Friday, Jun 22, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Amy Stone

Friends in the garden: roses, peas

Do you have a friend who fits you like a glove? You know, that person who finishes your sentences or can actually read your thoughts? You breathe out and they breathe you in. It is a match made in heaven.

Peas and roses have that kind of relationship. I have a gardener friend who says peas and roses make great growing companions because if you are plucking peas off the vine, you are pruning or dusting your roses.

Both plants are a bit high maintenance and when you aren't tending to the pea patch, you can be nipping the faded blooms off of your Floribunda, Grandiflora, and Hybrid Teas. So toss your pruners in a basket and you will have all the tools handy to keep you busy around the garden.

Sugar snaps

Sugar snap peas are my favorite. They only take about 10 days to germinate and within 60 days you are pulling peas off the bush for dinner. Plant bush varieties about a foot apart. You can even grow some varieties on a trellis over your garden to conserve space.

You don't have to have a huge garden to grow snap peas. They are perfectly happy in a container on your deck in the full sun. Just be sure you have that trellis in place before they start their upward climb. Dwarf varieties like Sugar Ann are good growing in a container. Don't skimp on the pot. It should be about a foot in diameter and at least a foot deep. If you are starting from seed, only plant them about an inch under the soil.

The pods will start plump with peas and you can pick them any time. And the more you pick, the more they produce. But be ready for a slowdown during hot months.


So while you are waiting for more peas to populate the patch, you can fuss with the roses.

Start the first pruning in January and February just to get your roses in shape. As the peas are filling out, you will see the buds on the roses filling out too. That's a good time to shape your roses. Once the blossoms start to pop open and fade, snip them off with your pruners. Just like the peas, the more you prune, the more they will produce. Climbers and old-fashioned bloomers are pruned once a year after they bloom.

And don't forget to feed your roses. They are very hungry plants. Start fertilizing once the first leaves start to grow. Give them a dose of fertilizer every other time you water them or after each round of blooms.

Peas and roses are just like that couple that seem to be made for each other.

Contact Kelly Heidbreder at

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