Roses are a fashonable choice for summer brides. Here's how to grow and arrange one
Create a Bouquet of Roses
Christina Schmidhofer
A handful of David Austin English Roses makes a stunning bridal bouquet.

Step-by-step:  How to make a bridal bouquet

Beloved for their timeless form and classic fragrance, roses are a fashionable choice for summer brides. Centuries of hybridizing allow for a wide range of colors and looks.

What to Look for

What makes a good rose for your bridal bouquet? Shapely blooms that hold their petals well, such as many hybrid tea roses.

The David Austin English Roses―developed from crosses of various old roses with modern ones―have plump, many-petaled blooms, often fragrant, that capture the romance of old roses. And roses that flower in clusters, like floribundas, are also good choices; a single cluster is practically a bouquet in itself.

Our Favorite Bouquet Roses

  • ‘Bride’s Dream’, a soft pink hybrid tea with large, very long buds
  • ‘French Lace’, which bears creamy white blossoms with soft apricot centers
  • ‘Graham Thomas’, a David Austin English Rose with cupped, butter yellow blooms
  • ‘Honor’, a pure white hybrid tea with large, perfect blooms; and ‘Sheer Bliss’, a hybrid tea with long, fragrant white blooms, lightly blushed with pink.
  • For color try ‘Gold Medal’, whose dark gold blooms have red-orange tips; or ‘Intrigue’, a floribunda with globular purple buds that open to ruffled, plum-colored blossoms.

Getting Started

Planting time: January in mild climates; March or April in colder climates.

Bloom time: May-June (peak).

Start from: Bare-roots (four to six plants per bouquet).

Where to buy: At garden centers and nurseries or from Heirloom Roses (503/538-1576).

What Roses Need

Soil: Well-draining; dig in organic amendments such as compost before planting.

Exposure: Full sun all day.

Preparation: Before planting a bare-root rose, soak roots for about four hours in a bucket of water. Dig a planting hole big enough to accommodate the roots, about 2 feet wide and 1 foot deep, with sides that taper outward at the bottom. Make a firm cone of soil in the planting hole.

Planting: Spread the roots over the cone, positioning the plant at the same depth as (or slightly higher than) the surrounding soil. If the rose is grafted, keep the graft (the thickened part where stems meet) about 2 inches above soil level. Use a shovel handle to check the depth. Add backfill soil, holding the plant upright as you do so. When backfilling is almost complete, add water to settle the roots. Finish filling the hole, then water again. Add a layer of mulch such as ground bark around the plant.

Water: Irrigate regularly during the growing season.

Fertilizer: In mildest climates, begin feeding established plants with a complete fertilizer in February. Elsewhere, give plants their first feeding as soon as new growth appears. Thereafter, feed roses after each bloom cycle.

Harvesting blooms: Pick roses when they’re just beginning to open from the tight bud stage (they’ll open more fully later in the day). Make cuts just above the third fivepart leaf, counting down from the flower. This will encourage longer stems and stronger growth later on.