NEW ROCHESTER – Tucked away off the beaten path in a small village are some of the most beautiful roses
in the county.
While New Rochester is more known for its luminarias at Christmas, this summertime show is outstanding.
Debbie Krukemyer has always loved flowers and gardening and ventured into the rose area 14 years ago.
"I love roses and I’m pretty passionate about it," she states.
The unconventional gardener readily admits to straying from recommendations as she plants what she likes.
"I buy new things each year," she stated noting she’ll buy a few of this and a few of that.
An active member of Permberville’s Four Seasons Garden Club, she indicated most experts say to only plant
a maximum of six or seven varieties in any given bed for continuity and beauty.
"I’ll try anything that might look good. It gives me a hodgepodge," she stated. "The more
I stuff in there the less room there are for weeds."
Avoiding annuals, she sticks with perennials in her garden. Some, however, might be surprised to find a
tomato plant right out front amidst all the other perennials.
"They need a lot of sun and this is the best place," she said of the unusual placement.
In addition to her 27 rose bushes, she also likes to focus on items one might find in an old-fashioned
Like many gardeners, she had heard that growing roses was difficult and shied away from them. For her
first foray into roses, she chose four old-fashioned shrub roses.
"These are like grandma used to have," Krukemyer said, noting their pest and disease
About seven years ago, as her children had grown, Krukemyer branched out into hybrids and miniature
roses. And now is quite comfortable with caring for roses.
"I don’t feel like that they’re that much work. I’m thinking roses are easier than planting
annuals," she said. "It’s an easy way to go for constant color."
While many of her roses are purchased through more traditional greenhouses or garden centers, she has
found unusual success from two unlikely places, Wal-mart and Kroger.
A frugal shopper, she prefers not to spend any more than she needs to.
"I am always looking for a good deal. I don’t spend much money," she said.
This, coming from someone who admits to buying 30 to 40 new perennials for her garden each year.
"That sounds like a lot of plants, but it’s really just a drop in the bucket," she added.
Krukemyer says the Wal-mart roses are very hardy for this area, classified as Zone 5, because they are
grown in Canada and are listed to be tolerant up to minus 40 degrees.
She also has fallen in love with three miniatures she purchased at Kroger at the end of a growing season
when they were on clearance.
Thinking they may not last, she purchased them because of the cost.
"They are beautiful, the three best bushes in my yard," she affirms to her surprise.
Despite her frugality, Krukemyer does not purchase her roses without research.
Before buying any bush, she will look it up with the American Rose Society to see its rating. With a 10
being perfect, she will not buy any rose that is not rated at 7.5 or higher.
The grading system is based on a variety of criteria including the fragrance, look of the blooms, how
long they last and how resistant they are to diseases and bugs.
She would love to add a purple rose to her garden, but has not found one rated at least 7.5.
"I’m not going to spend money on a rose which isn’t highly rated," she said.
Her highest rated bush is a "Double Delight" rose which earned an 8.9 rating. It is obviously
among her favorites.
Each year she expands her beds and/or adds a new bed, killing off more grass to make room for the
Her husband, Gary, doesn’t mind as that is less grass for him to mow.
Two tips offered for beautiful
NEW ROCHESTER – With one dominant shrub rose bush at the corner of her New Rochester home for the last 14
years, Debbie Krukemyer says she has yet to lose any of her roses.
Three other bushes have also endured that long, with numerous others joining the fold beginning seven
Through her research, Krukemyer says she attributes her success with roses to two primary efforts.
¥ First, she read in a book on growing roses in the midwest that grafted roses need to be planted with
the actual graft a minimum of two inches below the soil line.
She follows that diligently and in fact, will sometimes go deeper.
"Grafted roses – all the hybrids – have to be planted two to six inches deep," she says.
"You get that union down, that’s the ticket."
¥ Her other key is regularly "dead-heading" her bushes.
The failure to dead-head will diminish the quantity and quality of the roses.
For newer gardeners or those not familiar with the process, dead-heading in simplest terms means to cut
away the flowers which are dying.
Krukemyer says when the petals of the rose are starting to dry up and wither, cut off the flower
completely from the bush.
"Get it off, it’s just taking energy away from making a new rose somewhere," she states.
If you leave the dying flower on the bush, it will take nutrients away from the plant which could be used
for creating new blossoms.
"Cut that off as soon as the petals start to dry."
She says she will be out dead-heading a minimum of two to three times each week.