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Roses in South Florida Zone 10b Humid: Pot or Plant? Own Root/Graft?

Hi all, I'd like to get your opinions please! Questions listed at the end. First some background: I'm setting up a new tropical 'cottage' rose garden, here in south Florida, 10b humid. Front of a north/northeast facing house. Area roughly 50' x 50' overall, but only 25' x 50' is remotely suitable for roses. Rest is too shaded. Going with an informal, mixed color style (staying away from reds), organic, turning paths w/ curving or circular beds drifting between. I'll be able to get to all sides of each rose bush for pruning later.

Sun/Soil/Structures: Been tracking the sun for weeks. Best area gets full to full/dappled 8am to 3pm. Soil is about 4" deep then starts mixing in with sand. pH=6.4 prior to amending. Amending with my own compost, banana peels, coffee grinds, alfalfa pellets, black cow, mushroom compost and organic potting mix. Monterey's Nematode Control, followed by application of beneficial nematodes as a soil drench. No plants planted yet. Structures in the plan: 80 x 90 free standing trellis, standard arbor, three 8' tall metal obelisks and various little focal point do dads.

I had tried establishing a formal rose garden in the back (southern exposure, full sun) about 5 years ago. Used mostly high teas on fortuniana, in ground. Black spot, not enough water even with every other day drip irrigation, too hot/scorched roses. Only thing that lived over a year was LD Braithwaite... and the root stock. Finally shoveled it and gave up. Since I've had to remove most of the landscaping and trees on the front of house... now seems like a good time to try again. Differently. Front yard tended toward growing ferns... a lot more moist, better soil, a lot of shade. Much of the shade is gone now, having removed 6 massive areca palms. This time, thinking to do own root, shrubs and hardy OGRs. Polyculture, mixed plants. Organic and provide some afternoon shade as well. See if these changes can make the difference.

On Order: 11 own root/bare root David Austins: Generous Gardener,Claire Austin, James Galway, Lady of Shalott, Vanessa Bell, Qn of Sweden, Ancient Mariner, Windermere, Poet's Wife, Scepter'd Isle, and Olivia R Austin. All these were suggested/approved by DA themselves for 10b humid and shady, north facing situations (several conversations with DA US AND UK).

Have 2 store bought Zepherine Drouhin for the large trellis as that's near the walkway in the far corner, away from the other roses. I love her, but she's a black spot maven.

The plan calls for generous spacing, more than mature widths - leaving room for more airflow, other plants, annuals to fill in while the roses grow larger, some perennials mixed in... mixed borders/beds 1/2 roses and 1/2 everything else.

1. Am I on the right track? Proponents say that going organic, letting the roses live in polyculture ecosystems, with beneficial insects, clean care, etc. makes for healthier plants.

2. Own root vs Fortuniana? There is so much talk about using Fortuniana root stock, but for me it creates shallow rooted roses, that drink a lot. Even staking they were easily blown over. Proponents of own root cite deeper roots, (longer establishment times). There is much buzz about root knot or gall nematodes in or soil, that fortuniana is the answer. Some say answer is own root. ??? Many people on this forum say that roses in 10b will grow like crazy big.... and I have a small yard. I don't need 35' towering house-eating roses.... I need smaller, healthier ones. I think? What do you all think? Recommend?

3. In Ground or in Pots? Since I'm getting own root.... in ground or in pots? Again, some rosarians warn against going in ground because of nematodes. They recommend huge pots, up off the ground on feet. Really HUGE pots! I could cut 55 gallon plastic drums in half making a pot that's 18" deep by 23" diameter. Even spray painted in nice pale colors, still not the most charming look.... lol. Can't really disguise them as urns or terracotta pots no matter how much paint I use... lol. I shudder to think of finding a pot for Generous Gardener... grin. Or, a few other rosarians say it's okay put them in the ground, so long as you do organic, own root and the natural resistances of the rose will rise to the occasion. Some say don't put in the ground UNLESS they are on fortuniana roots. Sigh..... ? What do you think?

4. What other OGR/Shrubs should I consider? The plan has several 'holes' and even sections that are blank - to expand a bit later. I know Austins, but I don't know the millions of OGR and the like. What about miniature or small roses - like the Drift series? OGRs, repeat bloomers, fragrant, etc. What would your recommendations be for a shady, north facing, 10b humid garden?

Phew! I need a coffee after all of that. If you've actually read through this tome and offer suggestions, ideas, advice or commiserations - I thank you and highly appreciate it!

Regards, Kim

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