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Smell the Roses

Jim Boxberger - Correspondent
Posted 6/26/20

It is time to stop and smell the roses, literally. Late June through July are some of the best times to enjoy the fragrance of roses. Like lilacs in the spring, roses permeate the air this time of …

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Smell the Roses

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It is time to stop and smell the roses, literally. Late June through July are some of the best times to enjoy the fragrance of roses. Like lilacs in the spring, roses permeate the air this time of year, whether it is a tea rose, floribunda or even the white wild roses scattered throughout Sullivan County.

We have a wild rose that managed to climb up the side of a weeping Katsura tree that we have over our koi pond. Through the years this rose has now grown to a height of fifteen feet, intermingled with the Katsura branches.

Since our Katsura tree does not bloom, the rose adds quite a bit of interest to the tree, not to mention the wonderful fragrance. Many times, I have been asked what type of tree it was. The two plants seem to be growing in complete harmony as both are thriving.

Roses come in all shapes and sizes and when planted correctly they can thrive even in our poor soil. There are many wonderfully fragrant roses, but if the smell of roses isn't your thing, there are varieties with barely any fragrance at all. There are creeping roses that do not grow higher than twelve inches, climbing roses that grow fifteen to twenty feet and everything in between.

Now you would think that with all those thorns that roses would be deer resistant, but that is not the case. Deer still love your roses as much as you do so you will need to think about protecting them if you have deer issues.

One plant that deer do not eat, I am happy to say is back on the market, barberry. After a conversation with one of the landscapers that shop here often who told me of a garden center in Orange County that was selling barberry, I contacted the D.E.C.(Department of Environmental Conservation) office in Albany to find out if barberry were legal again.

What I found is that there are now four varieties of barberry that have been hybridized to be sterile. The sterile factor is what makes them legal, as the reason they were banned to begin with is the fact that the birds would eat the berries and disperse seeds all over the place.

Over time barberry were said to be killing off native varieties in the woodlands around New York State, so they were banned in 2013. At the time, barberry were the number one selling plants in parts of New York with high deer populations as they are deer resistant.

It may be a little too late for us to get any of these barberry this year, but we will definitely have these in the future. Maybe by next spring there will be even more varieties of sterile barberry to choose from.

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