In many ways, October is the best month for preparing the rose garden. You can take advantage of the abundance of fallen leaves to give you an great foundation for the flower bed. Too many people try to grow roses as isolated bushes in the lawn. It’s much better to plan for a narrow border garden by walkway, driveway, or fence that can be devoted exclusively to your roses. It’s better to have not more than 4 to 5 feet wide and as long as you have time to plant and care for.
A nice sunny spot should be picked out, and the lines marked off for the sides and ends. Then dig out your soil and subsoil to a depth of at least 12 inches, laying the soil at one side and keeping the top and bottom soils separate. If a well rotted compost from a barn or even the local store is available, fill in a good amount of this in the bottom, mixing in about one 1/3 soil. In place of the compost, shovel in a good of fallen leaves. Fill the bed with leaves and lawn rakings, then stomp them down and cover with a few inches of soil, mixing soil and leaves with a fork or tined hoe. In this way fill the bed with leaves and soil to within a few inches of the top, stomping it down the whole time to compress the leaves. Then, flood the bed with water and stomp it down again, before filling in the top with the best loamy soil you can get. The reason of the large amount of leaves is to furnish a basis of decaying vegetation as humus that can absorb and hold moisture and give the rose roots a good opportunity to grow. It’s a good thing to let the bed stand a few weeks after it’s made so it can more fully settle. If you want, it can be left until spring or it may be planted late in the fall.
There are so many varieties of roses now that you can be sure of a satisfactory selection from almost any lawn and garden supply. Study the catalogues of the rose growers and select the colors you really want. Most dealers offer special collections of varieties at reasonable prices, and this is often the best way for an amateur to get the first set of plants for the rose garden.
The one great caution to be observed in planting roses at any season is to be sure to bury them so deep that the point of union of stock and a young shoot or twig is several inches below the surface. This is to prevent the growth of suckers from the root. Such suckers absorb the sap that’s supposed to go to the main branches and soon kill the flowering part of the plant.