The Gardenator

The Gardenator

How to Grow a Jaw-Dropping Rose Garden

What’s the one thing I can do to make my neighbors jealous of my garden? —Keeping-Up-with-Jones Joanie, Summerland

You have a manicured lawn, a multimillion-dollar house, and a white picket fence, and yet something is missing. You sip your fancy tea in dismay as you realize that your childhood dream of becoming the Queen of England is still so very far away.

It’s time to step up your gardening game for that elusive dream we call “the immaculate rose garden.” Luckily for you, Gustavo has tips for growing rosas bonitas.

Manicuring: “Tienes que cortar todo la rosa como siete pulgadas al diagonal, donde empiece la hojita.” When the rose is finished blooming, cut diagonally about seven inches from the flower, right above the leaf’s stem. For a bunch of roses, follow the same rule where the bunch starts. Gustavo says, “Si no las cortas, vienen la plaga y hormigas.” If you don’t trim the roses, they will get plague and ants.

Fertilizer: Add fertilizer about every three months. Gustavo adds, “Uso organico para la ambiente y las plantas, a no contaminar la tierra.” Use organic fertilizer because it’s good for the environment and the plants.

Trimming: Trim the actual rose bunch at least once a year in December or January “cuando están dormidas” — when they’re sleeping. You can trim a second time in June. He says this is vital “para tener las healthy and beautiful rosas.”

Watering: Gustavo says don’t water them from the top because they will again get plague and ants. Instead, use a Purple Rain Watering Wand — a gardening tool that you can hook up to your hose so that the water comes out dispersed. He waters his roses en “el troncito alrededor” — around the little rose trunk.

Gustavo Uribe is a fifth-generation agricultural specialist who has worked as a professional gardener in Santa Barbara for more than 30 years. Send your gardening questions to

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