established roots.
As for nutrients, working organic matter into the soil will suffice if done religiously. Good options are lots of dried manure and compost. The organic fish emulsion fertilizer works well with this and many other roses. Don’t forget to mulch your bonica rose bush. Wood shavings and bark work well and will help keep in moisture and prevent weed growth.
When you grow this rose, you can also take advantage of its orange-colored hips. They make for excellent color to start out the winter season. Also, you can use rose hips to make a tasty tea. All you need to do is to let the roses die on the bush (do not deadhead the last bloom). Round rose hips will form and then go through a couple of color changes--green to yellow to red or orange. Don’t pick until after the first frost.
Rose hips should be spread out to dry. When they are partly dry, you should cut the hips open and remove the seeds. Then let the seedless hips completely dry. The best way to store them is in small, plastic bags. They will keep for many months in the freezer.
You can make tea with fresh hips too by just cutting them (3-4) up. Add boiling water, a teaspoon of the hips and let the tea brew for five minutes. Sweeten the tea with your favorite sweetener.
If you have always wanted to grow roses but have been afraid to try, start with the bonica rose. You will probably have such great success you will want to grow others.