A Conversation with Susan Fox

Member Spotlight: This is a member interview with GrowIt! member Susan Fox. As an avid gardener, speaker, and Consulting Rosarian, she is dedicated to sharing knowledge, particularly the planting and care of roses. Connect with Susan by following her (tap from mobile) on GrowIt! and checking out her blog Gaga’s Garden.

Q. What is a Consulting Rosarian?

A. I’m a Consulting Rosarian accredited by the American Rose Society.

A Consulting Rosarian must complete several steps to be certified including completing workshops and exams, showing a willingness to share knowledge, abiding by a code of ethics, receiving recommendations, and completing an annual report.

Q. Explain the misconception of roses being finicky plants?

A. Roses have been around long before people were here to fuss over them. They survived, thrived, and did quite nicely. Roses are hardy, forgiving plants. With minimal care, some roses grow organically with no-spray. The folks that breed them know that what people want are easy-to-care-for plants.

Easy care roses now include Star Roses Drift Rose in seven beautiful colors. Drift Roses are a cross between full-size groundcover and miniature roses. Proven Winners have a collection of shrub roses called ‘Oso Easy’ Roses that are true to their name, ‘Oh-So-Easy’ to grow! Weeks Roses have minimal care floribundas that include the famous yellow rose ‘Julia Child’ and ground cover roses such as Rainbow ‘Happy Trails’. Meilland Roses has ground cover roses called ‘Red Meidiland’, and ‘White Meidiland.’ And there are hundreds of fun miniature roses for sale by all hybridizers! Mini’s are very easy to grow!

Q. If there’s one thing you could tell people about selecting a Rose Bush what would it be?

A. Choose a healthy plant with 3 or more canes. Look up the rose bush in the Handbook for Selecting Roses and be sure it’s rated at least 7.5 or higher. I do not buy a rose rated lower than 7.5. The American Rose Society rating system is the best system of rating a rose based on form, disease resistance, and winter hardiness. You may buy it if it’s named for your Mom or favorite Aunt, but just know if it’s less than 7.5 you may have issues with it.

Q. There are so many Rose varieties, what’s your favorite type?

A. Floribundas because they have a rapid bloom cycle, and are showy with lots of candelabras of beautiful roses.

Q. What tips would you offer a first-time Rose gardener?

A. 85% of people say that roses are their favorite flower. I say just choose 3-5 roses that you love the color or fragrance and jump in and plant. You will be so glad you have your very own rose garden as a solace for your soul.

1. Choose a place with 6-8 hours of sun
2. Be sure you have a water source
3. Fertilize them. I use Mills Rose Magic Fertilizer because it is organic.

Q. What programs or initiatives are you involved in as a Rosarian?

A. I am most proud of bringing a rose garden to Tony Abruscato’s Chicago Flower & Garden Show through a partnership with Star Roses and Plants and Weeks Roses. It was the first rose garden at the show in over a decade and a resounding success.

I also wrote Four Seasons of Roses Monthly Guide to Rose Care, and was awarded the American Rose Society’s (ARS) Presidential Citation “for Promoting the Rose and Rose Education Via Social Media.”

I represent Hometalk, the world’s largest home and garden social network on national television with recent segments on NBC “Show Me St. Louis,” and the highly rated “WGN Morning Show” in Chicago. At my heart is a commitment to generating educational, entertaining content that profiles specific products, personalities, places, and events that engage the larger audience. This commitment has firmly established me as one of the most highly regarded rosarians and gardeners in the industry with a unique talent for promoting garden related products, people, or events. Check out my blog, www.gagasgarden.com featuring Gaga’s Garden® content and storytelling graphics that keep readers coming back for more!