CONTRARY TO WHAT
you may have heard, it’s
really easy to create a rose
garden that blooms all summer
with only minimal attention from
you. Successful rose growing
begins with proper attention
to soil, irrigation, spacing and
sun. Here are some tips to get
Planning the great
IF YOUR DECK or patio holds a barbecue, some
spindly plants and a couple of camp stools, maybe
this is the year for a backyard makeover. Costco
member Kathy Peterson, author of Great Outdoor
Decorating Makeovers ( Watson-Guptill Publications,
2004), is known for creating transformations that
are easy on the budget.
Many of the design concepts that apply to
indoor decorating also apply to outdoor spaces.
Start with what you have, Peterson advises.
Depending on the location—a covered porch, for
example—some furniture and accessories designed
for indoor use can also be used outdoors.
Think about how you would like to use the
space: entertaining, a play area for kids or a quiet
place for contemplation. Look at the circulation and
traffic patterns. Try to create conversation areas.
Bright splashes of color in pillows, table linens,
accessories and plants add interest. Peterson is a big
believer in the power of paint, pretty fabrics, area
rugs and repurposed found objects to add personality to any decorating project.
Avoid having everything match; instead go for
an eclectic look, Peterson says, adding, “My backyard incorporates a lot of flea market finds.”
Consider the outdoor space as a continuation of
indoors, especially if it’s visible from the house.
Peterson notes that using a similar color scheme from
indoors to outdoors contributes to a cohesive look.
And don’t skimp on plants and greenery—this
is the outdoors, after all. Foliage can serve to soften
hard edges and surfaces, and flowering plants can
enhance or coordinate with your color scheme.
Ultimately you want to create a pocket of calm,
Peterson stresses, a place where you can invite people and have them feel comfortable.
References vary on the
pH range that roses will tolerate
well, running from 5. 5 to 7. 1,
with 6. 5 the most common. Most
plant nutrients are widely available at this pH.
Soils with good drainage
are best for rose growing. You
can help promote drainage by
incorporating peat moss.
Romancing your stone tabletop
NATURAL STONE TABLETOPS such as marble,
granite, travertine, limestone and others are sought
after because of their beauty and durability. All of
these popular natural materials are created through
eons of geological activity and are not easily or accurately replicated by synthetics.
You’d think these surfaces, being stone, are
impervious to damage. However, all natural stone is
absorbent to some degree. This is why all quality
stone furniture is protected with a specially formulated sealer to minimize stains that can result from
accidental spills and exposure to other potentially
Most manufacturers of stone furniture use
high-quality sealers that protect stone surfaces from
nearly all stains and acidic liquids. These sealers do
not normally break down over time or with normal
outdoor (or indoor) use.
To help protect the sealer, most manufacturers
recommend using coasters and place mats when
dining. Coasters help absorb moisture from “sweaty”
drinking glasses and prevent mugs from leaving
rings. Place mats help catch spills and prevent dishes,
platters and flatware from scratching tabletops during meals. If your stone tabletop is outdoors, cover it
with a quality furniture cover when it’s not in use.
While high-quality stone tabletops should not
require frequent reapplications of sealer to maintain
protection, they still require cleaning. Nearly all
manufacturers recommend using clean water and
mild dish soap. Clean the tabletop with a soft white
cloth or sponge, and don’t use scouring creams or
On average, it is best to
water rosebushes twice a week,
and to water them thoroughly—
two deep waterings per week is
preferable to four shallower, less
Avoid late-evening watering, which could foster powdery
mildew. Powdery mildew is a
very common disease among
roses. Water your roses in the
morning so the plants have time
to dry out before nightfall.
COUR TES Y OF AGIO
other abrasive cleansers, or acid- or petroleum-based products, including cleaners that contain
lemon or vinegar.
After applying mild dish soap with a soft cloth
or sponge, rinse the tabletop with plenty of clean
water and dry it thoroughly to prevent buildup of
any residue from minerals that might be in your
water supply—even if you have softened water.
Accidental spills need to be cleaned up immediately. Addressing spills quickly will increase the longevity of the sealer.—Will Fifield
Having the roses too
close together can foster powdery mildew as well. Let your
roses breathe: Follow spacing
requirements for each particular
variety, as indicated on the plant
label when you purchase your
Roses like six hours of
sun per day.
Six hours of morning sun
is preferable to six hours of
More in archives
This story came from the Costco Household
Almanac. For more helpful hints,
go to Costco.com and enter “connection.”
At Online Edition, search “almanac.”
When you’re buying roses
for your garden, don’t forget to
include fragrant varieties.
Surprisingly, many beautiful
roses (especially modern varieties) have little fragrance.
Including scented varieties in
your planting plans will perfume
your entire garden.—TFJ