On Gardening: Oso Easy puts the fun back into growing roses


The first spray opened up in my Oso Easy Peasy rose and I thought, “Wow, they have captured the essence of a fine heirloom.” This was like a breath of fresh air as I had fallen in love with antique and heirloom roses when becoming the director of the American Rose Society years ago.

Oso Easy Peasy is a landscape rose being brought to us by Proven Winners, but there is a connection to the American Rose Society as it was selected as an Award of Excellence Winner in the no-spray division. This means exactly what the name says; it can’t get any easier than this rose for the landscape.

Oso Easy Peasy made its debut in garden centers this year. The Garden Guy is lucky in that I had an early shot at it and for two years it is been just what the doctor ordered giving me beautiful flowers, though I have offered it a big dose of neglect. This year in the garden I did give it some nice partners. Those glorious hot-pink-magenta flowers are born at the base of an 8-foot-tall windmill palm and combined with Royal Hawaiian Maui Gold elephant ears. The lime green and hot pink rock!

This shows you the versatility of Oso Easy Roses. They excel from large sweeps or drifts in the landscape, incorporating with perennials in the cottage garden and yes, even with tropicals if it’s your heart’s desire. One of the most memorable mixed containers I have ever photographed featured Oso Easy Paprika, a wonderful orange and yellow blend, and Beyond Paradise copper plant. A tropical combination of incredible warm colors.

I relished the trials for the Award of Excellence when I was director of the American Rose Society as it was reminiscent of university trials and in some ways more rigorous. At the time they were geared mostly for miniatures but now incorporates miniflora, today’s landscape shrubs.

Oso Easy Peasy isn’t the only winner Proven Winners has from the American Rose Society as the red-hot Oso Easy Urban Legend is also a winner. Vibrant red with a crown of yellow stamens makes this one of the most sought-after roses for the landscape. Of course, as with Award of Excellence winners it is packed with disease-resistance and performance.

Oso Easy Peasy and Oso Easy Urban Legend, reach about 40 inches tall with an equal spread while Oso Easy Paprika, the wonderful orange selection, is smaller reaching 24 inches in height with a 36-inch spread. There are 10 Oso Easy selections giving you a variety of color and habit perfect for today’s modern landscape.

Roses need six to eight hours of direct sun each day. Morning sun is essential, but a little afternoon shade is tolerated. Good air movement helps the dew and rain dry quickly, further enhancing the inherent disease resistance, so space about 3 to 4 feet apart depending on your variety.

Before you plant your roses, get the beds prepared by incorporating three to four inches of organic matter and tilling to a depth of 8 to 10 inches. The ideal soil pH for roses is between 6-6.5. Planting on raised beds further maximizes good drainage. By all means, finish your bed or planting with a good layer of mulch.

Feed your roses with a slow release or controlled release fertilizer per formula recommendation. Apply at the start of spring growth and again in mid-summer. I like to prune Oso Easy roses in late winter to early spring, just before new growth resumes. Typically, the roses will triple in size after pruning, so plan on cutting back by two-thirds.

In the landscape, your options will seem to be endless. Be bold – plant enough to make a landscape impact using them with your favorite perennials and a few splashes of annuals. Don’t forget mixed containers too! Oso Easy puts the fun back into growing roses.

(Norman Winter, horticulturist, garden speaker and author of, “Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South” and “Captivating Combinations: Color and Style in the Garden.” Follow him on Facebook @NormanWinterTheGardenGuy.)

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