Growing up, I hated roses. My granddad in Pittsburgh grew hybrid teas, ugly, awkward, spindly little bushes that he pruned sadistically so their branches stuck out like spines. Every so often, he sprayed them with poisonous chemicals. They produced fake-looking, too-large, unnaturally-colored flowers that looked wired to the bushes like big corsages pinned to a prom dress.
Now I’ve discovered easy-care roses: some old, old varieties, and some recently developed. They happily grow into their individual shapes, some petite and bushy, some thick and shrubby, some with long arching canes weighted down with blooms at the ends, some enormous dragons that cover my house or climb into trees with their hooked thorns. They’re healthy, happy plants that outcompete weeds and mix happily with perennials.
People find it tough to believe that I don’t feed them, rarely supplement our rainfall with extra water, and don’t spray them with anything. I don’t even prune them except to keep them from reaching out and stabbing somebody.
All I do is mulch them once a year with fallen leaves, and in return, they make my yard smell like heaven, and often look like heaven, from mid-May to hard frost. They’re an easier way to make your yard look good than covering the area with lawn, thus the blog title. They’re easy on your back, your wallet, and the planet. And growing them is not rocket science. I can show you how.